Definitely my favorite of the asteroid heading for Earth sub-genre, Deep Impact manages to deliver an entertaining and realistic story about our world’s end. Yes, I said realistic. Sure, we’d certainly discover a giant death-rock sooner than one year before it’s here to destroy us, but I’m referring rather to the physical and emotional impact on Earth and society that the film portrays. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get choked up once or twice – or three times.
Armageddon squared off against Deep Impact in the summer of 1998. The two films shared the same asteroid idea, but handled the situation in two completely different ways; the former used miners and the latter, astronauts. Tragedy strikes and lives are lost, but in both examples the heroes save the day; albeit only somewhat. What makes Deep Impact stand out is it’s stories and how we as an audience can personally relate and put ourselves in the shoes of one or more characters as they deal with the world ending in their own special way.
The film provides logical answers not only to how individuals and their families may react to impending doom, but how the United States government may as well. Played by the always believable Morgan Freeman, President Beck holds the information about Wolf-Biederman (the asteroid, named for the two astronomers who discovered it) back form the public, preventing mass chaos. Backed by NASA, Beck sends highly skilled astronauts into space to intersect the rock and blow it to bits using nuclear warheads. However, the mission fails and now the world has only a matter a days to spend with their loved ones while an incredibly small fraction of the population is locked away deep below the surface to start anew once the dust clears.
I really enjoyed the film, and although it is not perfect – certainly better than Armageddon, it has enough to keep our attention while also making us wonder what we would do if we knew our fate. Good cast, great story, and pretty realistic effects even for today’s standards. I highly recommend it.
*Available on Netflix Instant Watch.
** I don’t actually hate Armageddon.
– Kyle Owen