Bright Angel Falling

In 1998, a little known script was written by James Cameron and Peter Hyams titled 'Bright Angel Falling', which centers around an asteroid hitting the Earth. The two had wrote this script around the same time the other disaster flicks 'Deep Impact' and 'Armagedden' appeared.

This is Reeves' review (site no longer available) of the script with a little reflection on Cameron: James Cameron and Peter Hyams (writer-director of 2010) wrote a comet heading towards earth flick called, “Bright Angel Falling”.

For you under-ten year olds, 1998 was the year of two asteroid-earth collision movies, the Steven Spielberg produced “Deep Impact” and the Michael Bay directed “Armageddon.”

"I honestly felt like I was in the theater watching this during the description. It was that cool. But once the astronauts are in the air, I'm afraid I felt like I was back watching Ben Affleck run animal crackers up girls’ bellies, because it really is sequence after sequence from Armageddon.

From the Mir hookup gone wrong to the slingshotting around the moon (although it's way cooler in Cameron’s version) to Seacord locking his co-astronaut in the shuttle so that he can detonate the bomb manually. It sucks because it takes away from an otherwise cool reading experience.

I’m guessing with all the similarities that Disney must’ve bought this screenplay, right? Can anyone confirm this? As for the script itself, it’s probably not something you guys should emulate. Cameron and Hyams write in big intimidating chunks, sometimes 15 lines long, going into the minute details of the science behind the operation." . . . Carson Reeves



Bright Angel Falling

Bright Angel Falling centers on Will Seacord, a divorced astronaut who's up in space so much he can probably name all the satellites on site. As a result, he doesn't see much of his 15 year old rebellious daughter, Claire. Work’s given him an excuse for that.

So when he’s told he’ll no longer be a part of NASA’s number 1 flight crew anymore, the reality of a life post-NASA, a life where he’ll have to face his failures as a parent, have him reevaluating everything. Around this time, a young astronomer (the female Asian version of Elijah Wood) spots the comet that’s going to turn our planet plural.

The president is notified and pretty soon the whole world is aware that human extinction is 3 months away. But the prez isn’t going down without a fight. The United States government puts their best minds together to come up with a solution but the truth is there’s nothing that can be done in such a short amount of time.

That is until a couple of Berkely students stumble in with an old thesis paper they think is the answer to earth’s problems. What if they strategically place two bombs on the comet and detonate them simultaneously to knock the comet off its trajectory so it will miss earth? (Does any of this sound familiar?)

A crew is readied, people prepare, and in a scene reminiscent of the terrorist attack in Contact, the captain of the crew is killed by some religious freak. What do you know? Seacord is once again in command of the shuttle. There's some training stuff with the rest of the crew but to be honest, it wasn't very interesting.

One touch I did like (which is funny, because it’s one that neither movie chose to use) requires them to use two 50 megaton nukes. And there are only two of these bombs in the world. Both of them reside in Russia (this would be China if the script were written today).

Because Russia refuses to just hand over two of their biggest nukes to the U.S., they give them on the condition that two Russians accompany the bombs, each one containing the codes to activate them, which they will do once the bombs are in place on the comet.

The reason I liked this so much was because I have a feeling this is exactly what would happen if our world was threatened by something. Politics would take precedence over saving mankind. It also serves a great dramatic purpose, since you know those Russians aren’t going to be around when the actual codes need to be entered.

Anyway, back on earth, fragments from the comet start hitting early (I told you it was similar). And in one of the coolest described destruction sequences I’ve ever read, Cameron and Hyams detail one of these black-out-the-sky-it’s-so-big chunks hitting the ocean at “a thousand times the speed of a bullet”, resulting in a colossal tsunami wave that shoots off in every direction. I want you to stop and imagine something as big as, say, 50 city blocks, shooting towards the earth 1000 times faster than a bullet. Imagine what that would look like.

Click here for the Bright Angel Script

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