%% ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.
%% Image replaced per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1445288914000116400
%% Please do not replace or remove without starting a new thread.

In 1998, Hollywood almost destroyed the Earth from space. [[DuelingMovies Twice.]] This is about the one that didn't [[Film/{{Armageddon}} involve Bruce Willis]].

''Deep Impact'' is a 1998 sci-fi[=/=]drama DisasterMovie released by Paramount Pictures and [=DreamWorks=] SKG in the United States. The film was directed by Mimi Leder, and stars Creator/ElijahWood, Creator/TeaLeoni, Creator/MorganFreeman and Creator/RobertDuvall. It is loosely based on a book by Creator/LarryNiven and Creator/JerryPournelle called ''Literature/LucifersHammer''.

The plot is roughly divided into these plot-lines:
* A TeenGenius and amateur astronomer who discovers what turns out to be a previously unknown comet. He strongly values his girlfriend.
* An IntrepidReporter for MSNBC who thinks she's found a scandal when she asks a just-resigned cabinet member about "Ellie." Due to a misunderstanding, she believes "Ellie" is his mistress; the White House believes she's uncovered the truth and treats her accordingly, chasing her down with the FBI. She has an irascible father from whom she is estranged and a virtuous single mom as a boss, whose insistence on giving her lame stories is why she's so ambitious.
* The president (played by Creator/MorganFreeman), who announces some months late that an ELE--an Extinction Level Event--threatens the earth. But he has several plans involving a large underground bunker and a special shuttle.
* The crew of the special shuttle sent to save the world from disaster; the younger members of which are a little grumpy about having an old-timer along.

Although the film's premise is similar to that of the more famous ''Film/{{Armageddon}}'' (released the same year), the two movies are only superficially similar otherwise. ''Deep Impact'' is a drama movie first and foremost, and unlike the action-packed ''Armageddon'', focuses mostly on depicting the effects of the meteor's impending arrival.

!!This film contains examples of:

%%* ActionFilmQuietDramaScene
%%* AltarTheSpeed
* ApatheticCitizens:
** The ''throngs'' (far too many to simply be [[FaceDeathWithDignity facing death with dignity]]) in New York City still calmly going about their business downtown even though the President has warned that the Eastern seaboard (including New York City) is about to be destroyed by a tidal wave.
** Even before that, there seems to be massive public indifference to the comet's existence for ''over half a year'', all the way up until the ''Messiah'' fails in its initial mission. At the press conference where the story is broken to the world, there is a brief agitated murmur when the President makes his announcement...and then everyone either calms down or (in the case of the news media) scrambles to find out anything they can about comets or natural disasters in order to make for must-see TV news coverage. Immediately after this sequence, there are some inappropriately lighthearted scenes, first of Leo Biederman receiving honors from his school for discovering the comet and being told that he is now going to lose his virginity, then of the younger astronauts chatting at a backyard barbecue and then in a country-and-western-themed bar, bragging and putting down Spurgeon Tanner.
* ApocalypseHow: If the comet hit full, it would have caused the end of global human civilization. [[spoiler: It does cause a massive localized disruption of the US eastern seaboard and major damage in Europe and Africa as well.]]
* TheArk: It's not mobile, but the underground bunker is specifically called "the Ark" by one of its security staff, and cages of wild animals are seen being brought inside to preserve them.
* ArtisticLicense: The ''Messiah'' is taken into space by a rocket called The ''Orion'' which, like its hypothetical counterpart, is nuclear powered. However, rather than being propelled by a series of nuclear detonations, is depicted as hiving a continuous conventional thrust.
* BadassGrandpa: Spurgeon Tanner, played by Robert Duvall. Not only does he successfully set the spacecraft down on the comet, he swiftly takes command after the lead pilot is injured and comes up with a plan to destroy the larger asteroid fragment. Even though he knows its' a suicide mission, he shows no hesitation and has little trouble convincing the other astronauts to back his play.
* BigApplesauce: Disaster movies ''hate'' New York City.
* BittersweetEnding: The larger chunk of asteroid is blown up by the team of astronauts sent to destroy it, thus sparing humanity, but the smaller chunk hits and causes massive damage and millions of deaths. In addition to that, the astronauts were forced to drive their ship into the larger chunk of the asteroid which costed their lives as well, and they are also grieved by their families.
* ChekhovsGun: The dirt bike that Chuck, Sarah's father, bought. Leo uses it to find Sarah as they're fleeing the coast.
* ColonyDrop: By the comet Wolf-Biederman. After the ''Messiah'' mission only creates two chunks, the smaller comet is named Biederman (which hits in the Atlantic Ocean) and the larger one is named Wolf (which was calculated to hit Western Canada, but was fortunately destroyed).
* CoolStarship: The ''Messiah'' and its OrionDrive. In the movie, it's supposed to be the most ambitious spacecraft ever developed by man.
* DemotedToExtra: Dougray Scott appears intermittently throughout the start and middle of the film. At the climax, while drawing straws for the last seat on a helicopter, there are hints that he and Tea Leoni's character are in some sort of relationship, though their main interactions must have been lost to editing.
* DeusExNukina: A group of nukes is used to break up the asteroid.
* DisasterMovie
* DrivenToSuicide: {{Implied|Trope}} with Jenny's mother.
* DullSurprise
** Andrea, as they fly up to the comet. "Look at them [the rocks barely missing the spacecraft], they're the size of houses.", yeah, and you sound really concerned. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] because astronauts/cosmonauts/space-o-nauts are specifically trained to remain calm and in control despite all manner of disaster blowing up around them. [[SarcasmMode Anyone remember the frantic panic]] in the famous quote [[Film/{{Apollo13}} "Houston, we have a problem"]]?
** Téa Leoni's performance in this film just screams this. She does okay as the SmugSnake IntrepidReporter looking for a political scandal. It's when the end of the world is confirmed and she has to show she has hidden depths, that her acting takes a turn for the worse.
* EarthShatteringPoster: The poster has a meteor impacting Earth and actually followed through on that promise.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: Created to put a million people underground for 2 years.
* EmbarrassingFirstName: Spurgeon Tanner, which became "Sturgeon," which became "Fish," and all on his first day at the naval academy.
* EmergencyPresidentialAddress: The President makes the announcement about Wolf–Biederman, and then makes another announcement that the ''Messiah'' has failed, and that disaster is coming -- and if anyone has any way at all to get out of the path of destruction they better get going.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: The astronomer's ride couldn't just get hit by a truck, nooooo...
* FaceDeathWithDignity
** "Look on the bright side. We'll all have high schools named after us." Also counts as FacingTheBulletsOneLiner.
** The families that knew they couldn't outrun the wave and chose to send their last moments in meaningful, loving embrace rather than futile panic.
* FailedASpotCheck: When the tsunami hits Manhattan, we see a man in a park reading a newspaper who doesn't notice the massive wave destroying the city until it swamps him. Doubly hilarious because everyone knew the asteroid was supposed to hit on that day, so even assuming someone ''did'' print a newspaper that morning, there would be nothing else worth reporting. Since he looks over 70 and wouldn't be eligible for the Ark as a result, it could be another instance of FaceDeathWithDignity.
* FatalFamilyPhoto: Tanner sticks a photo of his late wive and his sons on the flight console when they first land on the comet, and looks at it right before commencing their HeroicSacrifice.
* FreeRangeChildren: As Sarah's father is chaining up his motorcycle and putting bars on the window of his house because society is breaking down as the comet approaches, his daughter is away from home, by herself. True, she's an older teen - but it certainly provides some dissonance as to what her father really cares about.
* FultonStreetFolly: Justified, in that the tidal wave naturally takes out the part of Manhattan Island that faces the bay.
* GovernmentConspiracy: Played more realistically than most, they can only keep it secret for about a year. But still, constructing an ElaborateUndergroundBase requiring thousands of people and a new spacecraft? Surely someone would have blabbed sooner.
* HeroicSacrifice: Though the crew of the ''Messiah'' counts (see [[SomeoneHasToDie below]]) counts, it's more about Jenny's last-second choice to give up her space on the Ark to a coworker and her baby daughter. This allows her to finally [[RedemptionEqualsDeath reunite and make peace with her father]].
* HopeSpot: When the impact wave hits New York, people can be seen running out onto the roofs of several skyscrapers. And then we see that the wave eclipsed even the Twin Towers, the tallest buildings in the city...
* IWarnedYou: President Beck tells his advisor Entrekin "See? What did I tell you?" when Jenny says they should have picked a better cover story than "sick wife."
* IdiotBall: The astronomer in the beginning panicking about his discovery. He knew the world had well over a year until impact, yet still drove recklessly despite how precious his cargo of information was. Not to mention he didn't try to ''phone'' anyone about it until he was driving, rather than calling from the observatory.
* ImpededMessenger: Astronomer Marcus Wolf (Smith), who realizes that the object is a comet on a collision course with Earth, tries to get the information out, but dies in a car accident before he can alert the world.
* IndyPloy: The IntrepidReporter thinks she's investigating a sex scandal involving a woman called Ellie...until the moment the ''President of the United States'' enters the room and demands "What do you know about E.L.E?" She has to bluff out a response on the spot.
* InfantImmortality: Averted, as we clearly see children among the masses of people trying in vain to escape the torrent of water that destroys the East Coast. Also subverted as Leo and Sarah manage to haul the latter's infant brother to higher ground where it's safe.
* InSpaceEveryoneCanSeeYourFace: Averted. As the astronauts worked on the dark side of the comet their face shields were open, only closing them as the Sun approached the horizon. This scene also realistically portrays the effects of failing to use face shields [[spoiler:when one astronaut fails to close their shield in time. The exposure of only a few seconds results in immediate permanent blindness and severe sunburn]].
* ItHasBeenAnHonor: [[spoiler:The astronauts Spurgeon and Andy, the former being the aged mission commander and the latter one of his subordinates, tell each other that "it's been an honour" just before they detonate the nukes on their ship to blow up the meteor from within.]]
* LotteryOfDoom: Inverted--there is a lottery for the limited space in the underground bunker.
* MadeOfExplodium: The [[EveryCarIsAPinto astronomer's jeep]], which is run off the road by a semi and explodes in midair.
* MeaningfulName: The shuttle sent to destroy the comet and save the Earth is named "''Messiah''."
* MessianicArchetype: In a literal and [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic symbolic]] sense, the ''Messiah'' really ''does'' save the Earth with its final HeroicSacrifice.
* MoodMotif: The moment where Jenny hits the net to find out what ELE is — and discovers it stands for Extinction Level Event, thus making her understand why the White House is willing to go to extremes to keep it secret.
* TheMountainsOfIllinois
** Well, at least it was the same ''state''...
** The hill Leo proposes to Sarah on is rather obviously in Southern California.
* NoahsStoryArc: The underground refuge, designed to ensure continuity of the species in the face of an impending extinction-force impact, is called the Arc.
* NoAntagonist: There is practically no villainous behavior on anyone's part, and of course we can't hate the comet for doing what Nature intended for it. At the announcement, President Beck announces he is freezing all wages and prices, ensuring that no one will be able to take quick advantage of the crisis. Secretary Rittenhouse and Jenny's stepmother seem to be [[DesignatedVillain Designated Villains]] at the beginning; the stepmom is PutOnABus and never heard from again, and Rittenhouse is quickly revealed to have resigned as quietly as possible for pragmatic reasons (he doesn't believe the Messiah project will work and wants to prepare for impact with his family).
* NoEndorHolocaust: The movie ''generally'' plays its physics straight, with three notable exceptions that stop it from being a cold KillEmAll exercise:
** The smaller comet (Biederman) would have instantly blinded if not crushed to a pulp everyone looking at it on its descent.
** There is no apparent impact winter from Biederman, which it alone is easily energetic enough to create.
** The ''big'' one: [[spoiler: Destroying an object the size Wolf on the edge of the atmosphere would accomplish nothing. All of that energy is still going directly into Earth, except distributed across the entire facing side of the atmosphere rather than punching through into the ground. At a bare ''minimum'', the atmospheric heating from that much material would burned North America (Biederman hits near the Atlantic Seaboard and Wolf is slated to strike Western Canada) to a crisp.]]
* NotSoStoic: President Beck's first news conference is routine, with only a brief pause as he contemplates what ''Messiah'' failure would mean. He progressively loses composure over the following months as he has to inform the nation of worsening developments.
* OneDialogueTwoConversations: This occurs early in the film when Jenny is asking Allen Rittenhause about "Ellie" in connection with his resigning as U.S. Treasury Secretary. She assumes the name is a woman he was having an affair and he assumes that she knows that "Ellie" is really "ELE" (Extinction Level Event)--information on the upcoming comet impact. He thinks she is asking him about his discussions with the President about the comet and she thinks he is just talking about an extramarital affair.
-->'''Jenny:''' ''[to herself after finishing the interview]'': "Biggest story in history"? What an ego!
* OrionDrive: The ''Messiah'', the spaceship sent to nuke the meteor, has an Orion Pulse Drive.
* ThePeterPrinciple: Jenny Lerner wasn't exactly a great reporter in the first place but got ''very'' lucky - and ended up being a stiff, nervous anchor (though, in her defense, under the circumstances, ''anyone'' would have been nervous).
* ProductPlacement: For MSNBC. Leoni's character was originally supposed to work for CNN, but they rejected the offer, saying it would be "inappropriate." MSNBC jumped at the opportunity, since their network had only just been founded and wanted to get exposure.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Once the existence of the comet is revealed to the world, President Beck is quite open and honest with the public about what's going to happen, and while he remains hopeful, he doesn't mince words when it's clear that things are not going well.
* RousingSpeech: President Beck is quite good at giving these, though most of them are bittersweet, in that they're meant to help people prepare themselves for the end. His final speech is a straight example, though.
* RuleOfDrama: Used very conspicuously in the shuttle storyline. The mission to blow up the comet is entrusted to an aging veteran who hasn't been in space in years and a bunch of unqualified technicians who have never been in space at all nor ever manned a spacecraft outside of simulations.
* RussianHumour: At the barbecue, the Russian cosmonaut is chatting up some American girls by describing the Orion drive and saying it was built by the same guys who built Chernobyl. One of the girls is put off a little by this, and he replies, "Well, Chernobyl ''almost'' worked."
* ShownTheirWork:
** To be fair, most of the science is pretty realistic, and certainly a lot more realistic than ''Film/{{Armageddon}}''.
** The piece of the comet that hits the Atlantic Ocean produces a radial impact and mushroom cloud appropriate for a kinetic impactor.[[note]]striking with such force that its components are rent by the force of the impact[[/note]]
* SoftWater: A wave that tall would have scoured the entire East Coast to the bedrock.
* SomeoneHasToDie: The crew of the spaceship ''[[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic Messiah]]'' sacrifice themselves so that everyone on Earth can survive.[[note]]This could be mildly facetious...millions died anyway due to the one fragment that ''did'' hit.[[/note]]
%%* SpaceIsSlowMotion
* SuicideMission: The crew of the spaceship ''Messiah'' assign themselves one last mission, well aware of the fact that the remaining nukes to destroy the comet will have to be armed and detonated inside the ''Messiah'' cargo bay.[[note]]Not that they will end up any deader this way than if they sat back and let the Earth get totalled.[[/note]]
* TelevisionGeography: It's to be expected in a film of this size:
** Sarah's family is fleeing inland from Richmond, Virginia--stuck on the highway by a sign saying "Virginia Beaches 6 miles". Richmond is MUCH farther than 6 miles from the coast.
** There are no big hills such as the one Leo and Sarah find safety on within 6 miles of the coast there.
* TooDumbToLive:
** Sarah's parents. They let their child refuse to go into the ark tunnel and then when Leo comes back for her, they don't try to follow on foot just because he has a motorbike. And yet they're redeemed, when [[TearJerker they spend their last few moments in each other's arms, giving each other a loving hug.]]
** After being found by the FBI and taken before the President, Jenny says "I'm expected back at MSNBC at 6." Evidently it didn't occur to her that, being a GovernmentConspiracy, it wouldn't take much effort for them to arrange an "[[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident accident]]."
** You would think that the idea to send out an additional spaceship (preferably more than one) tasked with nuking the asteroid in the ''unlikely'' scenario the first ''Messiah'' crew would fail their mission would have occured to somebody involved in putting together the most critical project in the history of mankind.
** The fact that, despite it being outright ''told'' that one fragment of the comet will cause a massive tsunami that will affect a ton of countries and kill millions, that people will do everything they can to get out of its way. Cue the impact, when you see ''millions'' of people either still in cities like nothing is happening, or even ''on vacation'' rather than on a plane or somewhere that won't fall victim to the tsunami, like a mountain.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: The trailer compresses ''the whole movie'' into 3 1/2 minutes without anything important cut out.
* TrailersAlwaysLie: According to Morgan Freeman's narration in the official trailer, two comets were discovered heading for Earth. In the actual movie, there is only one comet to start with; the other one is actually a large piece of the first, nuked off by the ''Messiah'' crew.
* WeAllLiveInAmerica: The Beiderman comet splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean - specifically, in Cape Hatteras, which is just off North Carolina. North America, South America, western Europe and western Africa all get swamped by the massive tsunami; Asia and Australia are apparently completely spared. That alone could be handwaved, at least until we learn the other comer will hit the Earth nowhere else than California, disregarding the fact how improbable it would be for it to land less than 3000 miles away from the first impact zone. In any case, with a few exceptions, the entire film takes place either around New York, Washington DC, or "in the soft limestone hills of Missouri."
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never find out if Jenny's young stepmother [[spoiler: survived the tidal wave caused by the comet impact.]] The subplot about the resigning U.S. Treasury Secretary wanting to spend time with his daughter and sick wife is also dropped without resolution early on.
** Arguable, really. After the conversation Jenny had in the rain with her father, her stepmother is out of the picture, showing us all that her marriage with Jenny's father was hollow and pointless, after all, and putting a fine point on just how much of a waste his hurtful treatment of his family really was. The Treasury Secretary plotline was only there to introduce Jenny's plot, so he served his purpose with that one scene.
* WhileRomeBurns: Jenny ends up spending her time at home with her dad as a huge comet approaches the Earth. A minute later, as a huge wave is destroying New York, we see a man on a park bench quietly reading a newspaper just before he's swept away. One wonders what could have possibly been in the newspaper.
* WidowedAtTheWedding: One of the astronauts tells his beloved that he'll marry her the day he gets back.
* YourDaysAreNumbered: As soon as the Wolf–Biederman comet is revealed to the public, the world is told the projected timeline for the impact. First, the countdown to the ''Messiah'' mission begins, then to the actual catastrophe.