A huge asteroid is discovered on a crash-course with Earth but, with a plan to send a small group of astronauts into space to blow it up, there is a chance for life to prevail. With the fate of the world in the balance, contingency plans are put in place; the worst case scenario will need those deemed important enough to survive. As not everyone can be saved, everyone’s lives suddenly become far more important than anyone had ever imagined them to be.

Deep Impact (1998) – Director: Mimi Leder

Is Deep Impact appropriate for kids

“Deep Impact poster” by Original paper poster. Via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Deep_Impact_poster.jpg#/media/File:Deep_Impact_poster.jpg

Rating: 12

Running Length: 120 mins

Starring: Elijah Wood, Téa Leoni, Robert Duvall

Genre: Science Fiction, Disaster

REVIEW

‘Deep Impact’ follows the lives of several different people and families facing the end of the world and the ups and downs that ensue when plans to save them succeed and fail. Although in possession of a similar plot to the more populist ‘Armageddon’ – which relied more on special effects and focused on the lives of those headed into space – Deep Impact is more concerned with the ordinary people whose survival relies upon others. This level of real drama is much harder hitting than its counter-part and, although this may not be to everyone’s taste, it definitely makes this huge blockbuster relatable and down-to-Earth (no pun intended!) as well as sometimes seemingly small-scale and a little claustrophobic. The oppressive sense of foreboding and vulnerability do the film credit.

The drama of the movie does occasionally become overlong, for instance the character of Jenny Lerner (played by Téa Leoni) is a little overdone and her angst over her parents’ divorce seems more suited to a much younger person. Also, the movie initially makes Leo Biederman (played by Elijah Wood) feel like the main character however, he soon takes a backseat to make way for Jenny Lerner even though he could be much more interesting with his hobby of amateur astronomy, his close friendship with schoolmate, Sarah, and his ever supportive family.

Overall, ‘Deep Impact’ is a believable disaster movie which rings the changes by bringing the drama to the ordinary people and, even though the astronauts get plenty of screen-time, they are an equal part to the impeding tragic situation that the world is in. Often seen as the weaker of the two ‘exploding-a-comet’ blockbusters, ‘Deep Impact’ brings a refreshing touch of normality to a genre which rarely focuses on the small but important details of life.

IS ‘DEEP IMPACT’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

Towards the beginning of the movie, a man drives a car along a treacherous stretch of road. He is distracted and constantly looks away from the road. Driving along the same road on the other side is a truck driver who also becomes distracted and the two vehicles collide, resulting in one falling off the edge of a cliff and bursting into flames.

A teenage boy speaks to another who has recently become famous and says ‘you’re gonna have sex more now than anyone else in your class…it’s the main reason it’s good to be famous’.

A character is badly hurt and receives serious facial injuries which blind them. They cry out in pain when it first happens and afterwards often has bandages covering their eyes. In an emotionally charged scene, this character is unable to see their baby son at a crucial time. One of the astronauts gets blown out into space and the others are unable to rescue him; he is therefore left to eventually die with no hope of survival. However, once the character has left the shot we do not see his point of view any longer so what happens to him is inferable from the knowledge of what happens to someone cast out into space, rather than something which is directly shown.

One character realises that they will not survive the coming devastation and commits suicide. This is done sensitively and rather ambiguously, however when one of their loved ones finds out, they are devastated and their grief could be quite upsetting for some kids.

Two teenage friends decide to get married as this is the only way that they and their families will survive. The female character is reluctant but agrees for the sake of her family, the male character cares deeply for her and does not force her to do anything she is uncomfortable with. There is no indication of a physical relationship between these characters.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘Deep Impact’ has a wonderful balance between exciting action (which is essential in all disaster movies) and the drama that unfolds when humanity faces such dire circumstances. With so many characters, all in different situations, the drama rarely becomes boring or too drawn out so the juxtaposition of the two genres works well. Due to a lot of death on both small and large-scale, we feel this movie is more appropriate for kids aged 10 and over.

  • Violence: 2/5
  • Emotional Distress: 4/5 (several established characters are killed and the grief of their loved ones is shown. One scene involving the astronauts is particularly upsetting)
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (it is often unclear whether humanity will survive and, if it does, who will live and who will die)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5       
  • Bad Language: 3/5 (relatively frequent mild to moderate cursing and blasphemy. One strong curse word is used as well as a few strong uses of blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (as might be expected in any disaster movie, there is a lot of dialogue surrounding death and destruction although this does not become graphic)  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of the end of humanity, survivalism, making personal sacrifices for the greater good, accepting death and the hope that comes when facing the end.

Words by Laura Record

Deep Impact [Blu-ray]


New From: £6.97 GBP In Stock

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