1998 was a pretty bad year for Earth. Humanity had only recently recovered from the events of Independence Day (1996), the fury of Dante’s Peak (1997) and the release of Shawn Mullins’ soft rock single “Lullaby” and then boom, asteroids.
1998 saw the release of two huge comet-filled blockbuster hits – Armageddon and Deep Impact. While Armageddon featured Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and arguably the greatest power-ballad of the generation, Deep Impact was always there, awkwardly playing the triangle in the background of a supergroup of disaster movies that littered the late 90s. Wrongfully so?
Like all movies where the world might end, Deep Impact begins with a young Elijah Wood peering through a telescope and examining the night sky. After the discovery of a previously unidentified object between a few stars, word is sent to a government observatory to check it out. After some ludicrously short analysis, an astrologist at Nerd HQ discovers that fuck, this thing is heading towards Earth! At this point, everything is essentially the same as the episode of The Simpsons where Bart discovers the comet, although you don’t laugh or enjoy yourself at any point.
A year later, an investigative journalist (Téa Leoni) has stumbled upon something that is upending the government. After a senior congressman resigns over something called “ELE”, Téa jumps on the Internet to work out what “ELE” might be. Remember, this is 1998. Google isn’t providing 21372846220 results in 2.12 seconds. Téa begins laboriously trawling through Altavista or Ask Jeeves or Dogpile and works out that ELE stands for Extinction Level Event. Shit a brick.
Morgan Freeman is the president. Of course he is. If I had a country, Morgan Freeman would be the president. President Freeman tells the world about the comet. He tells everyone to chill out, as only Morgan Freeman can. Like an older Obama, Morgan Freeman calmly explains that at that very moment, a team of super spacemen are preparing to head up to the comet, land on it, rig it with 8 nuclear bombs and blow it up. Easy. Japanese-y.
The super spacemen team (there is a woman on the team so “spacepeople”, I guess. Happy, Marieke Hardy?) is lead by Robert Duvall, who has apparently been to the moon on six separate occasions – and doesn’t he like to tell you about it. They fuck up the whole thing. Instead of blowing it up completely, it breaks into two separate pieces – both of which are now heading to Earth. The team makes a last minute escape, however, they leave Jon Favreau in space to die. I would have too.
Morgan Freeman, a little miffed, announces to the world that there is a massive chance everyone will die. Don’t worry though, he has a plan. The government has built a giant cave underground which will hold a million people for 2 years, decided by a random ballot, who will probably survive the comet’s impact and when it’s safe, head back up to the surface and begin repopulating the planet, open kebab stores and continue looking for Madeleine McCann.
I’ll stop explaining the plot there because seriously, just look at the DVD cover and work it out for yourself. There are a few surprises along the way and there is a love story between Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski, which is wholly unnecessary. If you learn anything, it’s that nothing sorts out petty problems like a comet heading directly towards Earth to wipe out all humanity. You might laugh, you might cry – I did neither.
So, in the whole spectrum of disaster movies, where does Deep Impact sit? Are people still talking about Deep Impact 15 years later? I turned to the only place I knew could provide the answer. Twitter.
A quick search of “Deep Impact” yielded a surprising number of results. I decided to see what the common Internet user thinks about Armageddon’s little brother a decade and a half later.
Wow! Fifteen years on and Deep Impact still resonates with @shaneo693061. Personally, I wouldn’t describe it as “fun” but hey, at least it’s getting talked about. Right? Ugh.
Oh Dale. STAHP it! You’re too much
@Zirgar doesn’t seem to like Deep Impact. His dislike for the film is only surpassed by his hatred of Téa Leoni. He really hates Téa Leoni.
Monique has made a fairly valid observation. Morgan Freeman and Danny Glover are both African American men and both play the POTUS in disaster films. She does, however, stop at two. This is hardly “all” doomsday films. Also, Danny Glover is actually the president in 2012, but I’ll forgive her that mistake because she seems to be a little preoccupied in her profile picture.
Nice one Jess! I’m sure director Mimi Leder is glad to hear that. Give us an example…
Cheers Jess. White rice is pretty great.
Hi Tommy. The Elijah Wood in Deep Impact is the regular Elijah Wood. I’m sure there are there are other people named Elijah Wood, but the Elijah Wood in Deep Impact is the famous actor.
@joshedge53 seems pretty excited that Deep Impact is on. To be fair, I think even Duvall himself puts Deep Impact above The Godfather.
Great observation @_DianaHinojosa. Steven Spielberg really does know what people like. Perhaps that is why he didn’t direct Deep Impact.
It didn’t. It really didn’t…
It’s difficult to fully gauge a reaction from Twitter. I then moved to the next best thing – the YouTube comments section. This place is the ghetto of the Internet. It’s the only place I’ll get a true feeling of Deep Impact’s, well, impact. I searched “Deep Impact Trailer” and let the Internet do the rest.
Perhaps because Deep Impact was made in 1998.
Why is everyone genuinely shocked that Elijah Wood has made other movies?
What? Ok. That’s enough…
If you’ve made it to the end of this review, congratulations. I’ll leave you with 3 final thoughts:
- Deep Impact isn’t a great movie. It’s also not a horrible movie. Believe me, Deep Impact is much better than Armageddon, even without Aerosmith. It doesn’t deserve to play the triangle. It should be right up there on bass guitar getting ignored by groupies.
- People remember Deep Impact 15 years on. Also, the Internet is full nevilles.
- I urge you, on September 14th 2013, vote for Morgan Freeman.