Human reactions to the arrival of the end of the world

When ‘Deep Impact’ was filmed, the world had changed and the movie stunts had advanced enough to provide a credible spectacle. In 1998 Armageddon was also released, dealing with the same theme; It is very entertaining, although it is impossible to believe that not even Bruce Willis can save humanity from the asteroid in just eighteen days! Both titles, yes, resorted to the same trick as Meteor: if a movie is made about the imminent destruction of humanity by the impact of a gigantic celestial body, and in the end that impact does not occur, the public will feel that they have been scammed. But the fragments that will collide with Earth anyway can always be used to ensure enough scenes of destruction.

Asteroids that threaten life on Earth

In Deep Impact, all countries come together to fight annihilation, although the main efforts are being carried out by Russia and the United States. The asteroid that threatens the Earth has been split in two, and only one ship with nuclear weapons, the Messiah, can be prepared to destroy the largest one; the smallest will hit the planet, causing serious damage, although without actually wiping humanity off the map. In the United States, an underground shelter is being prepared for one million people, who will be chosen by lottery. At the last minute, the Messiah achieves her goal, although this involves the sacrifice of her entire crew. The other comet hits the Atlantic Ocean, causing a gigantic tsunami to sweep through New York and other coastal cities.

The plot follows the basic structure of disaster movies: on the one hand, we have the professionals, from the astronauts who agree to participate in a suicide mission to scientists, the military and the president of the United States; and on the other, ordinary people and their behavior during the months of waiting. The predictable reactions of collective panic they join those of those who manage to save themselves by climbing the mountains, and those of those who accept their fate after having made peace with themselves and with those close to them. This long period of preparation to avoid the worst, or to resign to it, is what gives Deep Impact a greater air of plausibility; the destructive comet is a test for humanity, both for the classes that direct it and for the citizens that constitute it.

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