Deep Impact (1998)

Every now and then competing studios find themselves making and releasing the same sort of product around the same time. In 1998, Touchstone Pictures (Disney) and Paramount went head-to-head with asteroid disaster ensembles. While Michael Bay’s Armageddon clearly trounced Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact at the box office, almost doubling its final take, I’ve always had a soft spot for her film as it’s, in my opinion, a more relatable, character-based story.

"Leder’s deft handling of humanity and spectacle makes for a riveting couple of hours"

You get  a disaster movie ensemble cast thrown into a dilly of a pickle when it’s discovered and Extinction Level Event in the guise of a massive meteor is on the horizon for planet Earth. Ambitious young journalist, Jenny Learner (Tea Leone), is the one to reveal to the world what is coming, after meeting with President Morgan Freeman (awesome!). There are many disparate and engaging characters from all walks of life to narratively keep us engaged as the world faces the end, from Frodo (Elijah Wood) and his young love (Lee Lee Sobieski) to an aging astronaut (Robert Duvall), not deemed relevant by his younger team as they try to save humanity. From Jenny’s mother (Vanessa Redgrave), a woman over the age deemed prudent to save, to another young family not chosen to be saved.Deep Impact (1998)

Leder’s deft handling of humanity and spectacle makes for a riveting couple of hours. Thematically it doesn’t shy away from the personal and existential realities of such a predicament, focusing closely on the characters’ lives. While touched on in speeches and news reels, the larger scale of societies collapsing is sacrificed to keep things personal. I think this takes the film down a peg, but it’s a valid choice that keeps your focus on the characters themselves.

The films effects are from the burgeoning CGI of the nineties that wowed us back in the day but show their vintage now. This is not to say the suspension of disbelief doesn’t work—it absolutely does—but there are signs, especially at this resolution where you see the limitations.

Leder’s direction is superb, delivering emotion and action with equal skill. Armageddon is absolutely a fun movie to watch, full of hyperbolic heroics and humour, but Deep Impact is a wholly more satisfying journey through this planetary quandary, one which I always enjoy revisiting.

3/5 stars


Deep Impact (1998)

4k details divider

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- May 2, 2023
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English; English SDH; French; German; Japanese; Spanish
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; German: Dolby Digital 5.1; Japanese: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD;  Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K region free; blu-ray region free


This era of film is always going to show its warts in a ‘native’ scan. The live-action elements are from the original camera negatives, but the 90s era CGI is rendered at 2K at best. Having stipulated this, the film looks great! Filmic elements from the live action portions of the image are consistent, detailed and rendered beautifully in DOLBY Vision/HDR10+. Highlights are never overblown, enriching the original palette and shadows are, for the most part, cavernous and impenetrable. I say mostly, because our old friend from 1080p land, crush, rears its ugly head in a couple of shots. It may be simple a confluence of digital matting, the combination of Native 4K and upscaled 2K effects, but it was noticeable. This is still a much richer and significantly sharper transfer than the blu-ray. One can in vain wish for the companies to redo the effects to modern resolutions but it won’t happen. But that’s what it would take to make me score this print higher.


Paramount have decided not give this movie the DOLBY Atmos treatment. What a friggen shame! These disaster flicks are made for verbose, hyperbolic multi-channel mixes. What we do get is the same (though admittedly awesome!) DOLBY True 5.1 lossless mix from the previous blu-ray. It’s a basey, gorgeously detailed mix that still rocks the room. You are only starving for those overheads as a greedy sod in 2023. Great mix! Just wish it were updated.



  • Audio Commentary by director Mimi Leder and visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar

Special Features:

  • Preparing For The EndMaking An Impact
  • Creating The Perfect Traffic Jam
  • Parting Thoughts
  • Photo Gallery
  • Trailers

4k rating divider

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 2/5 stars

Composite 4K UHD Grade

3/5 stars

Film Details

Deep Impact (1998)

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
120 mins
: Mimi Leder
Bruce Joel Rubin; Michael Tolkin
Robert Duval; Téa Leoni; Elijah Wood
: Action | Thriller | Disaster
Oceans rise. Cities Fall, Hope Survives.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I know you're just a reporter, but you used to be a person, right?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 8, 1998
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 2, 2023.
Synopsis: What would you do if you knew that in a handful of days an enormous comet would collide with Earth and all humanity could be annihilated?


Deep Impact (1998)