Comic Book Curious

Don't Look Up

August 12, 2022

Please note: This article contains spoilers. Read with caution.

The movie Don't Look Up is about two astronomers Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), a professor, with his astronomy grad student Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), going on a media tour to warn humankind about a planet-killing comet (the size of Mountain Everest) approaching the planet earth. Don't Look Up, directed by Adam McKay, is a movie based on passing a vital message that we will look into. This movie features an all-star cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep, Ariana Grande, Jonah Hill, Kid Cudi, Cate Blanchett, and many more.

The movie begins in a lab where Kate Dibiasky, a grad student observing the galaxy, first spots the comet. Usually, when movies start that way with Kate watching her screen in a lab with music in her ears and her vibing to the music by singing out loud and ignoring every other thing around her, one will think something dangerous is about to happen (even if her findings turned out to be bad news anyway). Kate and her colleagues are at first ecstatic over her discovery. Their excitement turns to fear when her professor, Dr. Randall Mindy, calculates some numbers and realizes the worst. After this scene, we hear a phrase by Jack Handey:

"I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers."

A scene from the movie Don't Look Up

Credit: Netflix

Kate and Dr. Mindy both try to pass along the bad news. They reached out to high authorities like Teddy Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan) in NASA, the military, and the White House (through NASA scientist Teddy Oglethorpe). This is where the easy-going movie takes a turn for doom. The white house turned deaf ears due to president Orlean (Meryl Streep) seeing it as crazy, and she thought she had more important issues (like polling numbers). In frustration, Kate, Dr. Mindy, and Teddy decide to leak the information to the press for the public because they believe that if they have the people on their side, the situation will be handled properly by those in power. This proves unhelpful because the media is more interested in crude clickbait than honest reports. Despite their efforts to use mass communication to alternate the public opinion and make them see the reality and impact of this planet-killing comet (with six months left), no one, not even the President, believes them or tries to make an effort to try and stop the comet from destroying our beloved planet.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence in Don't Look Up

Credit: Netflix

Unfortunately for the President, she was involved in a sex scandal. She ceases the comet as an opportunity to divert unwanted attention and gives her an advantage in the re-election. A plan is set to fire rockets packed with explosives into the comet, headed by crazy American hero Colonel Benedict Drask (Ron Pearlman). One fantastic thing happened mid-flight; the plan got scrapped after a swift intervention from a creepy tech billionaire Sir Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance). The rockets were made to return to earth. Instead of deflecting and attacking the planet-killer comet, the President and Sir Peter decided to mine the comet after discovering trillions of dollars worth of minerals and rare elements on it.

Meryl Streep as the President in a meeting

Credit: Netflix

Meanwhile, Dr. Mindy becomes a regular on daytime television due to his gentle behavior and striking looks, making him a celebrity. In contrast, the emotional Kate Dibiasky becomes a popular ridiculed social-media meme. Dr. Mindy's trajectory from an honest, concerned scientist to a showboating star makes him abandon his family, strengthening the movie's upsetting, heartbreaking truth.

With Dr. Mindy and Kate urging people to "look up" and recognize the coming danger posed by the plant-killing comet, and the President and others urging society to "don't look up" as there is nothing to fear, money to be made, and jobs to be provided, this causes a split in society.

In the end, Don't Look Up was more of a message (a warning message, if you may ask me) passed by the movie. The movie explains a scientific fact being denied and then highly politicized by world leaders, who often make their decisions to benefit only themselves and those in the upper class. The movie's plot was deep while adding a bit of comedy to lighten the mood, but the film's primary purpose was to pass a message about climate change and how ignorance can/will harm our planet. The movie's ending was predictable but dark because I expected there to be some last-minute magic to save the earth. Still, there wasn't, aside from Sir Peter and President Orlean returning to earth after 22,740 years only to get eaten by animals.

About the author: My name is Franklin Ifeanyi. I am someone who likes to help people; I hope to do that with writing.

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