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Deep Impact VHS VHS Widescreen DVD

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This review contains spoilers.  If you don't want the movie ruined, don't read any further.

(A guest review by Rosy)

You'll howl at the laughable space sequences.  The final effects are pretty good (tidal waves) but where oh where are the science editors?  (Mighty's note:  I just read in Scientific American that Eugene Shoemaker and several other space professionals consulted on this movie.  Hard to believe.)

They mount a secret mission to the comet, building the largest space vessel ever IN SECRET (so as not to panic the proletariat).  It goes there to plant nuclear mines to hopefully deflect the comet.  Of course this must be done by hand, in person.   Too bad the comet rotates every few hours and the INSTANT the sun hits its surface the face of the comet EXPLODES, so they have to work very quickly.  Despite being astronauts the mining crew is totally unprepared for the sun to come up, and fail to lower their protective visors, and then forget to close their eyes, and oh yes, also forget to turn away as their retinas barbeque.  Anyway, Robert Duvall comes in to rescue them in the nick, though one dude gets blown off into space.  Despite intimate knowledge that these were NUCLEAR devices, our heros decide to stay well within the effective blast radius before detonating them, even though they were in absolutely no hurry by this point. All they accomplish is to calve the comet into two huge chunks instead of just one, and BOTH are still on a collision course with Earth even though such a blast would seem to be enough to at least nudge the comet a SMIDGEON off course (this being months before impact).

The small chunk causes the tidal waves, the big chunk is going to extinguish virtually all life on our little world a few hours later.  But Bob D. is still out there and flies the ship with its 5 remaining nukes into the heart of the comet just minutes before impact, and as we all know such a fantastic mass of debris is harmless if it's in small enough pieces!  So the world gets a pretty fireworks display and the world is saved (save for a few coastal cities).

The human drama is pretty good, the final sequence is nice.  But if they had just eliminated the ridiculous space stuff they would have saved a lot of money and could have spent it on interesting earthbound consequences.

Back to Mighty.  For a very readable description of a comet collision with earth, read Pournelle and Niven's Lucifer's Hammer.  After that, you'll realize just how awful the comet science is in this movie.

The "science" is embarressing, but the human drama is passable.  On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, this movie is a Cable with Popcorn and Drinks.

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