"So, when the rogue comet hit the asteroid belt, it sent shrapnel right for us. For the next 15 days, the Earth's in a shooting gallery. Even if the asteroid itself hits the water, it's still hitting land. It'll flash boil millions of gallons of sea water and slam into the ocean bedrock. Now if it's a Pacific Ocean impact, which we think it will be, it'll create a tidal wave 3 miles high, travelling at a thousand miles an hour, covering California, and washing up in Denver. Japan's gone, Australia's wiped out. Half the world's population will be incinerated by the heat blast, and the rest will freeze to death from nuclear winter."    - Dan Truman, head of NASA

release year: 1998
genre: sci-fi/action
viewing setting: home DVD, 11/29/16 and 2/8/15 and 4/23/11 and 9/14/09 and 2/25/06 and theater 7/3/98

synopsis: An asteroid is hurtling toward the Earth, and only 17 days remain to save it; a desperate plan is hatched, but of course things go wrong.

impressions: Well, everyone (including me) compared this to Deep Impact, which is fine. This one had more characters, more destruction, more action...and more character stupidity. Okay, here's a quiz: you're sitting on the asteroid running out of time, with things exploding all around you. Do you - or do you not - sit there and engage in a lengthy emotional personal conversation with your daughter on Earth? If you're in the shuttle, do you - or do you not - sit there and listen to said personal conversation, rather than firing up the engines? When every second counts, there are some things you just don't do; these include but are not limited to: argue, bicker, play ego games, have heart-to-heart conversations, play around with equipment that is necessary for the mission, fire machine guns in random directions (!) Aaaargh! This mission would have gone like clockwork, and no one would have died, if certain characters hadn't been SO STUPID! One other thing: no other country or resource, despite an abundance of them on the planet Earth, does anything to help the United States save the world. Is this odd...or is it ignorant on the part of the writers? Okay, that aside, this movie was definitely big-screen destruction-filled fun of a world-threatening scope.

things to watch for: The initial small meteor shower on New York.

something this movie has that no other movie has: The Chrysler Building's top breaking off and falling to the streets of New York.

acting: Bruce Willis is the senior driller whose team is trained and taken into space; he does a good job as a blue-collar main hero. Billy Bob Thornton is really good as the weary head of NASA. Ben Affleck is his overconfident and sometimes reckless main disciple who also happens to be dating his daughter...Liv Tyler, who brings a love story into all this. Steve Buscemi plays a genius-level driller who does stupid things at the worst possible times, and is very annoying.

final word: Worth seeing for large-scale action in space, but it has the plot holes necessary for such a story to remain entertaining.

back to the main review page