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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.79%
Worth A Look: 10.34%
Average: 14.37%
Pretty Bad: 21.26%
Total Crap40.23%

9 reviews, 120 user ratings

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Deep Impact
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by Andrew Howe

"John Donne, Won't You Please Come Home?"
3 stars

Deep Impact could have been a great film, but a few poor decisions on the part of its creators have left us with an average film with occasional flashes of inspiration. It's not a dead loss, but, like the film's characters, it makes you weep for what might have been.

When I was a kid the weekends were the most wonderful creation on God's green earth. Released from the mundane activities which blight our adult years (grocery shopping, entertaining the in-laws, hangovers, et al) I was at liberty to spend two days running wild and free. My memories of that time are filled with escapades too numerous to mention - armed with my trusty pushbike (and could even a modern-day Harley ever hold such a mystic appeal?) I rode through a land which still held a little of the magic we lose once our youth passes into the realms of sepia memory.

And, of course, at the centre of the whole magical mystery tour was the Saturday afternoon movie. It is true that the majority of those films will never be considered classics, but to a ten year-old they were simply astounding, filling the mind with dreams of interplanetary travel, duels to the death on castle stairways, and shootouts in frontier towns in the old and wild west. I think I lost something the first time I decided that one of those films lacked solid characterisation, or failed to achieve the requisite level of snappy dialogue, and it should therefore come as no surprise that my favourite movies today are the ones which rouse the same level of passion and wonder in my adult soul as the ones I watched on that old portable television so many years ago.

So it was that as I watched Deep Impact I heard the call of the past echoing through the channels of my subconscious. Following the thread, I found a young boy who looked a lot like me thrilling to a film called When Worlds Collide. Said film revolved around the notion that a large planetary body was on a collision course with earth, and charted the efforts of humanity to build a spacecraft which would enable a select few to escape the impending threat. I haven't seen that film in a good twenty years, and I'm sure if I watched it today I would be less than impressed, but even after all this time I can still remember key scenes and dialogue. I think it's because even at that age the thought of such a grim occurrence was deeply unsettling, and if I'd known about the legend of the Sword of Damocles perhaps I would have understood why.

Deep Impact, then, has a similar theme, one which is nothing particularly new to anyone who reads science-fiction or watched Armageddon in the same year. What is new is that special effects have reached the stage where such a catastrophe can be believably depicted, and so we are left with the promise of scenes of mass destruction on a grand scale (and this revelation is certainly not a spoiler, given that the film's marketers saw fit to include scenes from the climax in the trailer and on the front cover of the video. Bad move, guys.)

For a film which purports to be a blockbuster, Deep Impact takes itself surprisingly seriously. There is no levity whatsoever, which is probably reasonable given that the total destruction of life as we know it is not one of the all-time great party jokes. The film chooses instead to map the progress of a disparate group of protagonists against a backdrop of ever-rising hopelessness, and does such a fine job of creating an oppressive atmosphere that by the final twenty minutes I was reaching for the anti-depressants which I'd been saving for the next Batman sequel.

The problem with this film is that it doesn't have enough time at its disposal to give the story the attention it deserves. There are a *lot* of characters in this film, and in choosing to concentrate on Téa Leoni's reporter and the crew of the shuttle sent to nullify the threat the film's authors ensure that every other character comes across as somewhat underwritten. What is worse is that we get very little insight into the way humanity at large is coping with the impending catastrophe, an intriguing concept which the authors discard in favour of more theatrics from Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski (a subplot which was probably shoehorned in to attract the teenage crowd, but which inevitably arouses zero interest due to the total lack of chemistry between the two actors). Not only that, but Jon Favreau makes one of the most unexpectedly sudden exits since Steven Seagal in Executive Decision, which is a damn shame since he deserves his screen time more than most of the other actors in this flick.

As a result, the fractured narrative and compressed feel of this film scuttle any chance Deep Impact had of rising above the average. That being said, however, I cannot deny that there is still much to like. Let us not forget that within this film's 120 minutes you will witness

- a touching, bittersweet scene where Robert Duvall reads a book to a fellow astronaut;
- a subdued performance from Morgan Freeman as the US president, which is still better than most actors' best; and
- a state of the nation address at the end of the line which, with its understated delivery, is a darn sight more terrifying than the high point of your average horror movie.

And finally, there's a scene at the end involving Téa Leone and Maximilian Schell on a beach which will tear the heart out of anyone who has ever meditated upon the transience of human existence, and single-handedly defies Hollywood convention to boot. It's worth seeing the film just for this moment alone, but only if you don't mind being punched in the gut for your trouble.

So what we have here is a fairly run-of-the-mill film which occasionally manages to sing far above its range. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a flawed masterpiece, but it's worth sitting through just to catch those moments when it connects with the basic humanity within us all.

And if you must ask for whom the bell tolls, you'll find the answer here.

This film has its moments, and is worth seeing on their strength alone. Just don't expect miracles.

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originally posted: 11/26/99 00:21:10
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User Comments

2/14/18 Sean I like movies where the main characters never meet. 4 stars
12/29/17 morris campbell good effects that is it 3 stars
8/18/15 Rob Why do so many people fail to notice that this film makes no sense? 2 stars
1/05/15 josh messier This review sucks. It was actually a good movie 4 stars
4/27/13 David So Rob thinks we shouldn't like this movie just cuz it goes above the bar he lowered? FU 5 stars
8/25/11 Robert Wonderful! One of the most emotional movies ever made. 5 stars
8/16/11 Machine Gun Tom Wished a comet smashed in the production set while it was being made! 1 stars
7/23/11 Cletus Black president? Never! Oh, wait... Anyway, good drama. I liked it 4 stars
10/01/08 Shaun Wallner Intense Action!! 5 stars
8/20/08 DJ Cant believe the negativity! This is a modern classic and near perfect movie! 5 stars
7/19/08 Boengaran Brilliant movie for smart people. For not-so-smart ones, watch Armageddon! 5 stars
5/11/08 mark madsen not very realalistic 2 stars
5/10/08 Bob Better than Armageddon but still pretty weak. Leoni = totally uninspired performance 2 stars
3/05/08 ladavies The last scens with Tea and her father just kills me. Pretty good movie. 4 stars
10/09/07 Ariadne Christina Renee Gladstone An example Morgan Freeman's good work, from before he started playing God. 5 stars
7/04/07 mb Good Movie 4 stars
4/25/07 captain dustin love the movie 5 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Oh look. America saves the world. Again. America is best. Again. America Rules. AGAIN. 1 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega What a disaster movie must be. 3 stars
1/18/07 David Pollastrini great action 5 stars
11/07/06 Booksworm Armageddon and Deep Impact are BOTH TOTAL SHIT!!! 1 stars
3/10/06 Dk Armegeddon for those with IQs above 70 4 stars
8/19/05 Captain Craig All the ethnic mis-matches you expect from a Speilberg production 3 stars
8/18/05 ES It was a decent watch with a good cast and alright story 4 stars
8/13/05 Frenzy this sucks, very deep 1 stars
8/09/05 Fleetwood terribly, a load of complete bullshit 1 stars
4/26/05 E-FUNK Frodo subs a glowing sword for a motorcyle and ugly chick. On par with a venereal disease. 1 stars
10/13/04 Laura This movie was sooo touching!! 5 stars
9/07/04 Alex What are all these people sayin? It's a total tearjerker! 5 stars
8/13/04 Brandon Horrible, horrible movie; can't believe Ebert gave it 2.5 stars outta 5 1 stars
8/01/04 john bale No impact at all ! How did Duval, Freeman, and Regrave get into this drival. 1 stars
7/03/04 cinkcool bleh 1 stars
6/30/04 Hilal what is that ? i can't bleive that 5 stars
6/08/04 Heidi This movie was a bit hard to understand it kept bouncing from charector to charector. 2 stars
3/09/04 Blaine Holloway i thought is ok, although armageddon is better 3 stars
1/26/04 Kathleen It sucked! It was a complete ripoff of Armageddon. The director should have been sued 1 stars
1/25/04 Elena I don't care about anything else in the film except Elijah.i want to make sweet love to him 2 stars
12/09/03 john to beat Armageddon isn't all that hard but thi is a solid desaster picture 4 stars
9/21/03 Darryl I like it. 4 stars
3/31/03 sfghghfghg Great way better than Armeggedon, but not as good as the CORE 5 stars
3/26/03 Jack Sommersby "Armageddon" kicks this lousy piece of crap out of the universe. 1 stars
3/20/03 May Q. Horney Good. (unwittingly?) makes Leelee S's char. look dumb for not knowing what Megrez is? 4 stars
3/11/03 Joe Cool Better than Armageddon 3 stars
2/20/03 Dave Has some poignant moments, some nausiatingly corny, but it's leagues ahead of Armageddon. 3 stars
1/13/03 Jack Sommersby Sappy and predictable disaster flick. Leoni is overbearing; Duvall seriously slumming. 1 stars
12/22/02 Pigwidgeon Finally, a disaster movie that's NOT about macho derring-do! 5 stars
11/18/02 cinkcool Shitty 1 stars
11/11/02 Trinity I loved it 5 stars
11/10/02 Daniel I'm in the minority here, but I really like this movie! Far superior to Armageddon. 5 stars
11/09/02 Stevo Not that bad as disaster flicks go; shitloads better than Armageddon anyway. 4 stars
10/17/02 Charles Tatum The best of the two meteor flicks 5 stars
10/08/02 3man At least it was better than Armegeddon. 3 stars
9/29/02 Fuze44 Tea Leoni, why won't ya blow me? 4 stars
8/23/02 ito very good 2 stars
5/14/02 ghazt atallah please,get someone to fuch me,plsssssssssssss 5 stars
4/24/02 Danielle Ophelia So sugar-saturated you'll need to a whole pack of Carefree gum to survive. 1 stars
4/02/02 ghazi atallah nude pictures if possible 5 stars
3/06/02 Veronica Foxx -The Raven-Haired Temptress Glad I'm not the only one who thought it was a porno; has as much talent as a porno does 2. 1 stars
2/20/02 Xaver I can't believe I actually sat through this entire boring film. 1 stars
1/25/02 specialK skip to the last five minutes, but still lame 2 stars
1/06/02 Magnum Craphole One of the worst movies outta the worst year in cinema. Unwatchable disaster/melodrama. 1 stars
1/04/02 KMG Deep Impact was about a meteor? I thought it was Elijah's first porno! 2 stars
11/30/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Felt cheated to find only ONE tiny disaster. The rest is careless soap opera. 3 stars
8/29/01 Gary The dialogue, acting, characters and story are all terrible, corny bollocks. 1 stars
6/07/01 Dean - Deep Impact is PURE JUNK I CAN NOT accept a movie where politicians are responsible to choose who is going to live. 1 stars
5/02/01 GarboGirl Open your eyes and give it a chance! its gripping and moving 5 stars
4/29/01 Fuckface bum-and more bum. Elijah wood is a bum 2 stars
4/19/01 Tam Really, really boring. Tea Leoni is a deadpan lead. Solid SFX though. 2 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L Not bad. Not great. just ok. 3 stars
3/26/01 Monster W. Kung Armageddon was worse, but this is still unredeemingly, unabashedly, horrendously horrid. 1 stars
3/03/01 Egg36 Unfairly trashed. 4 stars
2/26/01 erland elijah wood is the best young actor ever. ARMAGEDDON pure fun,but D.I. also make you think 5 stars
2/19/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Disaster movies went out of vogue in the late 70's. I guess these people missed it 3 stars
12/04/00 Cristopher Revilla what a fucking depressing shit, man. don't watch this fucktrash!!!! 1 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin nice tidal wave sequence; the rest sucks 2 stars
8/10/00 Terrie Smith Another "comet in your face" movie; better than "Armageddon" but what a waste. 3 stars
11/27/99 CATM Armageddon kicked ass, this was shit. Don't agree? Blow me. 1 stars
10/14/99 Lame-Oh Knock it off Hollywood, you're annoying the hell outta me. 1 stars
9/05/99 david it was okay 3 stars
7/24/99 Hagbard Celine Millions of people sit in their cars in gridlock and wait to be pulverized. Stupid. 1 stars
7/17/99 Ed Wood Could ANY movie as bad as Armageddon? Yes. This one. 1 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Better than Armageddon. 3 stars
6/02/99 kmk much better acting and writing than in that other asteroid movie. 4 stars
5/28/99 Ah Dooey abysmal movie 1 stars
2/02/99 CYaniDERuSH anyone who liked this movie should fuckin die a horrible death. fuck all of you 1 stars
2/01/99 Vick Di Brecci A good Twilight Zone episode unlike Armageddon 4 stars
1/03/99 Dasha I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. Boring characters. 3 stars
12/25/98 CYaniDERuSH pure fuckin crap. walked out after bout 30 min of this garbage 1 stars
11/24/98 Mr.Pink The end is the best part, because 50% of the cast dies, so even that was a dissapointment 1 stars
11/24/98 Lord Of The Dunce Okay, what's amazing to me is SOMEBODY actually thinks this piece of crap was awesome. Guh. 1 stars
11/02/98 Darkhero1 Great movie. Emotionally gripping and the action is powerful. 5 stars
9/27/98 katherine god, enough wih the astroid movies! but neways, it was ok 3 stars
9/20/98 MR HOLLYWOOD Emotion,Heart-Felt and Pure Genius,shame about the pace/acting & director!! 4 stars
9/15/98 Gamma Morgan Freeman for President! Only good thing about the flick. 2 stars
9/14/98 Chip Taylor Compared to ARMAGEDDON, ARMAGEDDON's BRAVEHEART. 1 stars
9/13/98 Como Erectus Some really underdone effects, and Tea Leoni is just plain awful. How did she get famous? 2 stars
9/13/98 loriann very good 5 stars
9/09/98 Bruce Willis' mama. Pushing suspension of disbelief a bit there. I mean, a black president? 1 stars
9/07/98 Robert C. While the acting stinks, the science was accurate (compared to Armagedddon, which stank) 3 stars
9/07/98 ARMA-FUCK'N-GEDDON Come on, no contest here....... 1 stars
9/06/98 BBReBozo Nude Tea Leoni would've equaled at least 2 stars. 1 stars
9/06/98 J Lyons Good movie. It faced a lot of competition this summer. 4 stars
9/04/98 Badass Basic and pointless. Still, it has more zest than ARMAGEDDON 3 stars
8/30/98 Drasord Poor character buildup, undeveloped story, jumps around unnecesarily. Tea is hot. 2 stars
8/29/98 hairy monster It wasn't so bad. Better than Armageddon 4 stars
8/28/98 Dov american crap 1 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Please stop these disaster films. Please? 1 stars
8/24/98 PyThomas A real downer of a film... and I only saw part of it 2 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee Big boom blow up stuff. Tea stupid. 1 stars
8/16/98 J-Guy It was sad when they wouldn't let the little baby in the caves. 3 stars
8/16/98 Johny Elijah Wood and Mimi Leder suck 2 stars
8/13/98 {{OZ}} Crap crap crap 1 stars
8/13/98 clark the astronauts sacraficed themselves. -sniff-. wait, i dont care. 2 stars
8/13/98 Rotten Milk I figure it's like Armageddon only without Affleck 2 stars
8/12/98 Beetchslarp How long does Tea's 15 minutes go for exactly? 2 stars
6/05/98 FrankG I didn't see this movie 1 stars
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  08-May-1998 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-Oct-2004


  18-Jun-1998 (M)

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