Projections - Movie Reviews

Deep Impact

A good disaster film is more than a series of special effects strung together.  It has strong characters with interesting stories that make you care about what happens to them, and Deep Impact does just that.

A comet the size of Mt. Everest is heading towards the U.S. East Coast.  After trying to keep it a secret from its citizens, the government decides to tell the public when a reporter uncovers the truth.

As the president (Morgan Freeman) somberly explains the comet's potential destruction, he also gives some hope by announcing that a space shuttle, piloted by Robert Duvall's character and with a Russian/American crew, is headed toward the comet with a cargo of nuclear bombs.  They're going to attempt to destroy, the comet by dropping the bombs into its center.

If that fails, a network of caves has been built and a national lottery set up to select one million Americans to be sheltered.

That premise allows a real sense of doom as groups are bused to safety.  On the way to the caves, they pass by people holding up their babies begging for them to be saved.  It's a devastating and emotional scene.

Tea Leoni plays an ambitious MSNBC reporter who unwittingly uncovers the story.  Her parents are played by Maximilian Schell and Vanessa Redgrave.  They are terrific actors and their relationship with each other and with their daughter is complex and moving.

Duvall as the older, experienced astronaut, is, as always, compelling.

In fact, all of the characters are important and play an integral part in the action.  The comet seems more dangeous because the characters are so likeable and real.

The special effects, for the most part, are saved for the end and they're pretty spectacular and worth the wait.

Deep Impact


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