Released just in time to be everyone’s choice for the new years movie night, Don’t Look Up is a satirical take on our current situation. It dances a fine line between being too preachy and even offensive and showing just how fucked we are. It’s also one of many “end of the world movies” that we’ve seen in the last few years. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World from 2012 first comes to mind featuring a similar atmosphere. However, there is a string of movies with people having dinner and then finding out that the world is going to end. And I cannot remember a single one of them.
These movies are far from the romantic and epic adventures that were the nineties “meteor is about to hit the Earth” movies. The movies I grew up watching and even enjoying to some degree. We all remember Armageddon and Deep Impact, which the studios tried to replicate with last year’s Greenland. Anywhoo, Don’t Look Up is not your classic disaster movie. It uses the threat of extinction to highlight the many problems we have in our society. Most of the jokes are pretty lame and predictable with only a couple of them really landing. Now, depending on where you are in life, it will leave a completely different impression.
First of all, I found it mildly entertaining, scoffing at all the target demographic references and clear agenda. Of course, Jennifer Lawrence smokes weed, Jonah Hill is a mamma’s boy and Leonardo DiCaprio is the dreamy professor. Also, we have Meryl Streep as Madam President and Mark Rylance doing his best Steve Jobs impressions. I’m not surprised and a bit saddened that they didn’t touch Bezos or Musk, our current overlords. However, I also must admit that these characters had a bit of depth to them and were not the “role models” they could’ve easily been. And the acting was phenomenal, just as you would expect it to be.
With a runtime of whopping two hours and ten minutes, Don’t Look Up is a long-ass movie. If they only kept it to about ninety minutes, it would be a much more entertaining and pacier affair. However, to get back to the impressions part, I think I would be blown away by this movie if I’ve seen it ten years ago. Now, as a grizzled, and it’s hard for me to admit this and I certainly don’t feel like that, middle-aged man, I find it just tedious. We all know that our government is led by idiots and completely corrupt. And that nobody listens to scientists anymore. Corporations rule the world and the people care most about their own lives. Just look at the past few years and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
So, I think it’s fairly easy to think of a plot that highlights this. What is incredibly difficult is finding a way to fix this. Don’t Look Up doesn’t offer any and that in a way taints the whole message it was trying to send. Like we’re fucking hopeless, let’s just get high and fuck. I mean, I can get on board with that but still. This is why I didn’t like it so much. You know, at least John Oliver offers some “how can we fix it” thoughts and this feels like just a commercial smash and grab catering to the target demographic.
Now, the part of me that’s trying to be positive has to say that even if one person does something, ohh who am I kidding, no one is going to do anything. I think that Idiocracy did a much better job at painting a picture of a doomed society. So, if you’re in the mood for a bit end of the world, check out Don’t Look Up and have some fun while you still can. And if you’re looking for some old-school fun, check out The Arrival starring Charlie Sheen or better yet Contact. Enjoy.
Director: Adam McKay
Writers: Adam McKay, David Sirota
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Mark Rylance
Fun Facts: Jonah Hill said that his notion of his character was, “What if Fyre Festival was a person?”