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4K Ultra HD Review: Deep Impact: 25th Anniversary

May 16, 2023

By John Corrado

In honour of its 25th anniversary this year, Paramount has released the 1998 summer blockbuster Deep Impact for the first time on 4K Ultra HD.

Directed by Mimi Leder, and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the film unfolds in the twelve months leading up to when a massive comet is expected to strike Earth, and offers a mix of full scale sci-fi spectacle, political intrigue, and multi-character drama.

While the film (which grossed nearly $350 million in the summer of ’98) was perhaps more popular with audiences than critics in its day, Deep Impact has held up due to its focus on characters reacting to the end of the world. This elevates the film beyond just empty spectacle, with a solid ensemble cast that helps ground it at key moments.

Téa Leoni stars as Jenny Lerner, a TV reporter who is tasked with reporting on this potential extinction level event. Robert Duvall is Captain Spurgeon Tanner, the veteran astronaut who is brought back to lead a covert American-Russian mission aboard the Messiah, a massive spaceship that is constructed to destroy the comet by planting nuclear bombs on its surface. Elijah Wood is Leo Beiderman, a young astronomer who first discovers the comet when peering up at the night sky. Finally, Morgan Freeman plays the President, who provides steady leadership in moments of crisis with his calmly reassuring speeches delivered in that resonant vocal tone.

The cast also includes Vanessa Redgrave, James Cromwell and Jon Favreau in supporting roles. While Deep Impact was released the same summer as Michael Bay’s similarly themed Armageddon, the film carves out enough of its own identity due to its focus on dramatic character moments between the giant set-pieces. Free from the self-awareness plaguing many modern blockbusters, Deep Impact instead has a proper sense of dread running through it that reminded me of the 1951 adaptation of The War of the Worlds.

This is a disaster movie that is allowed to build with suspense and moments of devastation, along with heart-on-sleeve emotion, while most importantly still being entertaining. The film is accompanied by an appropriately sweeping musical score by the late James Horner. The remastered 4K presentation (which includes Dolby Vision and HDR-10) offers a satisfying image, with decent black levels in the images of space, well-balanced skin tones in the closes ups on faces, and good clarity in the effects-heavy scenes.

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

There are no bonus features on the 4K disc, but the set comes bundled with a regular Blu-ray that includes several archival extras. The package ships with a standard slipcover.

Commentary by Director Mimi Leder and Visual Effects Supervisor Scott Farrar

Preparing for the End (8 minutes, 56 seconds)

Making An Impact (12 minutes, 8 seconds)

Creating the Perfect Traffic Jam (6 minutes, 14 seconds)

Parting Thoughts (4 minutes, 50 seconds)

Photo Gallery

Teaser Trailer (2 minutes, 6 seconds)

Theatrical Trailer (3 minutes, 42 seconds)

Deep Impact: 25th Anniversary is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. It’s 121 minutes and rated PG.

Street Date: May 2nd, 2023

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