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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Deep Impact - Special Collector's Edition (1 Viewer)

Scott Kimball

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Deep Impact - Special Collector's Edition



Studio: Paramount

Year: 1998

Rated: PG-13

Length: 121 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1, anamorphically enhanced

Audio: English & French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround

English subtitles; Closed Captioned in English

Special Features: Commentary by Mimi Leder and Scott Farrar; four featurettes, photo gallery, teaser trailer, theatrical trailer


Release Date: October 5, 2004




Deep Impact came out at about the same time as a very similar film about the same subject - Armageddon. They are both “end-of-the-world” disaster films about a comet impact threatening the continuing survival of life on Earth.

While Armageddon showed more style and humor, Deep Impact is arguably the better film. Performances are less of the comic book style, and the science is a bit more realistic. Deep Impact takes itself seriously, rather than being a tongue-in-cheek disaster film like Armageddon.

The film follows the lives of different people as they prepare for the coming doomsday.

Leo Beiderman (Elijah Wood) is a high school student and amateur astronomer who discovers the comet. Tea Leoni is an MSNBC reporter who uncovers the impending doom that the White House wants to keep secret. Morgan Freeman is the President.

In space, we follow Robert Duvall and a group of astronauts as they rendezvous with, and attempt to destroy or deflect, the comet before it impacts Earth.

Deep Impact is a competent blend of sci-fi and disaster.

Video
Deep Impact is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions.

Most of the film displays good detail, though there are a few scenes that come across as rather soft. Edge enhancement doesn’t appear to be a problem.

Colors are true and accurate, and are well saturated. The image has good contrast, with only an occasional and slight lack of detail in shadows. A few scenes come off as very slightly muddy in appearance, perhaps a result of the original photography.

Grain is mild to nonexistent. Occasional moire effects appear, but infrequently and not to the point of distraction. The print is clean, showing only an occasional speck of dust.

There are no visible sharpening or compression artifacts in the transfer.

This is, overall, a good and clean anamorphic transfer of a clean print.

Audio
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track offers up adequate channel separation, delivering good spatial cues in a fairly open soundfield. Low Frequency Effects are impressive, when called for, delivering a window rattling experience. Occasionally, though, there is low frequency information that isn’t really called for, and that can be a mild distraction in a couple of spots in the film.

Dialog is consistently clean and clear. Sound effects are sharp and detailed. Music comes across cleanly.

This is an adequate soundtrack with decent surround effects and strong LFE, though it doesn’t really “wow” me with spatial detail and surround effects. I would rate it at average or slightly above for a film of this type.

Special Features

Commentary with Director Mimi Leder and Special Effects Supervisor Scott Farrar


Right off, they talk about Deep Impact being more scientifically accurate than the other comet disaster film to come out around the same time, Armageddon. Certainly, there is a lot of scientific license taken with this film, but it definitely takes itself more seriously than Armageddon.

Discussion covers everything from effects shots to production schedules, budgetary consideration, location shooting, etc.

Neither participant is overly animated in this commentary, but there is some good discussion on various aspects of the film. Overall, the commentary is broad, but not deep.

As far as commentaries go, this doesn’t rate very highly. Those who are big fans of the film may want to give it a listen, though.

Preparing for the End (8:56)
Discussions of commentary impacts by scientists in 1994, focusing in the Jupiter impacts, are intercut with screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin’s recollection of being approached by Steven Spielberg to write an epic remake of George Pal’s When Worlds Collide.

Mimi Leder talks about coming on board, with no previous science fiction interest or experience. Further, she discusses the casting for the film.

Making an Impact (12:09)
This featurette jumps around for a couple of minutes, before landing on its focus of visual effects. Storyboards, animatics, CGI, practical effects, and set design are discussed. 12 minutes is just enough time to gloss over the high points. It is not long enough to go into detail on the visual effects.

Creating the Perfect Traffic Jam (6:14)
An interesting short piece on the logistics of bringing over 2000 extras, 1000 vehicles and over one mile of abandoned highway together for the traffic jam sequence. One of the more difficult aspects of the shoot was directing and communicating with so many people over so large a space. The production team actually utilized an AM radio frequency for one-way communication with all the extras. Feeding and hydrating 2000 people on a hot day is also discussed.

Parting Thoughts (4:50)
This is a discussion of the test screenings of the film, and the cuts that resulted from the early reactions to the film. We see a few brief clips of some of the cut sequences. Considering that about 45 minutes was cut from the original screening, it would have been nice to have a collection of some of the more pertinent deleted scenes as their own special feature.

Photo Gallery

Teaser Trailer

Theatrical Trailer

Final Thoughts

Deep Impact is enjoyable fluff, a good night’s entertainment for disaster film and sci-fi film fans alike.

A so-so commentary and a little over thirty minutes of mildly interesting special features round out this special collector’s edition.
 

Mark Cappelletty

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I worked for one of the writers on the film (Michael Tolkin) and know that a lot was cut out, including almost an entire subplot with then-unknown Dougray Scott as Tea Leoni's cameraman/boyfriend.
 

John_McKittrick

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Can you believe the initial DVD of this film was $27.99 when it came out?? Get it at CE at Circuit City for $8.99 this week.

Great film BTW, thanks for the review.

John
 

Andrew Bunk

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My pre-order has already shipped. Always found this movie entertaining. 16x9 alone is worth it to me.
 

Jordan_E

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I'll probably get this version for a weird, almost nostalgic double feature with Armageddon; I do this once in awhile with Dante's Peak and Volcano.
 

Andrew Bunk

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I also have this weird desire to watch Deep Impact and Armageddon in close proximity. I loved Dante's Peak, but never really cared for Volcano.
 

Andrew Bunk

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You know it looks like Paramount dropped the list price on this at the last minute. I bought my copy from DVDEempre, who still list it as a 19.95 list. But Amazon and DeepDiscountDVD both say 14.95 for list. This would explain why BB and CC are selling it for 9.99 and 8.99 respectively. BB isn't in the habit of giving 50% off list these days. Oh well, to me it's worth the price I paid.
 

Scott Kimball

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The SRP for this was always $14.99, US... at least as far back as Paramount's October DVD List press release, which I got in August.

-Scott
 

Carlo_M

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And yet this DVD is the same cut of the film as the previous one, right?

Kind of a bummer, since when I watched it, I got the feeling that a lot was cut out. DVD is the perfect medium with which to revisit this film, but maybe Leder didn't want to (or the studio didn't think it financially feasible).

Well I did enjoy it, and at the low price point (coupled with the fact that I didn't buy the previous DVD) I might just have to pick this up.

Too bad about it not being an extended cut, though, as I felt that some scenes felt rushed or incomplete (i.e. lacking context from a preceding or following scene which was cut).
 

Adam_ME

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My copy's already shipped, but I would like to verify that the WTC hasn't been digitally erased from this version. I heard they did that for the TV broadcast.

As far as deleted scenes, it's a shame they weren't included, but this is Paramount we're talking about here. It's rare that they offer cut footage from their films.
 

Mark Cappelletty

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Yeah, the cut is the same. I never got to see the expanded version, only read it. It's a long enough movie, which explains why they felt the need to trim it down a bit.
 

Scott Kimball

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The twin towers are present, as in the original cut of the film.

re: Deleted scenes:

Mimi Leder says, in the commentary, that the cuts made were her choice - some as a result of the test screening responses, and some as a result of her own decisions. She definitely feels that the existing theatrical cut plays better than her rough cut.

You have to remember that editing is an evolutionary process, and few films are better in their rough cut form. A script that reads well on paper can have lousy pacing when played out on screen.

I definitely would have like to have had deleted scenes available on disc, but wouldn't care to have them restored to the film.

-Scott
 

Jason_V

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I'm so looking forward to this week it's not even funny. DI isn't a perfect or high class film. It's fun and no matter what, I cry every single time I watch the damn thing. I can't wait to see it on the new 50 inch TV...
 

TonyD

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ernest didnt say that this was a bad movie, although he may think it is.
it didnt come across as a thread crap to me.
he offered an opinion on the movie.

granted, it wasnt as detailed as per usual for him.

i likked the movie when i saw it at the movies and have been waiting for a decent version on dvd.

i remember not liking Armageddon and telling people DI was a better film.

i also cried during DI, but since i havent seen it since the movies, i cant remember why.
 

Andrew Bunk

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Dang. I wonder if I can weasel a credit out of DVDEmpire. They also has the wrong release date originally, so I'm thinking they didn't get the update in August.
 

Harold Wazzu

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Oct 1, 2003
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I bought the first version from Walmart about 4 months ago for $8.88 and thinks it's sufficient. A DTS track for this newest version would have swayed me to buy it but I will be keeping my older version.
 

ZackR

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Jan 27, 2003
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My Best Buy has a ton of these mixed in with the original release for $9.99. Picked it up. I enjoyed it well enough when it was released theatrically, and I think it is worth what I paid for it. Then again, it came out my Sr. year of high school, and I liked it then, so that probably has something to do with it. :)
 

Ernest Rister

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I didn't think the film lived up to its potential, but then, what movie about global extinction does?

I give credit to the film for raising some fascinating issues, but like so many films of this kind (When Worlds Collide, Meteor, Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow), in the end, these issues take a back seat to action spectacle. I think Deep impact is awkward and conflicted - one the one hand, it shares elements with its 50's genre brethern, with set pieces so preposterous they make any sort of criticism of "unrealism" completely moot. In the meanwhile, the film struggles valiantly to paint a realistic scenario of what might happen on Earth if nations had prior knowledge of the end of history. The two don't mesh. Both undercut each other. One the one hand, you have unconvincing scenes of spacecraft landing on a comet with the goal of blowing it up...on the other, the film reaches toward realism in the dealings on terra firma. It doesn't work. The one inescapably informs on the other, cancelling out both.

That's not to say the movie doesn't contain some breathtaking moments...I'll probably never forget the huge drawback of the Atlantic ocean in preparation for the tsunami that consumes Manhattan. But then again, I also won't forget the astronauts on wires who go flying off the Comet Set when practical f/x crew fire off some steam jets to replicate the effects of solar radiation striking a ball of ice and minerals.

Not a great movie. An interesting movie, but in the end, neither fish nor fowl. A passing diversion in the cinematic universe.
 

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