Today’s Prayer Focus

Deep Impact

MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for intense disaster related elements and brief language.

Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble

Moral Rating: Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: • Teens • Young-Adults • Adults
Genre: Disaster Action
Length: 1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release: 1998
USA Release:
Copyright, Paramount Picturesclick photos to ENLARGE
Featuring Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni (Tea Leoni), Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell, Morgan Freeman, Leelee Sobieski, James Cromwell
Director Mimi Leder
Distributor: Dreamworks. Trademark logo.
DreamWorks Pictures
, aka DreamWorks Studios, a production label of Amblin Partners

What would you do if you knew that the world was coming to an end? Would you get married? Would you try to redeem the last few hours that you had by making amends for all the wrongs that you have committed? Would you try to run for the hills and hope you will survive? Or would you consider suicide? Perhaps you would gather your family together to share your last moments on Earth together; telling each other how much you really love them and wish things were different. These are just some of the questions that Mimi Leder, the director, tries to elucidate in this movie. While “Deep Impact” does not try to tell you which is the best choice, it does allow the viewer to see the various ways mankind would react in a similar situation.

Could this scenario really unfold? According to NASA, in a 1992 report known as the Space Guard Study, “Impacts by Earth-approaching asteroids and comets” (of this magnitude) are a real possibility; although they are unlikely to do so anytime soon. However, they did launch a satellite, in 1996, to meet up with an asteroid, by the name of EROS, in a project known as NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous). “Deep Impact” vividly shows us what could happen if such an event transpired.

Leo Biderman, (Elijah Wood, “The Adventures of Huck Finn”), a young 14 year old amateur astronomer, discovers the comet while on a high-school outing with his local astronomy club. Having photographed this spectacle, he sends it to the Adrian Peak Observatory where they determine that it is on a collision course with Earth. A year later, Jenny Lerner (Téa Leoni, “Bad Boys”), an ambitious MSNBC reporter, uncovers a top-secret governmental program known as E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event). Her discovery results in the President of the United States (Morgan Freeman, “Amistad”) telling the world about the impending doom; and the government’s plan, with the aid of Russia, to send an experimental spacecraft (known as the “Messiah”) towards the comet and eradicate it with nuclear bombs that the astronauts will plant within its surface. He also announces that an underground cave, known as “Noah’s Ark,” has been made to house 200,000 scientists, artists and doctors; as well as 800,000 citizens should the contingency plan fail. He then initializes a lottery system to determine who lives, and quite possibly, who doesn't.

The rest of the movie revolves around the people and how they deal with the realization that they may soon die. I will not reveal anything more about the movie, since that would take away from the suspense; and quite possibly ruin the movie for you. “Deep Impact” contains several swear words and has one high-school boy telling Leo that because he is famous for discovering the comet, he is going to have lots of sex. Furthermore, one of the astronauts is heard telling his unborn baby that when he enters the Earth’s atmosphere to immediately proceed up the exterior of the mother ship (i.e. Go directly to your mother’s breasts). “Deep Impact” does contain some spectacular effects; but please consider the frightening impact it will have on your children before you consider taking them to see it!

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
…I was surprised to see former Flight Director and NASA-JSC Director Gerald Griffin right there in his normal spot in the Mission Control Center. It turns out he was a key technical advisor. It looks like he could have written NASA’s script, for NASA does their job in the fine style we are accustomed to. Like “Apollo 13,” I was deeply moved and pleased at how the NASA equivalent of that time was depicted.

Although they used the Shuttle, the other technology depicted in the “Messiah Spacecraft” seems to be 40 years or more in the future. The mission commander was depicted as a former Apollo astronaut that looked a bit like Apollo 10 astronaut Tom Stafford, and really showed “The Right Stuff.” He had a capable crew a generation younger.

I really liked the unselfish, self-sacrificing spirit of at least 3 major actors. The disaster scenes were well-done, without showing the gore of people being torn apart by the tidal wave that engulfed the east coast. The show was produced by Speilberg, and as such, had virtually all spiritual content sucked out of it: The President made only one short “nod-to-God” and apologized to the American people whom he assumed were mostly atheists. [Later], the president gave no thanks to God or recognition of His mercy. (What a change in the last generation!) Overall, however, I recommend the movie!
Tom Henderson, NASA
Sort of in response to Tom Henderson of NASA. I think that Steven Spielberg did a tremendous job of integrating many social and ethical issues of the people of the United States in “Deep Impact.”

Once again he has directed a movie which has deeply rooted religious overtones, many of which point directly at old testament writings. As with his films such as the “Indiana Jones” trilogy, “E.T.,” “Goonies,” “Batteries Not Included,” “Jurassic Park,” “Casper,” “Twister,” “Schindler’s List” and many others, “Deep Impact” brings the faith life onto the big screen. That is something that no other Hollywood director is willing to try.

I applaud Spielberg’s use of faith in “Deep Impact”—in his use of direct associations with the Bible, as was the case with the Ark and the “Messiah,” and also several other divine associations that were made throughout the movie, which will be studied and restudied in religion courses in colleges, undoubtedly, for years to come.

If you think about it, you’ll might figure out why the script was written the way it was written… not to over emphasize the God relationship, but, at the same time, to make people think.
Graham Hogg, age 19
…to me, the most noticeable BAD thing about this film is the sloppy science. I’m a very amateur astronomer, but I was distracted by the writers’ disregard for accuracy. The initial position of the comet in the sky is way off from its computer-projected path; its naked-eye brightness two years before impact wouldn’t allow it to still be a secret a year later, when it would be much brighter; the two fragments are close together, yet both will hit Earth 3 hours apart (during which time the Earth would have moved 200,000 miles); the angle of entry of the first fragment and its going across the U.S. from west to east at 4:30 PM also doesn’t match the comet orbit.

Then there’s the error, common to many sci-fi films, of using sound effects in deep space (where there’s no atmosphere, there’s no sound). Hey, I know it’s just a movie. But if they have the gall to throw in Evolutionary propaganda, as though it were fact, someone should point out that that’s just one occurrence of bad science among many others.

The most noticeable GOOD thing is the self-sacrifice shown by Téa Leoni’s character, Elijah Wood’s character, the Astronauts, and others. I believe that we all admire this trait and therefore love to see it in films; that being true, I wish that people understood the self-sacrifice of Jesus more clearly. My Ratings: [3/4]
Brett Willis, age 49
I have long had an interest in how different people would react to the end of the world. This film seemed a perfect opportunity to view such an interest, but what I saw was a totally hopeless, unemotional let down. There’s a lot of crying and hugging and pained expressions, but any actual depth was hardly there. The characters were totally dull (apart from Morgan Freeman’s excellent President) and the film raised several issues, like bringing up God, but didn’t go on with them—where were the scenes of people suddenly running to church, as they surely would do in such a situation? Knowing Hollywood, they would have, most likely, handled the church topic hopelessly, but they didn’t even try.

The tidal wave at the end was awesome, but it was a case of too little, too late. I don’t know if it’s just me, but with my own personal heartbreak I’ve had recently, I’m in a state where this film should have had me in a pool of tears. The scene with the girl running after the bus taking her young husband should have been heart wrenching, but it hardly registered.

The later scene of the girl having her final goodbye to her parents was a bit better, and that was about as close as the film got to succeeding with what it was trying to do. But, overall, the film didn’t move me in the slightest. It is boring, and it is empty. It just doesn’t bring out the deep, agonizing pain that comes with losing loved ones like it should have done.
Keith Bennett, age 29
My husband and I viewed the movie first and then decided to allow our 12 year old daughter to see it. The only disappointment we had was the fact the Lord’s name was used in vain a few times. That is almost inevitable these days unfortunately. However, overall I feel as though this movie can serve as a witness to the lost. I recommend that every unsaved person view it. It will make them come to grips with where they will spend eternity.
Nancy, age 32
Although my husband and I loved Deep Impact for its overall moral theme. Just wanted to let some of you know that although the profanity was kept to a minimum, they took our Lord’s name in vain a total of 7 times. Why do they never say Budda bleepbleepbleep or Mohammedbleepbleepbleep? It was still a great movie but we took 3 teenage boys to it and that was what they noticed.
The movie did seem a bit long… especially considering if extended length was for “Character Development”—I felt all of the characters were poorly done, except for the President (which is due more to his acting ability than the script). The “love story” seemed almost an afterthought, and fairly unrealistic. And what plot purpose did the astronomer dying in a car crash at the beginning serve? A lot of holes in the movie…

As for the Christian aspect, I wouldn’t mind my youth group seeing it… it’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but I didn’t find it offensive. The President offering a prayer for the nation (kind of) was very welcome… I’d rather have that President than the one we have now.

In addition, I didn’t think the movie tried to say that we could survive or prevent the true Apocalypse. It was just another natural disaster (albeit much more destructive) And who found the “proceed up the exterior of the mother ship” comment offensive? Isn’t that what babies are *supposed* to do? Just picking nits, I suppose.
Lane, age 25
I thought “Deep Impact” was an overall good film. Not great. Just good. I did find it interesting that while no clear strong spiritual aspect was shown, the ship “Messiah” sacrificed itself, to “save” the Earth. I also find it interesting that America now has two Earth-ending catastrophe movies involving asteroid/comets. Why? Revelation 8:8.

One major deception the movie gives us is the rosy picture of human nature shown in most of the “extras”. If this type of situation were about to occur, you can bet that martial law or no martial law, people would be looking out for themselves, and those who owned guns would be using them. Instead, D.I. shows people merely shaking their fists and taunting the military and those chosen to live in the “ark”. these flaws aside, I liked the film.
Doug Allord, age 25
I want to state first that I enjoyed this movie. There are so few movies that one can go to see that does not contain gratuitous sex or violence. And profanity was kept at a minimum. It was a good disaster movie. I appreciated that the spaceship bearing the astronaut heroes was named the Messiah. And I loved the scene in which Morgan Freeman, as the President of the United States, prays to God for the nation.

Still, something seemed out of sync. When the world discovered that was faced with the impending extinction of humankind… well, everyone sure was pretty laid back. I credit that to the director, who perhaps chose to not develop the storyline that people would behave immorally or amorally if faced with their certain demise. But that seems like wishful thinking.

As a Christian, I am prepared to meet my Master of the day He calls me home. I look forward to it and have great peace knowing that one day we will see Him in His glory and live on high with Him. That is my hope as a believer. But there are many who do not have this hope. And I wondered during the movie, why people weren’t doing more to try and save themselves.

Things like migrating out of the areas that could be the at the center of the impact. For instance, it was projected that the comet would cause a large tidal wave that would destroy much of the East Coast. You would think that the folks there would head for higher ground. But they don’t, at least not until “Comet” Day. I kept thinking that those East Coast areas should have been like ghost towns… abandoned. Folks had months to prepare. But they did very little for themselves, until the day of the comet.

Of course, a massive traffic jam occurred as everyone got the idea at the same time to evacuate to higher ground. And folks just kind of sat in their cars are though they were waiting for the traffic to break up… I kept wondering why more weren’t abandoning their hopelessly blocked in cars and walking to get away, or better yet, running!!
Harriet Jackson
What was most interesting to me during the showing of this movie, was the quietness of the people in the theater. It was very somber and there was a hush throughout the theater. Maybe people were thinking about what they would do in the same circumstances… spend time with loved ones, right a long ago forgotten wrong, be in prayerful communion with the God of their understanding, or head for the hills.
Harriet, age 45
Upon watching the movie, and reading the reviews presented here, I have to say that the movie is phenomenal. It does not assume that this comet was the end of the world, as the Bible mentions in Revelations that the angels and horsemen and the like will come out and present this “end.” Therefore, I do not believe that the producers were trying to present a “Biblical” end of the world, that humanity manages to thwart, due to our freewill.

This was simply: A movie. Not to be looked into so much as trying to read it for the Bible. To be watched, enjoyed, or not. Myself, I enjoyed this movie a great deal.

The audience is not forced to sit through a thousand prayers for God’s “mercy,” but is instead left to imagine what everyone is doing. If you knew a comet was coming to destroy the Earth, what would you do? That is left up to the imagination. It is not answered there before us. Makes you think.

Also, the President did not thank God for his mercy in the end of the movie. Thank God. Why does he have to be glaringly Christian? Can he let the population of the American “freedom of religion” to itself? Can he silently thank the Lord himself? Yes…
Nathan C. Rahn
I agree with the great reviews that I’ve read here in this forum. I do not agree with reviews from other places. One such review said that the movie was too long, but the movie had to be long to develop the characters so that we would actually care about what happens to them. It seems some reviewers are extremely hard to please. I’ve heard the same reviewers say that “Tarzan and the Lost City” did not develop the characters, and yet, “Deep Impact” was too long?

Is there some magical length to developing characters? This was a great disaster movie. Well thought-out and well acted with tremendous special effects. I got the feeling though that I was watching bits of other movies: When Worlds Collide (two planets coming together, and a lottery is held with exceptions made for last minute-minute marriages; a “Star Trek” episode in which a planet had to be landed (beamed) on and the navigation changed to avert a similar disaster; and a “Star Trek” episode in which the ship was going to fire upon the asteroid that was approaching a planet, and Spock remarked that the asteroid would still have the same mass and still hit the same planet.

Was he right, or did “Deep Impact” pulverize the comet enough to make the remaining mass negligible? Still, a great movie, and it was not too long.
Jerome Bush, age 46
I don’t want to be guilty of reading into movies or over spiritualizing them, however I think as a Christian, one learns to see a lesson anywhere a lesson might be seen—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With that said, I thought “Deep Impact” was a pretty decent movie, with certain spiritual overtones.

For example, the spacecraft sent to save Earth was called the Messiah. When the Messiah initially failed to destroy the comet, the president (played by Morgan Freeman) said “the Messiah has failed in its mission.” But later, in an act of self sacrifice, the crew of the Messiah managed to save the planet from the most devastating effects of the comet. However, Earth was still impacted, just to a much lessor degree.

In much the same way, Christ was thought to have failed, but as we know, he won the decisive eternal victory, but we will still suffer the fall-out of our sin in this life. Overall, I enjoyed this movie.
Joe W, age 30
You’re in a foxhole in a foreign land; you are under hostility unto death. Would you consider acknowledging God, and possibly having an inkling of faith under such duress? There is a comet about to kick up some nasty death and destruction worldwide. You will probably not survive… more duress… But make it a cinema release and just forget about any spiritual innuendo.

Hey, this is a movie about human pathos under severest of conditions. Spiritually dead it is. Never mind the metaphors, and the parallels. “Deep Impact” is not a realistic portrayal of the fears and hopes of real people. It is physical, and it is soulful, but it has no spirit. I give it a 5 out of ten.
At risk of sounding like an incorrigible nea sayer, I must point out I used this movie to instruct my son that not everyone who indicates they’re a Christian, is a Christian. When the president indicated he believed in God, it took me a while to realize, “So what?” Muslims believe in god, Hindus believe in god(s), Buddhists… Guess what!?! So does Satan!! So do a majority of Americans. But is HE relevant in their lives? Do they care how HE wants them to worship HIM. This is just Satan’s spiritual tactic to shore up the myth that it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe in something (and that something is not the Gospel).

The special effects were excellent, the character development was good and my family was entertained. But this movie was no more spiritual in the positive sense than any of the other tripe from Hollywood.
I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I was pleased to see the President of the United States stating that he believes in God and wishing that God would be with each person. I liked the overall feel of the movie. They didn’t make any person or group out to be idiots, like so many movies do these days. They showed what I pray that the nation would be like if an event like this were to occur: very little looting and violence; people sacrificing for children; very little jealousy, anger or rage.

Even the scenes with the armed forces holding people back were fairly calm. It was very refreshing to see. I look forward to seeing other films from Mimi Leder.
Patti Sue Inhofer, age 37
Overall, the movie was decent. The acting was quite good and the special effects were unsurpassing. The movie, though, was a bit rushed where one scene is at a certain time and the next scene is eleven months later. As an audience, it was difficult to follow along with the time line of the movie. It, basically, jumped too much.

Biblically, I felt there were a few interesting allusions. Aside from the obvious “Ark” and “Messiah”, I found one that may or may not have been the producer’s main intention. One of the astronauts, the cocky pilot, was blinded and nearly burned by the intense sunlight hitting the comet. Later on, he and Robert Duvall’s character “Fish” were having a conversation, and he says that after the incident, he sees everything differently now. Finally, when the crew decides to nuke the bigger asteroid but wonders how they’re going to get out in time, he says,” We don’t.” He was willing to sacrifice his own life for the good of the billions that live on Earth.

This character reminds me of Saul of Tarsus. Saul was a cocky Pharisee and extreme persecutor of the church. On his way, he witnesses God’s Glory, which is brighter than sunlight, and he is blinded by it. Later, he converts his name to Paul and lives his life differently as a messenger for God trying to win souls for Christ. he was willing to be persecuted for the good of God’s kingdom. The parallels can be seen. Maybe I’m reading into it too much, but, nonetheless, I thought it was kind of interesting.
Peter, age 19
Though this movie was well-made and easily kept your attention, it had one glaring flaw that sincere Christians should take note. Yes, this was a fiction movie, and it was full of warm-hearted sentiments; however, Hollywood, yet again, manages to mock God in a subtle, non-threatening way in the movie’s overall purpose. Let’s not forget that there is indeed an end coming to our world. This end, however, is completely within the plan of God, and it will not be thwarted by man’s self-will, which is, in fact, what this movie demonstrates. We cannot, nor will not, provide salvation for ourselves.
Dale, age 26
Aside from the anti-divorce sentiment (i.e., Téa Leoni’s parent’s separation), I found something very un-Christian about Deep Impact’s premise, because ONLY GOD KNOWS WHEN THE WORLD WILL END. As far as logistics go, it seemed like the Ark was only in the U.S., so unlike in “Independence Day,” what would have stopped people from fleeing away from martial law to Mexico or Canada? Which itself implied, this comet would only affect North America (an astronomic fluke)? And, doesn’t the President (Morgan Freeman) have a family, a life, or does he live in the Oval Office? I’ve never seen a President without a First Lady, at the very least.

I thought the PG-rated “Matinee” (1993), the satire of the Cuban missile crisis, did a much better job of what we’d all do if the world would end. There were more holes in this plot in than Swiss cheese. Just my 2 cents, thanks.
Brian, age 25
I am writing this to defend “Deep Impact.” Brian Aged 25 obviously wasn’t taking notice of the film. The asteriod was to affect the whole world and it was clearly stated and shown. There wasn’t a ploy to make the USA the centre of attention—it was just their point of view. The caves were constructed in many countries and was stated. The president only appeared when addressing the nation and therefore his first lady was irrelevant.

The only hole in the plot was the speed at which the tidal wave was shown. Nothing more. The references to religion had to be put in. Morgan Freeman made a good assumption of the population with respect to their religious beliefs. This film was good. The special effects were reasonable—the tidal wave didn’t look too good.

We try and read deep into a film and pick out what we want. The fact is that the film really had no relation to Speilberg—he was an executive producer—he didn’t write the screenplay or the story or direct. As for God’s decision to end the Earth, I believe it. However—those that say that this film shows Humans defying that decision is rubbish—what if this asteriod was not the one that would end the Earth? Maybe it was shown as a test. Who knows. God knows.
Khurram, age 19
I think if you were to take movies like “Men in Black” and “Independence Day” and strip some of the special effects away you would have to look hard to find a worthwhile story and plot. Not so with “Deep Impact”!

Take away some of the effects and you will find a story line with a strong healthy pulse. Granted Spiel berg is not Christian and so parts of the movie are questionable. I raised my eyebrows when the President began to pray. I squinted my eyebrown eyes when he ended the prayer. It was like a beautiful hymn that was going well until he hit a sour note, on purpose.

Family was encouraged sooooo much in this movie. I got to see it on Mother’s Day, and it made my day very special! I am encouraging all to see it!
Mary, age 42
I am a 52 year old who enjoys sitting on the edge on my seat! It was a bit slow for the first half of the movie, but just as I thought, “Ok, let’s get going!” IT DID! This movie had me squirming, I must say. The visual effects were great! I felt like what happened after the comet hit was exactly the way it would be. Good movie.
Wendie Richardson, age 52
My fiancee and I just returned from the theater after watching “Deep Impact.” We both wholeheartedly agree that it was one of the best “disaster” movies ever made. The acting was top-notch, the script was solid and the special FX were very well done. Unlike other movies in similar genres, “Deep Impact” really does an admirable job of capturing your attention, and involving you emotionally with the characters. You actually feel a sense of dread and heartache for these people, as they slowly come to the realization that the end of the world looms near.

I know that many will probably disagree with this next statement, but I honestly liked “Deep Impact” better than the movie “Titanic.” True, there are a few choice words scattered throughout, but I appreciated the absence of any nudity or overly suggestive sexual content. To be honest, I was amazed. Spielberg really scored some points with us for his seemingly conscious effort to present a blockbuster without the unnecessary sexual innuendos. I doubt that anyone will be nominated for an Academy Award for this picture, except maybe Robert Duvall who turns in his usual outstanding performance, but then again it could be a real sleeper hit of 98.

Finally, I was shocked and delighted to hear the prayer offered to all Americans, by the President. He even actually announced his devout belief in God on national television, which as we all know, is very politically incorrect in this day and age. Overall, I would wholeheartedly recommend “Deep Impact” for its gripping story and powerful presentation. An excellent film!
Michael Paul, age 26
I’m not sure if this was the producer’s intent—it may have been—but I saw a very vivid contrast drawn between the attitude of the high school student at the beginning of the movie (“famous people get more sex”) and the attitudes shown by the actual “famous” people throughout the remainder of the film: that of self-sacrifice, forgiveness, reconciliation, etc.

The teenagers sitting in front of me who laughed riotously at the former scene were still as statues—many with tears running down their cheeks—as some of the deeper issues of life were played out before them. I hope the message got through.
Tim Blaisdell
“Deep Impact” redeems itself by prompting people to think beyond superficial pursuits… you know, if my life (or the world) is going to end tomorrow, how should I be spending my time? What should my priorities be? What’s really important? There are characters who act selflessly for the sake of others.

On the down-side, the role of faith in God is nearly non-existant. One character (about to die) urges his wife to keep “doing that church-thing.” There was a non-sense reference about praying to God, “whoever you conceive him to be”… (if God is whatever we each conceive him to be, then he is nothing more than our own creation, not a real being. The notion is that if the idea of a god makes you feel better, then go ahead and make one up that appeals to you, and pray to him if you like).

Still, the movie was better the usual Hollywood pulp, in that it at least starts (barely) probing about the ultimates in life. There’s lots of suspense, and the special effects are entertaining.
Leo, age 49
Although “Deep Impact” is a modern day science fiction, I found it to be a very believable situation. The possible doom of the world was treated as a reality and not some far fetched imaginative flick. Once word gets out that there are asteriods on a collision course with Earth—the President proceeds to tell the people that the government knew of it awhile ago and has made preparations. I was impressed as the President spoke and said “I wish you luck” and stopped immediately and admitted that he should pray for the people, even though everyone didn’t believe in God.

There were 2 instances where God was referred to in the positive and 4 or so times the Lord’s name was used in vain. The content of the movie was good as far as useage of profane language, except for those times.

I found the movie to be very enjoyable and would recommend it; although not for little ones—too technical and the disaster might scare them. It kept me on the edge of my seat and even startled me a couple times! As a Christian, I would (and did) recommed this movie to other Christians!
Joyce Books
Comments from young people
Me and my friend went to see this movie together, overall I thought it was a really good movie! Although the beginning was a little bit slow, the last part kept you on the end of your seat! I didn’t like the part when the boy stood up in school and said famous people get more sex. This movie was also very sad, because a lot of innocent people died.
Amber, age 12
I agree with some of you. Yes, “Deep Impact” was a Christian movie, but very well sited. I’m not American, and that’s why I didn’t understand the comments about the prayer and the President. The President said that he was doing that because the situation asked for it, and this scene shows what a compassionate President would do if a disaster was about to happen. But I respect their opinion.

Oh… I was forgetting to say this: I agree with Michael Paul, “Deep Impact” is a much better film than “Titanic.” (Confession: I cried for the 45 last minutes of the film. This film is much more beautiful, touching, well done, and contains better acting than “Titanic.”)
Samuel Menezes, age 16