Things tend to happen in pairs... Back in 1998 it was a disaster movie based on asteroids. Dreamworks had this movie, Deep Impact while only two months later Touchstone Pictures released the Bruce Willis movie Armageddon. In the end Armageddon won at the box office while Deep Impact won out in the reviews and scientific accuracy stakes. Anyway, this review is about Deep Impact, so let's get started.
Fourteen-year-old Leo Beiderman did not expect to make an earth-shattering discovery when he joined his high school astronomy club. He didn't expect to make any discoveries at all; he simply hoped that classmate Sarah Hotchner would discover him. Yet a photograph he takes through his small telescope makes him co-discoverer of Comet Wolf-Beiderman... a comet that scientists determine is on a fatal collision course with the Earth.
Looking at the movie today the visual effects in Deep Impact are a bit of a mixed bag. At the time of theatrical release these were groundbreaking but twelve years later they don't quite have the same impact. While these days CG isn't even "noticed" by the masses (have a look at Avatar, who would think that's almost a complete CG movie!) but back when Deep Impact was being developed CG was still cutting edge technology where the latest techniques were being learnt. What we see in this film was more then jaw dropping back in 1998. Some scenes such as those on or near the comet are superb today however some of the tidal wave effects don't hold up so well. Indeed water is one of the hardest things to accurately recreate in visual effect to this day. Don't expect any 2012 styled jaw-dropping scenes, but what is here is still solid enough.
I really do enjoy Deep Impact. It's not all action, there's some good character development and as a disaster movie it's pretty solid. The best, no, but still great.
Deep Impact is presented on Blu-Ray in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. Naturally the film is presented in the standard 1920 x 1080p resolution and the film typically runs at a very high bitrate over 30Mbps, even in the slower, more static screens. Now this isn't the most sparkly, nor the sharpest movies we've ever seen but the Blu-Ray offers a much better colour reproduction and level of sharpness over the DVD. Some scenes, particularly those when flying to the comet, are quite spectacular indeed.
Preparing For The End (8:56): This featurette looks at the possibility of a comet coming into contact with the earth and hiring the actors for the film.
Making an Impact (12:08): This looks at the filming of the movie, and the difficulties of shooting in Washington DC and working out the storyboards and visual effects including the space sequences.
Creating the Perfect Traffic Jam (6:14): We now move onto a look at creating the freeway sequence on an unopened freeway. They moved in thousands of cars to fill around a mile of freeway with a traffic jam and even got an AM radio frequency to talk to everyone in the cars via their radios. Impressive and quite spectacular.
Parting Thoughts (4:50): The director discusses the test screenings and the need to dramatically cut down the length. Also discussed is the passing of Dietrich Lohmann who got very ill during filming and had to bow out as well as a few thoughts from the writers who worked on the movie.
Teaser Trailer (1:59/HD): The teaser trailer for the film in HD.
Trailer (3:35/HD): The Theatrical trailer for the film which is actually rather lengthy and spoiler filled looking back.
Review By: Dave Warner