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Deep Impact (1998).

December 1, 2009

The Scoop:
The less commercially successful of 1998’s two killer asteroid movies, this is the more creatively successful (not that “Armageddon” provided much competition in that area), creating what could be termed a kinder, gentler disaster movie.

Téa Leoni is an ambitious television reporter on the trail of a government cover-up, only to discover that the fact being covered up is the existence of a giant comet on a collision course with Earth, which the government is trying to destroy without alarming the public. The story gets out, though, with all the usual results.

Director Mimi Leder and writers Bruce Joel Rubin and Michael Tolkin shift the focus away from the pyrotechnics in favor of the human reactions to impending disaster (and a less-than-happy ending), creating a film that, though occasionally predictable, still manages to stand out among its genre. The cast is filled with solid actors, but the standouts include Robert Duvall as the gruff astronaut leading the comet destruction team; Morgan Freeman, lending his commanding presence to the role of the president; and Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski as the young amateur astronomer and his girlfriend who discover the asteroid.

Sure, “Deep Impact” is still a Big Dumb Blockbuster, but it is at least one with more heart than one would otherwise expect.

Best Line:
“Look on the bright side. We’ll all get high schools named after us.”

Side Note:
The scene of the president’s address to the world originally included the line, “This is not armageddon.” But that was cut out when the studio realized that the film would be in theaters around the same time as “Armageddon.”

Companion Viewing:
“Armageddon” (1998).

Links:
IMDb.
Disaster Movie World.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

BOOM! The money shot. (Spoilers!):

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