In the battle of 1998 movies about space-garbage destroying the Earth, Deep Impact vs. Armageddon, science folk-hero Neil deGrasse Tyson always roots against Aerosmith. So do we, Neil. So do we. Tyson was at South by Southwest this week to discuss why love is stupid and pointless because we’re all going to be wiped out by our scientific ignorance anyway, or something, and while in Austin, BuzzFeed asked him for his feelings on various science-fiction films, including The Matrix (“It gets one thing wrong with the physics, but I’ll forgive it, because it did so much else so well”) and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Tyson had mostly praise for Kubrick’s epic (“I think 2001 was significant in that it was a stunning arm’s-reach view of the future”), but he had even nicer things to say about Mimi Leder’s movie starring Robert Duvall, Vanessa Redgrave, and the ORIGINAL black president, Morgan Freeman.
Surprisingly, of all the films discussed at length, the only one that Tyson appeared to have unequivocal praise for was [Deep Impact]. “When they go to the comet, you see that the gravity is very low,” said Tyson. “You need grappling hooks just to pull yourself down and to stay connected. The gravity is so low, you could conceivably just jump and jump into orbit. Comets are out-gassing catastrophically, so you’d have to be careful walking around on them, as they captured in Deep Impact.”
And in the movie (16-year-old spoiler alert), a major part of the comet does slam into the ocean — which Tyson thinks the film got right…“Most of Earth’s surface is water, so chances are, if we’re going to get hit, we’re going to get hit in the water,” he said. “But you still get to destroy cities. In the case of Deep Impact, they did it with tsunamis. Whereas in Armageddon, it was like they had aim. One hit near the Eiffel Tower, if I remember correctly. The cosmos doesn’t have that good aim.” (Via)
Tyson later praised Deep Impact for having “really good science going there,” before going on an hour-long tangent about why Antz is far more realistic than A Bug’s Life.