Deep Impact (1998)

Could the end of the world be any *less* exciting?  Five minutes of 
giant tidal waves.  That's it.  That's all you get.  Five minutes 
of cool cataclysmic action, plus one mildly diverting astronauts-
land-on-the-comet-and-try-to-plant-nukes sequence, and the rest is 
all talk.  Talk about the discovery and the conspiracy to conceal 
the discovery and the plans to divert it and the contingency plans
and the contingency plans for the contingency plans.  Yada yada 
yada, between a dozen or so characters and their three dozen or so 
subplots.  (Tea Leoni gets the most screen time as a cosmetically 
challenged MS-NBC reporter who nearly breaks the story.  She's a 
loss, but her character anchors the film's most inspired series of 
events, when the press thinks the White House is concealing a sex 
scandal.  Memo to Bill Clinton:  begin leaking news about a differ-
ent sort of heavenly body.  Perhaps... an asteroid the size of Tex-

Lots of goodbye scenes, too.  The soapy, often dopey story is all 
solemn stares and serious speeches, including several grave procla-
mations by Morgan Freeman's President.  (His commanding presence 
kept a packed Friday night audience in check, I'll tell you what.)  
Though the script (credited to Michael Tolkin and Bruce Joel Rubin) 
plays like a television mini-series with half its footage missing, 
director Mimi Leder (THE PEACEMAKER) brings a helpful amount of 
anxious energy to the film.  It ain't as good as sustained tension, 
mind you, but it works well-enough at keeping asses in their seats.  
And don't expect to laugh more than ten times in two hours, either.  
To be sure, there *are* longer sits to be suffered through; just be 
forewarned that when the Big One hits, as the ads show, you ain't 
gettin' much bang for your buck.  With James Cromwell, Vanessa Red-
grave, Robert Duvall, Maximilian Schell, and a hopelessly lost-
looking Elijah Wood.  (Rated "PG-13"/123 min.)

Grade: C-

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: May 10, 1998

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