Salon spoke with scientists who praised “Deep Impact” — and with others who helped make it
By Matthew Rozsa, Staff Writer, Published May 6, 2023 10:00AM (EDT)
In anticipation of the 25-year-anniversary of “Deep Impact,” Dr. Clark R. Chapman and his wife Y Chapman decided to rewatch the classic sci-fi disaster flick. Dr. Chapman is uniquely qualified to assess the movie’s merits: “Deep Impact” is about a comet the size of Mount Everest that is heading on a collision course with Earth, and Chapman is a planetary scientist for the B612 Foundation, a nonprofit which protects Earth from comets, asteroids and other near-Earth Objects (NEOs).
Perhaps unusual for a big-budget sci-fi flick, Dr. Chapman strongly approved of the film’s science, and both he and Y — an environmental activist and artist who donates to the B612 Foundation — said that as a work of art they “highly rate the movie’s production and creativity. It treats a number of characters in sufficiently intimate detail that viewers get to ‘know’ them.”
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
Through all the times Irwin Allen destroyed cities in his ‘70s era disaster films, and as many times as Hollywood took out humanity through climate-based disasters or alien invasions, none did it better than Deep Impact.
Not for the destructive spectacle; Deep Impact has surprisingly little, and the visual effects lack the sizzle they once carried.
Instead, it’s because of Tea Leoni, standing in fear on the seashore with her previously disowned father, waiting for a cataclysmic tidal wave to end their lives.
Rarely does disaster claim the lead actor’s life. Here, she’s obliterated when humanity fails. There’s something inherently human about the acceptance, the defeat, and reality that drives Deep Impact’s drama to that moment (even if Leoni’s broadcast journalist shtick before lacks the same real world conviction).
Could a devastating comet impact in Earth’s distant past have forever changed human civilization?
Scientists think that a cluster of comet shards may have smashed into Earth’s surface 13,000 years ago, in the most catastrophic impact since the Chicxulub event killed off Earth’s large dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.
In a new study, a team led by Martin Sweatman, a scientist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, investigated the impact and how it could have shaped the origins of human societies on Earth. While the first Homo sapiens emerged between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago, much farther in the past than this impact, the researchers found that this comet crash actually coincided with significant changes in how human societies self-organized.