Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble
What would you do if you knew that the world was coming to an end? Would you get married? Would you try to redeem the last few hours that you had by making amends for all the wrongs that you have committed? Would you try to run for the hills and hope you will survive? Or would you consider suicide? Perhaps you would gather your family together to share your last moments on earth together; telling each other how much you really love them and wish things were different. These are just some of the questions that Mimi Leder, the director, tries to elucidate in this movie. While “Deep Impact” does not try to tell you which is the best choice, it does allow the viewer to see the various ways mankind would react in a similar situation.
Could this scenario really unfold? According to NASA, in a 1992 report known as the Space Guard Study, “Impacts by Earth-approaching asteroids and comets” (of this magnitude) are a real possibility; although they are unlikely to do so anytime soon. However, they did launch a satellite, in 1996, to meet up with an asteroid, by the name of EROS, in a project known as NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous). “Deep Impact” vividly shows us what could happen if such an event transpired.
Leo Biderman, (Elijah Wood, “The Adventures of Huck Finn”), a young 14 year old amateur astronomer, discovers the comet while on a high-school outing with his local astronomy club. Having photographed this spectacle, he sends it to the Adrian Peak Observatory where they determine that it is on a collision course with earth. A year later, Jenny Lerner (Téa Leoni, “Bad Boys”), an ambitious MSNBC reporter, uncovers a top-secret governmental program known as E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event). Her discovery results in the President of the United States (Morgan Freeman, “Amistad”) telling the world about the impending doom; and the government’s plan, with the aid of Russia, to send an experimental spacecraft (known as the “Messiah”) towards the comet and eradicate it with nuclear bombs that the astronauts will plant within its surface. He also announces that an underground cave, known as “Noah’s Ark,” has been made to house 200,000 scientists, artists and doctors; as well as 800,000 citizens should the contingency plan fail. He then initializes a lottery system to determine who lives, and quite possibly, who doesn't.
The rest of the movie revolves around the people and how they deal with the realization that they may soon die. I will not reveal anything more about the movie, since that would take away from the suspense; and quite possibly ruin the movie for you. “Deep Impact” contains several swear words and has one high-school boy telling Leo that because he is famous for discovering the comet, he is going to have lots of sex. Furthermore, one of the astronauts is heard telling his unborn baby that when he enters the earth’s atmosphere to immediately proceed up the exterior of the mother ship (i.e. Go directly to your mother’s breasts). “Deep Impact” does contain some spectacular effects; but please consider the frightening impact it will have on your children before you consider taking them to see it!
Year of Release—1998