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MSNBC reporter Jenny Lerner, while investigating a high-level scandal in Washington, stumbles upon the story that a comet is on a collision course with Earth. A year earlier, amateur teenage astronomer Leo Biederman discovered a new comet that is the one now certified to hit within the year. U.S. President Beck announces to the world that a spaceship called the Messiah will blast off in two months to plant nuclear bombs in the comet in hope of blowing it to bits. This plan fails, splitting the comet into two sections. The smaller will hit off the east coast creating a tital wave that will destroy New York and Washinton while the larger portion will land in Canada causing an ELE, or Extinction Level Event, complete with Earth-enshrouding clouds of dust that will wipe out all life. Declaring martial law, President Beck reveals that a network of caves is being built to accommodate 1 million citizens, most to be chosen by a national lottery.
For more about Deep Impact and the Deep Impact Blu-ray release, see the Deep Impact Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 5, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Morgan Freeman, Ron Eldard, Jon Favreau
Director: Mimi Leder
» See full cast & crew
Deep Impact Blu-ray Review
'Deep Impact' is a big hit on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 5, 2009
Life will go on.
Perhaps the greatest Disaster film of them all, Deep Impact foregoes the hackneyed faux emotion, trite clichés, and bigger-than-life heroes in favor of a more grounded, realistic, and by extension, altogether moving experience. A film about love, family, hope, and the perseverance of man in the face of certain doom, Deep Impact treats its material honestly and passionately, putting its people first and its special effects second. The danger of the looming disaster is not defined by its destructive force, massive size, or threat to destroy the planet, but by the heartache, raw emotion, and strength of the characters. The emotion of the picture is not derived from last-second heroics, catchy one-liners, or awe-inspiring special effects, but the plight of human beings, the ties that bind them together, and the strength of family. Deep Impact is a big-budget, special effects extravaganza, but it succeeds in conjunction with -- and not solely because of -- its superficialities. The film excels thanks to its deep and meaningful look at the human condition from several perspectives while commenting on the power of love, courage, sacrifice, integrity, perseverance, and spirit even in the face of tremendous odds.
Young high school astronomer Leo Biederman (Elijah Wood, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) discovers an unidentifiable object in the sky. Dr. Wolf -- a prominent Tucson, Arizona-based astronomer to whom Leo sent his findings -- discovers that the object is a comet on a collision course with Earth. One year later, MSNBC journalist Jenny Lerner (Téa Leoni, Jurassic Park III) becomes privy to classified information that leads her to learn that the Earth may be facing what is known as an "Extinction Level Event." Cornering the White House by threatening to break the story ahead of schedule, President Beck (Morgan Freeman, The Sum of All Fears) grants Lerner her big break by allowing her a front-and-center seat at the Presidential Press conference breaking the news to the world two days later. Beck announces that a joint U.S.-Russian team has built The Messiah -- an advanced spacecraft armed with nuclear bombs meant to detonate deep within the comet in hopes of knocking it off course -- crewed by a young and talented collection of astronauts but solidified by the presence of veteran shuttle pilot Spurgeon Tanner (Robert Duvall, Sling Blade). With the fate of mankind hanging in the balance, people come to better know themselves and discover the power of love, hope, and family in a time of great upheaval.
Inevitably, every discussion of Deep Impact turns to a discussion on the pros and cons of the film in comparison to its sister movie, Armageddon. Released two months after Deep Impact and grossing a larger dollar figure at the box office, Armageddon may be the fan favorite of the two but it's clearly the lesser picture. Everything that Deep Impact does right, Armageddon gets wrong. The latter lacks an emotional core, the most crucial element of any Disaster movie. While Armageddon does boast more grandiose special effects, it lacks the heart, soul, and timelessness of Deep Impact, a film that delivers a universal message of love, faith, and family. Armageddon relies on its superficialities -- big special effects; glitzy camerawork; and a bigger, more widely-recognized cast and crew -- while Deep Impact puts its story first and the secondary and tertiary components that define the whole of Armageddon last. Sweet, meaningful, moving, and utterly captivating even after multiple viewings, Deep Impact withstands the test of time as a film that unequivocally delivers on every level, stirring the soul, churning at the base emotions, and even exciting the senses with healthy doses of action and suspense. Deep Impact is the perfect Disaster movie; from its collection of wonderfully-developed characters to its inspiring final shot, there's simply no better of its kind.
Deep Impact's smart and moving script defines the core of the experience, but the film features a wonderful cast and crew that brings the pages to thrilling and moving life. Though Téa Leoni delivers something of a zombie-esque performance, her character arc is the best in the film, and her relationship with her father (brillianty played by the legendary Maximilian Schell) comes to define everything that Deep Impact is truly about. Robert Duvall turns in an inspired performance as an aging astronaut who serves as the glue that holds the crew -- and the mission -- together. Something of a father figure to the rest of the crew, Duvall's character and, by extension, his performance, is one that is solidified by a combination of courage and emotion, the character remaining steady, strong, and on-task but understanding and appropriately emotionally deep and perceptive. As the President of the United States, Morgan Freeman is an inspired choice; he emotes a humanity that doesn't make hum vulnerable but instead a true leader, a man higher in stature but not in heart. Deep Impact also features a strong performance by a younger Elijah Wood who shows a strong grasp of the film's meaning and emotional core. Directed by Mimi Leder (The Peacemaker), Deep Impact does well to visually represent the emotions of the story. From the topsy-turvy angles that define the President's initial address and the hectic handheld work that captures the chaos of the newsroom in the aftermath of the announcement to the steadier shots that allow the audience to linger in the emotion of the moment, Leder proves herself a first-class director with every expert shot. It's a shame Leder hasn't done more feature films since Deep Impact. She shows a tremendous talent in her ability to superbly mesh danger and excitement with raw emotion and humanity. If there is a director out there that deserves more work and more recognition, it's Mimi Leder. Rounded out by a stellar score courtesy of the best in the business, James Horner (Glory), Deep Impact delivers a complete cinematic experience from beginning to end and on both sides of the camera.
Deep Impact Blu-ray, Video Quality
Deep Impact peers through the Blu telescope and reveals a quality 1080p, 2.39:1-framed transfer. This is a stable, pleasing-on-the-eye transfer with few faults; it does showcase black levels that sometimes brighten up beyond a natural shade; a hint of edge enhancement here and there; flesh tones that go slightly rosy on occasion; and several scenes that look a bit too flat and processed; but otherwise, this one should more than satisfy longtime fans looking to upgrade from various standard-definition releases. Grain is minimal; the image takes on a somewhat smooth appearance but fine detail remains in abundance through much of the film, though certain scenes look a bit more smooth than others. Clarity is generally superb, and both foreground and background objects remain focused, sharp, and nicely detailed throughout. Colors are bold yet natural; every shade is precisely rendered, from the steely gray interior of the Messiah to the neutrally-shaded furnishings and Presidential Blue carpet in the Oval Office. Deep Impact isn't the sort of disc used to wow potential buyers of Blu-ray or high definition displays, but it delivers a better-than-average 1080p presentation that will please the film's fan base.
Deep Impact Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Deep Impact crashes onto Blu-ray with a startling Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The track enjoys a nice, full, and precise presentation. The rear channels are implemented often, beginning with Dr. Wolf's repositioning of the heavy telescope in Tucson; the shifting gears and mechanical movements are heard all around the soundstage. Meanwhile, his opera music enjoys superb clarity as it spills out of the front half of the soundstage and seems to reverberate about the listening area, and a subsequent explosion rocks the floorboards with a loud and powerful low end effect. Later, the Messiah's rockets explode throughout the soundstage, and its rough ride into the comet features the sound of rattling bolts and metal on the inside and debris bouncing off the hull on the outside in a full-fledged surround sound presentation that, through all the goings-on, retains excellent clarity. There are too-numerous-to-count instances of the track delivering powerful, full, and exciting sound effects that engulf the soundstage. Deep Impact also offers several more nuanced atmospheric effects that bring the track to life; listeners will enjoy the bustling background activity of the MSNBC offices in several scenes and the gentle rocking of a pier-side boat in chapter four. Also featuring crystal-clear dialogue reproduction, Deep Impact delivers a wonderful listening experience that nicely compliments a wonderful movie.
Deep Impact Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Deep Impact collides with Blu-ray and unearths a few special features. First up is a feature-length commentary track with Director Mimi Leder and Visual Effects Supervisor Scott Farrar. This is a smooth, interesting, and somewhat reserved track; there's a nice mixture of information, beginning with a comment on how the filmmakers perceive audiences to like Deep Impact more than Armageddon, their initial introduction to the project, changes in script throughout the process, the work of the actors, their previous work and experiences, the film's scientific background and accuracy, and much more. Preparing for the End (480p, 8:56) takes a brief look at the origins of the idea behind Deep Impact, the piece grounded in real-world possibilities with interview clips with scientists discussing the possibilities. Also included is a look at the process of condensing the script from a three-hour epic to a more manageable two-hour runtime, the participation of Director Mimi Leder, casting the film, and more. Making an Impact (480p, 12:08) takes a look at the creation of several of the film's special effects. Creating the Perfect Traffic Jam (480p, 6:14) takes a brief but concise look at the filming of one of Deep Impact's more challenging scenes. Parting Thoughts (480p, 4:50) features Director Mimi Leder sharing a few thoughts on the film's test screenings and placing in context the untimely death of Director of Photography Dietrich Lohmann with the themes of the film. Also included on this Blu-ray release of Deep Impact is a photo gallery (1080p) and the film's teaser (1080p, 2:06) and theatrical (3:42) trailers.
Deep Impact Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A highly emotional, superbly crafted, and altogether timeless movie, Deep Impact may superficially fall into the "Disaster" movie category but it's more a tale of the human condition than the end of the world. Revolving around its themes of love, family, and sacrifice rather than building a ten-cent story around special effects and catchy one-liners, Deep Impact positively nails what its genre is all about and bests the competition in every regard. The pinnacle of the Disaster genre and one of the better emotionally-centered movies of the past several generations, Deep Impact withstands the test of time and holds up as an emotional tour-de-force examination of the human spirit. Paramount's Blu-ray release of Deep Impact does the film justice. Featuring a steady 1080p transfer, a wonderfully robust lossless soundtrack, and a fair collection of bonus materials, Deep Impact comes highly recommended.
Deep Impact: Other Editions
Deep Impact Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Paramount Delays Catalog Titles - July 13, 2009
Paramount Home Entertainment has unceremoniously pulled five upcoming titles from its Blu-ray release schedule, originally slated for September 15: '48 Hrs.', 'Escape from L.A.', 'K-19: The Widowmaker', 'The Firm', and 'The Score'. No reason has been given for ...
• Mid-September Catalog Wave from Paramount - June 15, 2009
Paramount Home Entertainment is releasing seven titles from its catalog on Blu-ray on September 15: '48 Hrs', 'Deep Impact', 'Escape from L.A.', 'K-19: The Widowmaker', 'The Firm', 'The Score', and 'Varsity Blues'. All titles will include Dolby TrueHD audio tracks. ...
• Paramount Late 2009 Rumored Blu-ray Slate - June 5, 2009
Our good friends over at The Digital Bits have posted on their "Rumor Mill" section a peek at some of the catalog titles from Paramount and Dreamworks that will probably be on Blu-ray during September and into the fourth quarter of the year. The list includes ...
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