I remember the summer of the duelling asteroid movies, 1998. There was Michael Bay’s Armageddon and Mimi Leder’s, with Steven Spielberg in her corner, Deep Impact from Paramount Pictures.
Deep Impact opened first in May, with Armageddon following up in July, which completely ended up overshadowing Impact, which is unfortunate, because of the two films, Deep Impact is arguably the stronger, the one based a little more on science, and definitely has more emotional and narrative arcs.
The all-new 4K release from Paramount features an all-star cast ranging from Tea Leoni to Morgan Freeman, Elijah Wood to Robert Duvall, Leelee Sobieski to Mary McCormack, James Cromwell to Jon Favreau, Blair Underwood to Richard Schiff, Vanessa Redgrave to Maximilian Schell the film is packed with recognizable faces all lending their talents to the tale.
When a reporter, Jenny Lerner (Leoni) thinks she’s stumbled onto a big story by discovering a name that could be the name of a mistress to a high-ranking political office she gets read into the truth of the situation and learns that an extinction-level event is headed to Earth.
As the news is revealed to the world at large we are invited into the lives of the everyday people who are struck with the news of their imminent demise, the work of a select crew of astronauts working on the asteroid racing towards the planet, and those in power trying to hold some semblance of the world together.
The destruction and devastation will be massive, and it plays out in the film, now gloriously upgraded to 4K giving it the sharpest image it’s ever had, and also includes a fantastic audio remastering.
That being said, it also shows that some of the visual effects were still evolving at the time, but for the time, and even now, a lot of them are surprisingly solid. There is a nice blend of physical and visual effects and a lot of pioneering computer work on water and waves.
This 25th-anniversary edition doesn’t boast any new extras, though you could argue the picture and sound are enough to warrant the addition to your collection. They have imported all the legacy extras from the previous blu-ray release to this one.
They include a commentary by director Mimi Leder and visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar, as well as four featurettes that take a look at behind-the-scenes action from the genesis of the story (Spielberg was interested in a modern take on When Worlds Collide), to some of the special effects and set design, working on a massive traffic jam set, and some additional material and mini-interviews. Also included is a photo gallery, and my favourite, the original trailers (I do love a good trailer).
This over-looked film is now getting a breath of new life thanks to a 4K upgrade, and it’s definitely time to take another look at this one and realize, oh yeah, it’s better than Armageddon.
Deep Impact is available on 4K from Paramount Canada now!