Deep Impact (1998)

When you think of movies about planet-killing asteroids threatening the earth (as I know many of you do), you probably think of the movie Armageddon (1998) with Bruce Willis.

It is of interest, that NASA uses that film in their management training program. They want to see how many things their managers can spot in the movie that are physically impossible, from a scientific point of view. There are 168 things that are impossible.

Somewhat like when Bugs Bunny would reach into his pocket (which of course, he didn’t have) and pull out a 200 pound sledgehammer.

And there we see the difference between Armageddon and Deep Impact.

Deep Impact is an intelligent, well-acted, and heart-wrenching portrait of how people would cope with such an event. When the credits roll, what stays in your mind are the scenes of people saying goodbye to their loved ones, knowing that it is the ultimate goodbye.

Among the stand out performances are Robert Duvall, Vanessa Redgrave, Morgan Freeman, Ron Eldard, and Leelee Sobieski (whose real name is actually Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta Sobieski. So with all those names, the one she changes is Liliane?).

The NASA mission to try and destroy the asteroid manages to be understated and suspenseful. But the heart and soul of the movie remains with the actors, not the special effects. The stand out scene in the movie is where Leelee Sobieski says a rushed, panic-driven, and totally believable farewell to her parents. What was that sound you heard during that scene? Just your heart breaking into a million little pieces.

At one point in the movie, Morgan Freeman, as the President, says in a press conference:

“Life will go on, we will prevail.” Originally, he said “Life will go on, we will prevail…THIS IS NOT ARMAGEDDON!” The line was changed when the producers realized they would be competing with the movie Armageddon that same year.

But how right he was, on so many levels.


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