Deep Impact appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While not a bad presentation, this one lost points due to a few issues.
Some digital processing occurred, and this both reduced grain and boosted sharpness in an artificial manner. This meant the movie could feel “hyper-crisp” at times and less than natural.
Otherwise, general delineation largely seemed fine. Despite more than a few overcranked moments, the film delivered fairly appealing definition.
No issues with shimmering or jaggies appeared, but light haloes crept in at times. Print flaws stayed fairly minor, as I saw occasional examples of modest grit and a few speckles, but nothing major appeared.
Colors looked bright and vivid, and they displayed no problems related to bleeding, noise or other issues. They could also feel a bit overdone but they usually worked pretty well.
Black levels seemed deep and rich, while shadow detail was appropriately opaque but not excessively thick. Much of the image satisfied, but the digital tampering damaged its overall impression.
As for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, it seemed pleasing, as the soundfield offered a nicely active and involving piece of work. Music showed good stereo presence, while effects provided a strong sense of environment.
Between the space scenes and those with the explosions, Impact came wth a lot of chances for a killer mix, though it lacked the extremely high level of potential found during Armageddon. Nonetheless, the track used all five channels well and created a fulfilling surround presence.
Audio quality seemed positive overall. Dialogue appeared intelligible and natural.
Music sounded vivid and bright and showed good depth, while effects worked very well. Of course, the louder segments packed the greatest punch, as they provided the appropriate depth and power.
Bass response seemed very positive, and the mix featured a lot of solid low-end response. Deep Impact worked well enough to merit an “A-“ for audio.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2004 SCE DVD? Audio was fairly similar, though I thought the lossless TrueHD mix was a bit more engulfing and dynamic.
As for the visuals, they showed the usual improvements found with Blu-ray. I would guess that the Blu-ray used the same transfer as the DVD, but the format allowed for it to provide greater definition and vivacity.
Actually, the Blu-ray may’ve revealed flaws not as obvious on the DVD. Even with its issues, though, the Blu-ray became the superior presentation.
Virtually all the extras from the 2004 SCE DVD reappear here, and we open with an audio commentary from director Mimi Leder and visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific track.
The piece manifests sporadic examples of useful tidbits, but much of it seems dull. We learn about how both participants came to the project, sets and locations, working with the cast, deleted scenes and storytelling, and visual elements like faking weightlessness.
Leder dominates, even during the sequences with heavy effects footage. Farrar occasionally chimes in, but he doesn’t offer much in the way of technical insight.
As for Leder, she gives us more than a smattering of interesting material, but not a ton. The track tends to plod along without much energy, and we encounter occasional instances of dead air.
Things never become tedious enough to make this a bad commentary, but it fails to engage us well enough to turn into something terribly compelling.
Next we get four separate featurettes. Preparing for the End fills eight minutes, 56 seconds that features Leder, screenwriters Bruce Joel Rubin and Michael Tolkin, and we also get a few quick 1994 snippets from scientific authorities who discuss some realities behind the comet-related prospects.
We learn about the project’s origins, writing the screenplay and research, how Leder came onto the film and her preparation, developing the characters, and casting. Unlike many programs of this sort, not too many movie clips pop up, as the piece focuses on the issues. It presents the production topics concisely and turns into a nice little featurette.
The longest program on the disc, Making an Impact goes for 12 minutes, eight seconds. In it Tolkin, Leder, Farrar, and Rubin discuss shooting on location, handling large scenes, filming the comet sequences and visual effects, various sets and spaceship design, the scope of the destruction sequences and altered concepts.
As with the prior program, this one handles its subjects well. It’s a broader piece than “End” but it moves smoothly and covers a lot of territory efficiently.
For more information on the logistics of filming, we go to Creating the Perfect Traffic Jam. In this six-minute, 14-second featurette, we hear from Leder, Tolkin, Farrar, second assistant director Alison Rosa, additional casting Judith Bouley, and second unit production manager Cherylanne Martin.
The focus here is on the location shoot, as we mainly see what happened there. It’s another useful program, as we get a good look at the massive scope of this brief sequence and all the concerns involved.
The final featurette, Parting Thoughts goes for four minutes, 50 seconds. It includes notes from Leder, Tolkin and Rubin as they discuss test screenings and edits, the passing of cinematographer Dietrich Lohmann during production and its impact, and desired impressions to be left by the movie.
The last two bits are nice, but the discussion of the cut sequences is the most useful, especially since we actually see a little of the excised material.
In addition to both a teaser and theatrical trailers, we find a Photo Gallery. It includes 59 pictures that mix shots from the flick and candid images from the set. None of them seem very interesting.
One disappointment stems from the lack of deleted scenes. Leder discusses many of these and we see some fleeting images of a couple in “Parting Thoughts”, but that’s it. Since the director indicates she made massive cuts in the film, it’d be nice to see more of them.
At times, Deep Impact offers a reasonably involving and dramatic disaster movie, but it focuses too heavily on bland character drama. Since none of the roles receive enough attention for us to care, this means that the movie often falls flat. The Blu-ray provides inconsistent picture, excellent audio and a smattering of decent supplements. This isn’t a great movie and the Blu-ray becomes an erratic rendition of it.
To rate this film visit the original review of DEEP IMPACT