Deep Impact (1998)

(In theaters, May 1998) I had been following the various rumors and previews about Deep Impact, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of the film’s value when I entered the theatre. I expected a maudlin tear-jerker with a cool five-minutes of special effects at the end and perhaps a good idea or two. I was right, but what I didn’t expect was that the movie actually played better than I thought. Overall, the science is also better than average and the story shows signs of maturity uncommon for disaster films. (Which is why I tend to consider Deep Impact a “drama” rather than a catastrophe movie.) On the other hand, the movie shows clear signs of having been rushed to the screens: Things are told rather than shown (the most egregious example being the missile strike against the comet), the scientific accuracy degrades by the end of the movie, the script should have been rewritten at least twice, the journalist character is annoying, at least one subplot should have been completely cut, the directing is average, things don’t always make sense (The car crash? Why?) and thus we are left with a curious impression of “okay, but could have been so much better.”

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