Why You Must Experience Don’t Look Up At Least Once…
Yestin Arvin Gochuico – Staff Writer
American filmmaker Adam Mckay and his latest political satire film have audiences divided, and it’s unironically proving the film’s premise.
Don’t Look Up follows a story of two astronomers on a press tour to convince the world and its leaders of an extinction-level event after discovering an imminent comet impact on Earth. The film’s satirical comedy displays how American tribalism in modern partisan politics is detrimental to initiatives against existential threats, primarily climate change, and exposes humanity’s greatest pitfall: gullibility to misinformation.
Boasting a star-studded lineup, McKay’s production team cast blockbuster giants Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Randall Mindy, and Jennifer Lawrence as Kate Dibiasky — the main leads trying to save the world from extinction. Award-winning legend Meryl Streep also joined the cast as an apathetic US President named Janie Orlean.
The main cast’s stellar performance earned them a nomination for Best Actor and Best Actress at the recent Golden Globe Awards; several analysts expect the film to get more at the coming Academy Awards.
Even with nominations from prestigious award ceremonies, the public opinion of the film has been erratic, garnering mixed reviews from audiences and critics alike. It failed to appease top critics on film review websites, gaining a measly 54 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.3/10 on IMDb. In contrast, it had massive success in viewership with favorable audience metrics showing otherwise, setting a new Netflix record as the most-watched film during the first week of release at 152 million streamed hours.
Audiences who loved the film praised the storytelling of its not-so-subtle irony that righteously delivered grittiness and in-your-face humor. While the film had its fair share of laughs, the impending doom after realizing that there’s “nothing to do” felt the most unsettling. Those who didn’t love it shared how it trivializes climate inaction while painting media and politics in a bad light under a liberalist lens.
While reviews are heavily divided, one thing is for sure; this film succeeded in making people aware of today’s political climate.
The conflicting emotions delivered by the film through a humorous take on a hopeless atmosphere had people grasping at straw. The seemingly controllable comet situation becomes uncontrollable because of capitalist greed, science denialism, and idiocrasy. It makes sure the viewers grab ahold of the notion that, although such scenarios wereconsidered unrealistic before , they’re a harsh reality— coincidentally similar to the pandemic desensitizing people to the point of denialism.
Mckay expressed to digital publisher Space.com how he decided to make a disaster film from a realist perspective. He revealed that the comet was “a Clark Kent-level disguise for the climate crisis,” calling out the people who deny climate change, who reduce it to mere “careerism.” He also noted similarities between his film and that of the pandemic with “incredible amounts of COVID denial [and] foot-dragging.” He aims to expose red herrings, not necessarily life-changing outcomes. Throughout this interview, it was clear that Don’t Look Up delivers a jarring message so obvious yet so avoided. The world doesn’t need a 10-kilometer-wide comet approaching impact to end itself, as the hands of humanity are just as capable of doing so. That’s why we should try to look up when there’s still a chance.
The film premiered in theaters on December 10, 2021 and Netflix on December 24, 2021. Don’t Look Up is currently available for streaming on Netflix today.