Movie: Deep Impact
Release Date: May 8, 1998
Director: Mimi Leder
Starring: Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Maximillian Schell, Morgan Freeman, Jon Favreau, Laura Innes, James Cromwell.
Tag Lines: “Heaven and Earth are about to collide.”
“Oceans rise. Cities fall. Hope survives.”
Relevance: The highest grossing film of 1998 was a science-fiction disaster film about an extinction level event. ‘Deep Impact’ was not that movie. That movie was ‘Armageddon’ which was released two months after ‘Deep Impact.’ Both of them were not received well by critics, but both were successful with audiences. ‘Deep Impact’ was the sixth highest grossing film that year. ‘Armageddon’ seems to be the movie that is remembered most, but for me ‘Deep Impact’ is a far better movie with a huge emotional impact that Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck could have only hoped for in their film.
The summer of 1998 was a difficult time in my life. I didn’t do much socializing and only spent my time doing two things, working and renting movies. I don’t think I went to a movie theater from May through August that year, so I missed ‘Deep Impact’ during its theatrical run. I finally got to see it as a rental later that year. I knew by the trailer that I was going to enjoy it, but I was not prepared for the numerous amounts of Kleenex I was going to need to get through it.
I should have known if I knew who wrote the screenplay for the movie. Bruce Joel Rubin is a marvelous screen writer who has a knack at tugging at the viewer’s heart strings. I have enjoyed many of his scripts throughout the years. This is his first of four films to make my list of most influential movies. When I rented ‘Deep Impact,’ I was expecting the perfect action popcorn flick. What Mr. Rubin and his co-writer, Michael Tolkin, did surprised me by giving me both an action film and a tearjerker. There is so much heart at the center of this movie causing the viewer to get so emotionally attached to all of the characters and their stories, they almost forget about the comet. There are so many tearful moments to count all handled beautifully by the ensemble cast.
‘Deep Impact’ left such an impact (it’s difficult not to use that word) on me that I purchased the VHS as soon as possible. I have since upgraded to DVD and have watched it periodically throughout the years. I don’t see it on television as much as its similar competitor. ‘Armageddon’ is frequently on the little screen. Of course I have watched that movie and thought it was fine, but it will not be part of this project. It wasn’t that fine and really doesn’t compare to this powerful movie.
Today’s Thoughts: Watching ‘Deep Impact’ during a global pandemic gave me a huge boost of hope. Why? Because as bad as things are, it’s not that bad.
I haven’t watched the film for a few years and was still very entertained. Again, the screenplay is so good. I couldn’t help but tear up numerous times. Yes, the Kleenex box was back for today’s viewing. The blinded astronaut saying good-bye to his wife and newborn whom he has never seen, the parents giving their baby to their older daughter so that they have the chance to live, a daughter and father forgiving each other for past faults moments before meeting their demise all causing tears to fall down my face. And I knew they were going to happen. That just proves both great writing and great acting.
The visual effects that were definitely praised when it was first released do look a little dated now, but not enough to take away from the movie. The floating head of the Statue of Liberty through the streets of New York was a bit much. It was also kind of sad to see the Twin Towers destroyed by a tsunami, knowing that only a few years later they were taken down during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
‘Deep Impact’ is a great action movie with heart thanks to the story, acting as well as the exceptional directing by Mimi Leder. I love the fact that this film was directed by a woman. In 1998, a woman directing a huge blockbuster film like this one was a huge deal. Ms. Leder, who will be on my list one more time later this year, proved that it doesn’t matter if you have a penis or a vagina, you just have to be good at your job.
Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Netflix, DVD Availability.