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For a movie about the end of the world, DEEP IMPACT ($30) doesn't surrender to the preconceived notion that such a film would have to be action oriented and special effects driven. Instead, the plot of DEEP IMPACT is propelled forward by its character’s very human reactions to the forthcoming apocalypse. DEEP IMPACT relies on an impressive ensemble cast and utilizes a number of intertwining stories to tell the tale of a comet on a collision course with the Earth.

The cast of DEEP IMPACT features Téa Leoni as Jenny Lerner, an eager news journalist looking for her big break. Jenny's chance comes while she’s digging into a potential political scandal that turns out to be the biggest story of all time. Morgan Freeman portrays President Beck, the man with the awesome responsibility of announcing to the world that it may just end. Robert Duvall plays Spurgeon "Fish" Tanner; the veteran astronaut assigned to a space mission that will hopefully prevent the comet from hitting the Earth. Finally, there is Elijah Wood as Leo Biederman, the young amateur astronomer who initially discovers the comet. Thanks to his discovery, Leo and his family have been selected for a special program in which one million people will be relocated to a special underground shelter, should the space mission to eliminate the comet fail. The cast of DEEP IMPACT also features Vanessa Redgrave, Leelee Sobieski, Maximilian Schell, James Cromwell, Ron Eldard, Mary McCormack, Blair Underwood, Jon Favreau, Dougray Scott, Laura Innes, Bruce Weitz, and Denise Crosby.

Paramount Home Video presents DEEP IMPACT on DVD only in the Letterbox format. However, the Letterboxed presentation lacks the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. This is too bad since the special effects packed ending would have made perfect demonstration material for anyone with a newly acquired wide screen television. Still, even without the anamorphic enhancement, Paramount delivers an impressive looking DVD. DEEP IMPACT is presented with just about every bit of its 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio in tact. The Letterboxed transfer is crisp, well defined and offers superb contrast. Flesh tones appear quite natural, while other colors display solid saturation and not a hint of color noise or distortion. MPEG-2 artifacts are never really apparent on this well authored DVD that utilizes dual layered technology to minimize compression.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a spacious mix that offers a good deal of atmosphere to the film’s quite moments, while coming fully up to speed for the more intense special effects sequences. All of the discrete channels are actively utilized for the mix, with dialogue remaining a strong central presence. Bass reproduction is equally strong during the film's climatic moments. Matrixed Dolby Surround tracks are offered in English and French. English subtitles have also been encoded into the DVD. The simple interactive menus offer the standard scene and language selection features, plus access to two theatrical trailers.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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