Deep impact mountain tsunami wave comet explosion space meteors streak flood

Deep Impact (1998)

A story told from three personal perspectives: whiz-kid Leo Biederman discovers a comet, rising television-news star Jenny Lerner breaks the story of the comet, and astronaut Spurgeon Tanner attempts to destroy the comet. None of the characters are particularly interesting or do anything otherwise remarkable, but we follow them through this story nonetheless.

While out on a routine Astronomy Club stargaze, youngster Leo spots a bright point in the sky that doesn’t match up with any known celestial object. That bright point is a comet that puts the Earth on track to experience an Extinction Level Event.

The US Government maintains a monopoly on that information for over year, somehow, while it stockpiles food and supplies. The president announces the imminent impact and the plan to send a group of astronauts to explode the comet with nukes.

The mission launches. Jenny, having worked her way up to an anchor position, reports on the space mission. Spurgeon’s team nearly botches the mission, but successfully detonates the explosives; however, the bombs still fail to obliterate the comet. Following the failed mission, the global governments begin moving people to underground bunkers.

We end Act II with Leo fleeing the safety of the vault to find his high school crush, Jenny coming to terms with being an adult child of divorce, and Spurgeon hanging out on his disabled spaceship.

ACT III

Leo is on a truck headed for Sarah, Jenny is reporting on the Titan missiles, and Spurgeon is still stuck on the dead craft.

So Leo’s parents thought Leo was making the best decision by leaving the bunker to go look for a random girl he had a crush on?

Well, yeah, duh. #truelove

After talking about the anticipated effects of the first impact with such certainty, why does President Beck pause when giving estimates of how long plants/animals will survive the probable dust cloud?

In the short story this film is based on, President Brock is a life sciences and geology expert, having been elected for her significant efforts to curtail the world’s growing dependence on fossil fuels and denial of human-caused climate change. She gives this speech in the Oval Office off-the-cuff, so everything she says about the anticipated effects of collision are all based on her education and research.

All of those engineers and scientists who helped with The Messiah mission control stayed in Houston? The families of the astronauts, too?

They were all deemed non-essential personnel. The men and women responsible for the mission to send humans to space to stop the killer rock won’t be necessary in a post-apocalyptic earth.

Why didn’t Sarah’s parents go with them to climb the hill?

They had to keep an eye on the car to make sure no one looted it.

With a year head-start, why did everyone wait to evacuate the coastal cities until two days before impact?

Wishful thinking. They were hoping some magic last-chance effort would prevent the comets from crashing into our planet and killing everyone.

Leave any other questions you might have about Deep Impact below.

~Phil

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