• Makaela Scott-Stilton

Don't Look Up: The Scarily Important Satire

Updated: Jan 30

Through a pandemic and undismissable climate change, society as a whole manages to make anything – and nearly everything – political. With that, the new Netflix original “Don’t Look Up” symbolizes and connects important topics that we as a country should worry about, while also being undeniably comedic and satirical.
Kate Dibiasky, an astronomy major at Michigan State University, discovers an asteroid hurling directly towards Earth. With Professor Dr. Mindy’s assistance, the two discovered and calculated that this same asteroid would crash into Earth in a few months. After releasing the information, the two were sent to the White House to discuss further matters of what to do about Earth’s certain death. Although Dr. Mindy’s calculations were 99.97% accurate, the president took this as 70% likely to happen, and took down the idea of the asteroid entirely. This sparked motivation from Dibiasky and Dr. Mindy to spread it as far as they could. They took the opportunity to release their discovery onto a local news channel (a parallel to Good Morning America) in attempts to save whatever they could of the world and convince people to pay attention to what could possibly be their last few months of living.
People of the media took what was said and made “memes” of a distraught Dibiasky, sparking conversations based on the asteroid, but nothing more serious than speaking about it and not exactly believing that it is real. People then started making this subject political, dividing society between the people who advocated to “look up” and see what is there before them, and the individuals who strove for people to not look up and abide by the false fear that the scientists are inducing.
While the facts of the film are based around a serious topic involving certain death, all throughout the movie there are comedic lines and satirical analogies that make the film more of a joke, rather than a real and serious film. There are even scenes where the film crew of the movie is slightly put into frame, looking like a fatal movie mistake, but instead is completely purposeful. The most noticeable aspect about the movie is the cast, featuring famous actors such as Leonardo Decaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Timothee Chalomet, Ariana Grande, and Chris Evans, all of whom are extremely adored by society and seeing them all together in one movie is interesting to see.
Personally, “Don’t Look Up” was an extremely enjoyable movie to watch as a whole no matter the depressing plot line and message. When you look past the enjoyable comedy and actors, important and troubling aspects of society are confronted. Why is it that even if a scientist or person with great knowledge said and showed society’s unavoidable death and only a couple ways to fix it, society divides itself and makes raw knowledge a political debate? The most common interpretation of the asteroid in the film is climate change. We know what is happening and we know what we are doing to the Earth, but instead of working together to do something about it, people are making it a huge political debate and waiting to see if something on Earth will really fail, but by that time, it will have been too late. The movie makes people think about what is going to happen in their own lives and spreads awareness on how society really acts through comedic gold and drama “Don’t Look Up” puts on the table.
Many people did not enjoy this movie due to the fact that it is so much of a joke that you can hardly take it seriously, and the mistakes in the film were hard to look past. Even though this is a part of the film, it is all purposeful. The directors and producer didn’t attempt to make a revolutionary film confronting the ways of society, they made a sloppy, comedic film that people at home could interpret in different ways, just how society itself is sloppy and doesn’t make much sense. All in all, regardless of the R rating due to language and drug content, I really enjoyed this movie and would recommend people watch it whether to critique and analyze all of the special meanings or to simply enjoy the “trash” film.

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