Deep Impact (1998)

2h / PG-13 / Action

Join Tampa Theatre and the Museum of Science & Industry for a special CinemaSTEM screening of the 1998’s out-of-this-world action thriller, Deep Impact, with special guest Anthony Pelaez, MOSI’s Senior Director of Exhibits and Innovation.

Spoiler Alert: Early in Deep Impact, we learn that a comet “the size of Mt. Everest” is on a collision course for Earth. “There would seem to be two possible outcomes,” wrote movie critic Roger Ebert in 1998, “(1) The comet hits Earth, destroying it, or (2) the comet does not hit Earth, in which case humanity is spared but the audience is denied the sight of lots of special effects. In the first scenario you don’t get the obligatory happy ending, and in the second everyone leaves feeling cheated.”

Trust us: you won’t leave feeling cheated. Instead, the U.S. government tries to keep the crisis under wraps, but enterprising reporter Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni) stumbles upon the story,  forcing President Beck (Morgan Freeman) to announce The Messiah Project. The plan is to send a manned U.S.-Russian space craft, helmed by grizzled, trying-to-be-retired astronaut Spurgeon “Fish” Tanner (Robert Duvall), to plant nuclear bombs in the comet and blow it up. Fish is tapped because he landed on the moon once, so surely he can land on a comet?

Following the screening, Anthony Pelaez will discuss the film’s plot (and plot holes): What would really happen if an asteroid or comet hit the earth? Is there really a threat? Could we stop an asteroid or comet from hitting our planet? Join our post-screening talk on the science of impact events, possible solutions to keep us safe, and why the movies get it so wrong. Don’t be a dinosaur, join our mission to save Earth!


Anthony Pelaez is the Senior Director of Exhibits and Innovation at the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI), as well as a self-professed educator, science adventurer, and world-class geek. Mr. Pelaez has beenthe lead developer for an array of international projects and exhibitions, including a NASA-supported  immersive moonbase simulation, a 3D printing exhibition, a dinosaur exhibition, and an educational prototyping lab. Mr. Pelaez has worked on scientific research in the Amazon, Asia, and the fjords of British Columbia. Anthony is on a lifelong journey to create learning experiences that spark inspiration in kids and families.

CinemaSTEM is presented by TECO. Deep Impact is presented in partnership with the Museum of Science & Industry.