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In DEEP IMPACT, Leo Beiderman Elijah Wood, joins a field study for his high school's Astronomy Club and discovers a new comet that unfortunately is headed for Earth. While scientists build a cave to prevent the extinction of the human race, they estimate that only 800,000 people can be selected to survive the "Deep Impact." The threat of a comet ending the world quickly sends Americans into a panic until the president announces a plan to send astronauts on a mission to destroy the comet before it reaches earth.
A great big rock hits the earth, and lots of people die. That's pretty much all there is to it, and most of that was in the trailer. Can a major Hollywood movie really squeak by with such a slender excuse for a premise? The old disaster-movie king, cheese-meister Irwin Allen The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake, would have made a kitsch classic out of this, with Charlton Heston, rather than a resigned and mumbly Robert Duvall, as the veteran astronaut who risks several lives trying to blow up the comet that's headed right this way! As stiffly directed by Mimi Leder, this thick slice of ham errs on the side of solemnity. It may the be most earnest end-of-the-world picture since Stanley Kramer's atomic-doom drama On the Beach. There are a couple of classic melodramatic flourishes: an estranged father and daughter who share a tearful reconciliation as a Godzilla-sized tidal wave looms on the horizon; and an astronaut, communicating on video with his loved ones back on Earth, who follows whispered instructions from a buddy lurking just off camera--so that his little boy won't realize that he's been struck blind. With Morgan Freeman as the president of the United States. --David Chute