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Fourteen-year-old Leo Beiderman (Elijah Wood) did not expect to make an earth-shattering discovery when he joined his high school astronomy club - he was more interested in his classmate Sarah Hotchner (Leelee Sobieski). But his telescopic photo leads to the discovery that a comet is on a fatal collision course with Earth. Ambitious TV reporter Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni) initially thinks she is on the trail of a sex scandal, but finds herself whisked away to a secret meeting with President Tom Beck (Morgan Freeman), who offers her the scoop of a lifetime - about E.L.E. - news of the impending catastrophe and a risky space mission intended to deflect the comet, commanded by former astronaut Spurgeon Tanner (Robert Duvall). But this is no foolproof mission, and everyone has to face the possibility of impending disaster.

Review by Louise Keller:
It has taken some years for Deep Impact to reach the DVD shelves, but a handful of bonus features have been added for its Special Edition DVD release.

This is a disaster movie with not only all the bangs and whistles we expect from the genre, but it also delivers plenty of heart. Spectacular and enthralling entertainment with digital sound that makes home entertainment systems sing, Michael Tolkin and Bruce Joel Rubin's accessible script carefully balances the human element, making the amazing special effects integral to the story, and not the entirety of it. They cleverly overcome the quandary of balancing total destruction with saving humanity while still utilising great effects.

The effects are awesome, while Mimi Leder's direction is well-paced, always honing in on the human elements. Superb sound and technical effects are enhanced by James Horner's thrilling and strident score, magnifying the tension and allowing our anticipation to simmer.

Morgan Freeman is an authoritative US president, bringing integrity, style and presence to the role; Robert Duvall is complex and understated as the astronaut who shows that experience counts; Vanessa Redgrave, always stylish, as is Maximillian Schell. The weakest of the subplots is between the young teens, which no doubt is included for demographic purposes. Deep Impact hits the bull's eye for sci-fi action thrills and the sheer power of an engrossing adventure that marries plausible ideas with a jump into the beyond.

Special features reviewed by Craig Miller:
What's so special about the special features on the Deep Impact Special Edition? Nothing! The term is thrown about a lot in DVD circles and 8 out of 10 times it has no bearing on the actual release, and this one's no exception.

Basically, there's the commentary, a couple of featurettes and some photos. I know, exciting isn't it!

The commentary from Mimi Leder is a reasonably personable affair, recorded five years after the film's release, and features comments from special effects supervisor Scott Farrar. It does offer listeners some interesting hindsight comments about what Leder would have liked to have done with different aspects of the film, but generally this is your typical commentary fare and suffers from regular silences and touches of Hollywood ego-stroking.

Plus, there's a series of four featurettes which is just the footage from a thirty-minute making of feature cut up and re-packaged under other names. These featurettes do cover a lot of ground, but it's superficial and not too interesting as far as behind-the-scenes insights go.

Published: August 26, 2004

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(US, 1998)

CAST: Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Morgan Freeman, Leelee Sobieski, Ron Eldard, Jon Favreau, James Cromwell

DIRECTOR: Mimi Leder

SCRIPT: Bruce Joel Rubin & Michael Tolkin

RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes

PRESENTATION: 2.45:1 widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with director Mimi Leder & visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar, Preparing for the End featurette, Making an Impact featurette, Creating the Perfect Traffic Jam featurette, Parting Thoughts featurette, Photo Gallery.


DVD RELEASE: August 18, 2004

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