Deep Impact

Deep Impact

**

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

After Independence Day, what? Another end-of-the-world saga? Why not? Repetition makes for healthy box office. There aren't any aliens in this one, only a comet the size of New York heading for your backyard. If it lands, say goodbye to Broadway. And everywhere else. Say goodbye to the human race.

Yikes! What can the president do? Precious little. What can anyone do? Sit in front of the telly in family groups listening to the anchor people waffling about when and how. The anchor people are the oracle. The astronauts in their shuttle craft are the front line. The great ball of blue, with its wispy tail, is Armageddon squared. The writers, Michael (The Player) Tolkin and Bruce Joel (Ghost) Rubin are award winners. Why have they churned out a run-of-the-mildew script that makes Volcano read like a tight human interest item? They follow ID in having two or three little stories running at once. Trouble is, they're all cringeful.

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You don't expect Chekhov when the world's about to go down. If you get Mickey Mouse, you're lucky. Here you have Tea Leoni as a tougher-than-she-looks rookie anchor person, Elijah Wood as a lovesick teen trying to do right by his girl and Robert Duvall as a far-too-old astronaut being wise and strong at the dangerous times. Best of all, you have Morgan Freeman as Mr President. It makes you proud to be an American. Even if you're not, it makes you proud to want to be. No one does dignity like this black man and he does it without a whisper of conceit.

An art-of-the-state disaster flick demands tidal waves, the lot. More work for George Lucas and his effects factory. After Washington was zapped by those little green men in ID, catastrophe has a let's-see-the-join fakery about it. Computer generated destruction has lost its novelty value. Twister 2 would be a big mistake right now.

By telling the story through television and having Leoni's professional and personal life at the heart of it feels like an easy option - let the oracle simplify the science. Leoni is terrific. She's playing Michelle Pfeiffer in Up Close And Personal, without The Sundance Kid in attendance and she does it as a nice girl who happens to be in the right place at the right time (aren't they always?).

Vanessa Redgrave and Maximilian Schell, as her parents, are token high class thesps, shamefully wasted. You might have liked to watch an entire movie about these three. No time. There's a planet to save.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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We're all doomed (again).
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Director: Mimi Leder

Writer: Michael Tolkin, Bruce Joel Rubin

Starring: Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni, Vanessa Redgrave, Morgan Freeman

Year: 1998

Runtime: 125 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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If you like this, try:

Armageddon
The Day After Tomorrow