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DEEP IMPACT

Deep Impact is a 1998 American science-fiction disaster film. It is directed by Mimi Leder, written by Bruce Joel Rubin and Michael Tolkin. Starring Robert DuvallTéa LeoniElijah WoodVanessa RedgraveMaximilian Schell, and Morgan FreemanSteven Spielberg served as an executive producer of this film.

“Deep Impact” does not try to tell you which are the best choice; it does allow the viewer to see the various ways mankind would react in a similar situation. According to NASA, in a 1992 report known as the Space Guard Study, “Impacts by Earth-approaching asteroids and comets” are a real possibility; although they are unlikely to do so anytime soon. “Deep Impact” vividly shows us what could happen if such an event transpired.

The basis of the movie is a seven-mile-wide space rock is hurtling toward Earth, threatening to obliterate the planet. Now, it’s up to the president of the United States to save the world. He appoints a tough-as-nails veteran astronaut to lead a joint American-Russian crew into space to destroy the comet before impact. Meanwhile, an enterprising reporter uses her smarts to uncover the scoop of the century.

DEEP IMPACT

Early in “Deep Impact” we learn that a comet “the size of Mt. Everest” is on a collision course for Earth. There would seem to be two possible outcomes: (1) The comet hits Earth, destroying it.

(2) the comet does not hit Earth

in which case humanity is spared but the audience is denied the sight of lots of special effects.  Not only do we get special effects and things that go boom. We also get the private, supposedly heartfelt reactions to the end of the world from a number of characters. But whatever is lacking in emotion is made up for is size “Deep Impact” has a huge cast.

“Deep Impact” deserves credit for trying to do more than the average disaster flick. In simply heaping death and destruction down on a lot of cardboard-cutout characters. It’s so pack with people, incident and narrative detail that it practically collapses under its own weight.

DEEP IMPACT

Deep Impact manages to provide a lot of drama and drive through emotion.  This includes a father-daughter storyline that will tug at your heart.  This may sound so darned familiar.  Oh right. The film was the first of two films about asteroids colliding with Earth during the summer of 1998. It does have you wonder if Deep Impact was first pitched to Disney. The cinematography captures a vast scope. Its a tribute to director of photography Dietrich Lohmann. Production designer Leslie Dilley’s sets capture a sense of character and panorama. As usual, the ILM team has heightened the film with mesmerizing images.

But, for the most part, what we get here are emotions deliver in shorthand. And a lot of mechanical, tearjerker moments that pass for human drama. All topped off by one pretty spectacular special effect. As a result, “Deep Impact” seems mildly engaging, but, well, rather shallow.

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