Deep Impact

Deep Impact Image
Metascore
40

Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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5.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 66 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 20
  2. Negative: 5 out of 20
  1. Deep Impact confines much of its horror to television news reports and has a more brooding, thoughtful tone than this genre usually calls for.
  2. 63
    Unfortunately, an A-list group of actors doesn't mean a lot when there isn't much of a script.
  3. 63
    You can enjoy the way they create little flashes of wit in the dialogue, which enlivens what is, after all, a formula disaster movie.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    The season's first comet-targets-Earth special effects extravaganza is spectacular enough in its cataclysmic scenes of the planet being devastated by an unstoppable fireball, but proves far from thrilling in the down time spent with a largely dull assortment of troubled human beings.
  5. 40
    If director Mimi Leder is really guilty of anything, it's of wasting three first-rate actors (Morgan Freeman, Vanessa Redgrave, and Robert Duvall) in underdeveloped roles while allowing Leoni's shell-shocked, unconvincing turn to become an embarrassment.
  6. A three-hankie weeper in disaster-movie drag, and its tear-jerking bull's-eyes are separated by long stretches of tedium.
  7. For a suspense drama, Impact is a slack, oddly enervated and mawkish soup of largely lethargic performances.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 13
  2. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. HQY.
    Dec 31, 2005
    10
    Great movie. excellent.
  2. GreggH.
    Mar 18, 2007
    10
    This is one of my favorite disaster flicks. I just think this movie is so good. I love how it focuses on the characters and not the action. This is one of my favorite disaster flicks. I just think this movie is so good. I love how it focuses on the characters and not the action. But the action is awesome. This is one of the only movies to make me cry. Not weep, cry. It has such a sad ending! Expand
  3. Sep 29, 2015
    10
    One of my favourite science fiction disaster films of all time. Morgan freeman does an excellent job playing fictional U. S. President TomOne of my favourite science fiction disaster films of all time. Morgan freeman does an excellent job playing fictional U. S. President Tom Bec. The Plot is mysterious, dramatic, intense and powerfully moving as well as spectacular visuals. A really deep movie that does a good job of showing the world in this situation. I really like how it doesn't focus on just one person as the "hero," but rather select individuals. Although, Morgan Freeman does tend to steal the show, as usual. It's just as awesome as the day after tomorrow Expand
  4. Mar 5, 2014
    6
    I think this movie is BETTER THAN ARMAGEDDON! It has nearly no stereotype "heroes" and a humanitarian side. It's too long for the story, butI think this movie is BETTER THAN ARMAGEDDON! It has nearly no stereotype "heroes" and a humanitarian side. It's too long for the story, but it has a good ending. Expand
  5. Mar 27, 2016
    5
    The season’s first comet-targets-Earth special effects extravaganza is spectacular enough in its cataclysmic scenes of the planet beingThe season’s first comet-targets-Earth special effects extravaganza is spectacular enough in its cataclysmic scenes of the planet being devastated by an unstoppable fireball, but proves far from thrilling in the down time spent with a largely dull assortment of troubled human beings.

    Boasting a pedigree from two studios as well as the combined expertise of exec producer Steven Spielberg and his “Jaws” producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown, this comes as close to a universal, all-encompassing disaster picture as has ever been made, in that all life on Earth is threatened with extinction by the onrushing astral interloper. And yet, the choices of characters made by scenarists Michael Tolkin and Bruce Joel Rubin are mostly odd and uninvolving, with perhaps only one or two of them expressing any lust for life, a burning awareness of the preciousness of time, or a philosophical framework through which to view the threatened holocaust.

    With director Mimi Leder working in the same hyperventilated, would-be realistic style she applied to “The Peacemaker,” the characters all frantically scurry about keeping appointments and fighting deadlines, with all of them facing, of course, the biggest deadline of all. But the impact they create is shallow and scattershot, leaving one to wait impatiently for the major moments that, fortunately, do arrive.

    An unaccountable amount of time, especially in the early-going, is given over to Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni), a rising MSNBC reporter who, while investigating some high-level Washington shenanigans, stumbles onto traces of a very big story indeed. A year before, amateur teenage astronomer Leo Biederman (Elijah Wood) and an observatory technician (Charles Martin Smith) independently identified a new comet that is now certified as being on a collision course with Earth.

    With impact looming in a year, U.S. President Beck (a solemn Morgan Freeman) announces the news to the world. The government hasn’t been asleep at the wheel, however; a giant spaceship called Messiah will blast off in two months’ time, the president informs, so that astronauts can plant eight nukes on the comet in the hope of blowing it to smithereens and thus eradicate the threat.

    The mission, which concludes precisely halfway through the picture, proves a dismal failure, succeeding only in splitting the comet in two unequal pieces, each of which strike the planet. The smaller portion, it is eventually determined, will hit just off the North American eastern seaboard, causing a 350-foot tidal wave that will destroy New York and Washington, among other cities, and travel 650 miles inland. The larger rock will land in Canada and trigger what is called an E.L.E., or Extinction Level Event, complete with Earth-enshrouding dust clouds that will block out the sun and almost certainly wipe out all life.

    The trauma created by the who-will-live/who-will-die edict is explicitly dramatized through Leo Biederman’s story. By virtue of his having co-discovered the comet, he and his family get to go underground. His girlfriend Sarah (Leelee Sobieski) and her parents are not so lucky, however. To enable Sarah to join Leo, the seriously underage couple marry, but even then there is much melodramatic toing-and-froing as to whether she will accompany him or remain with her folks. Potentially heart-tugging, this subplot is played out in the hokiest, most predictable manner, one that panders directly to the teen audience.

    The adults are no more interesting. Although she has the looks for a plausible TV anchor, Tea Leoni’s Jenny seems so stiff and uncomfortable during her broadcasts that she wouldn’t last a weekend on the air. Furthermore, her character is stuck in a forlorn funk; her mother (a classy Vanessa Redgrave) commits suicide after the older woman’s ex (Maximilian Schell) marries a much younger woman, and Jenny spends a good deal of time dealing — not very effectively — with her errant dad. Leoni’s eyes seem on the verge of tears almost throughout, and her sad, brittle demeanor is an odd object of focus for such a high-powered picture.

    In a different way, the team of astronauts isn’t very compelling either. Robert Duvall’s lead pilot, described as the last man to walk on the moon and a veteran of six shuttle flights, would normally be expected to have a certain weight and to command respect. Instead, the younger flyers (Ron Eldard, Mary McCormack, Blair Underwood, Jon Favreau and Alexander Baluev) treat him dismissively as a dinosaur, almost a liability. Duvall, possibly not wanting to repeat himself by playing yet another military tough guy, makes his character somewhat defensive, as if he had something to prove. It’s one way to go, but not all that convincing.

    The water effects are just the slightest bit phony looking, but they still register dramatically, as do glimpses of the ocean making its way up through the valleys and over the mountains of the eastern states.
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  6. Jan 4, 2016
    4
    Think back to 1979 and a disaster movie called Meteor; Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Russian and American scientists united in a desperateThink back to 1979 and a disaster movie called Meteor; Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Russian and American scientists united in a desperate attempt to stop a giant asteroid ploughing into the Earth. Twenty years on and Meteor has spawned its very own trend. Bar a certain giant lizard, 1998 is the year of the asteroid disaster-movie. And while action junkies should gear up for Jerry Bruckheimer's explosive Armageddon (big rock threatens the Earth, Bruce Willis dives into a space shuttle to destroy it), DreamWorks' more thoughtful Deep Impact (same plot, no Bruce Willis, more human drama) has managed to get its foot in the door first.

    What begins as a tale of hanky-panky in government soon gives way to a deadlier agenda. The mysterious `Ellie' is, in fact, ELE; the codename for the US government's secret preparations for a direct hit by Biederman's rogue comet. As the end of the world draws closer in the months that follow, the film spins out several micro-dramas: Téa Leoni and her troublesome parents; Wood and his girlfriend; and a team of astronauts - including retired Apollo veteran Spurgeon Tanner (Robert Duvall) - who have been dispatched to try to nuke the planet-denting ice rock.

    Director Mimi Leder does her best to try and find depth and emotional complexity within a simple high-concept Hollywood premise. Unfortunately, while the idea itself is a brave one, the result is a barely interesting action movie, intercut with forgettable slices of soap opera. Will Leoni make up with her pop, Maximillian Schell? Who will get picked to take up one of the 800,000 hidey-holes in a deep, blast-protected cave? Is this last orders at the bar for the human race?

    Leoni, in her first major dramatic role, performs admirably under impossible circumstances, while Wood's young love story with Leelee Sobieski simply dissolves into an annoying distraction. Only Duvall nabs a compelling plotline and tries to give the film its heart, but he's off screen far too much. His cause isn't helped by a dodgy screenplay which is short on entertainment value but long on literary pretence. With shades of Contact, this is the kind of movie where the heroine who must explore deep truths is named `Lerner' and the fate of the world hinges on the Christ-like sacrifice of a man (almost) called `Fish' and a spaceship called `Messiah'.

    Nevertheless, there are some impressive disaster effects in the final hour, and thanks to some clever and knowing twists, Deep Impact keeps you averagely entertained right up until the cataclysmic tidal-wave finale. That said, it still merely makes you hunger for Armageddon; an event movie that promises more of the things that would have made this film better (deep-space heroics, action, adventure, ooh-ahh computer-graphics), but with less of the spiritual guff that ultimately sucks the fire from its rival.

    While the forthcoming Armageddon promises to unload a Con-Air-in-space adrenalin rush, Deep Impact is a more spiritual "Let's solve our personal problems before the comet kills us" movie. It's a slowly-spun sci-fi fable - but **** what an ending...
    Expand
  7. Feb 19, 2016
    2
    The movie is boring, no real suspense. Don't know how this movie got PG-13, when they say f**k twice, and in the sexual way. The part with theThe movie is boring, no real suspense. Don't know how this movie got PG-13, when they say f**k twice, and in the sexual way. The part with the wave is good, but that is about it. I do not recommend Deep Impact to anybody wanting a "good" disaster film. 2/10 Expand

See all 13 User Reviews

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