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About Us

The first of 1998’s two big “giant space rock” movies to be released was Deep Impact, a touchy-feely disaster flick that has a great cast but that becomes more and more irritating as it goes along. Armageddon may have been as stupid as a bag of hammers, but at least it knew it was dumb (I hope). I’m not sure what Deep Impact’s excuse is. The movie opens in Richmond, Virginia, when a brainy young student, Elijah Wood, discovers a comet while taking part in some kind of late-evening or earlymorning astrology club assignment. (Why any teenager would be doing any sort of schoolwork outside the hours between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. is beyond me.) This discovery is relayed to a pizza-scarfing astrologist, who realizes the severity of the situation and attempts to warn others.

He races out to his Jeep and speeds down a winding road as he tries to dial out on his cell phone. Perhaps he is calling to order another pizza for pickup, because I’m not sure why he’d really need to leave his post. I mean, it’s not as if the comet’s hitting tomorrow. Before he can order another pie, he’s hit by a truck and sent down a ravine, the car exploding as it flips. Maybe realizing that not much would be occurring in the next hour, the filmmakers tried to give us this explosion to keep us interested.

It’s a year later, and driven CNBC reporter Téa Leoni is following up on a story about the secretary of the treasury, who has resigned unexpectedly. Scene after scene follows as Leoni becomes embroiled in this story, not fully realizing that it has to do with a giant comet speeding toward Earth.

Unfortunately, the audience knows, and we have to sit through 20 minutes of investigation before the president, played by Morgan Freeman, must announce the news to America. A more apt description of Freeman’s role would be that of a narrator who pops up every so often to fill the audience in on what is happening. He tells the public that he has also informed all of the scientifically backward nations of the world (who apparently would have no way of figuring this out for themselves) that a giant comet will hit the world within one year. Many scenes involving Leoni and her divorced parents, played by Maximilian Schell and Vanessa Redgrave, follow. Still unable to get over the breakup of their marriage, Leoni goes to meet each of them separately. She is particularly incensed by Schell, who is remarried to a woman only two years older than she is. The arguments between Leoni and Schell go on throughout the whole movie, until the audience wants to literally slap Leoni and tell her to get over it already! Back in Virginia, Elijah Wood, teenage astronomer, has become a full-blown celebrity, and he is told by one of his peers at an assembly that “famous people always get sex.” Yeah, and high school students who are famous for discovering imminent

D I SASTE R M O V I E S
disaster-inducing, Earth-destroying comets would likely get their asses kicked by students, too. Probably most disastrous for the lusting Wood is that the whole sex prophecy does not turn out to be true. The Messiah (there are a lot of biblical references here), a shuttle sent to drill a hole into the comet and set off nuclear devices, is introduced. The shuttle astronauts are for the most part arrogant and unlikable, except for Robert Duvall, who is continually shunned by the others. In fact, I was left thinking that maybe these people deserve to be hit by a comet. Naturally, there are problems during the drilling mission, and one of the astronauts is shot into the atmosphere by explosive gases, while another is blinded. The charges are detonated, but they have no effect; they just break the comet into two pieces, one small and one large. President Freeman informs us that a “Noah’s Ark” of sorts has been dug; it’s a cave deep under the ground in Missouri.

He announces that a random draw will determine which citizens will be allowed inside, and that those selected will be telephoned immediately. The fact that most of the people seem to be away from home and watching the broadcast in large, public places mustn’t have dawned on Freeman. The president declares martial law, then tells the public “I believe in God” before offering an on-air prayer for survival (something that I, for one, wouldn’t want to see my world leader do). Naturally, the brainy Wood and his family are chosen to go, but his neighbors and dream-girl Leelee Sobieski are not. Wood proposes to Sobieski and the two are married, which allows her family to come along. The whole marriage between the two kids is supposed to be sweet, but it really doesn’t comes off as much more than a horny kid doing anything to “get some.” Leoni then learns that her mother has killed herself, and she decides to sit on a park bench in the middle of a rain shower. Her father drives by, finds her, and reveals that his frightened bride has just left him to be with her mother. “How does it feel?” she snaps back at him. “I feel like an orphan!” At this point, I wanted the father to hit the gas and run the daughter down, but sadly, this didn’t occur. Up in space, the crew members decide to sacrifice themselves and take out the larger of the two pieces of comet. But, of course, not before each astronaut is given the chance for an extended and tearful farewell with their families. The astronauts have really strange, borderline-creepy things to say to their loved ones, like “I’ll be haunting you.” Finally, the comet hits the ocean and forms a 100-foot digital tidal wave, which sweeps through Manhattan, submerging it. The effects, which can only be described.
About Us About Us Reviewed by Kavei phkorlann on 10:37:00 AM Rating: 5

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