Don’t Look Up: Movie Review

Elaine Clarke, Writer

Director Adam McKay is famous for his witty satires and comedies, poking and prodding at important (and unimportant)topics. With a list of movies like Step Brothers, Booksmart, and The Anchorman under his belt, his new movie Don’t Look Up had high expectations. To many, however, this movie just wasn’t up to standard.

Dr. Randal Mindy (Leonardo Dicaprio) is a professor at Michigan state university and a low-level astronomer. Along with Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) , one of his students, he discovers a planet-killing comet headed straight for Earth. But when they try to warn the world, they are ignored.

The movie brings up several interesting points, but none that aren’t tried or true. Its main message centers a metaphor about the current climate crisis. Nations have ignored this issue for years while it is slowly becoming a bigger and bigger problem. The disaster event in the movie only takes place over several months but shares many similarities with our current crisis. When going to the government or the media, Randal and Kate are ignored and ridiculed, just like scientists in our real life. People in the movie call it a hoax and reject the comet just like people in the real world reject climate change.

The movie also pokes fun at the previous presidential administration. The rampant nepotism shown in the movie, with the mother-son duo of President Janie Orlean (Meryl Streep) and Chief of Staff Jason Orlean (Jonah Hill) is an obvious call out. With the incompetence of the son (along with his witty remarks throughout the movie), McKay adds political commentary to the film. However, his comparisons oftentimes seem overdone and the obvious similarities lack subtlety.

As for the people of the world and the media, their attention is less driven towards the end of time and more to the latest drama surrounding pop-super star Riley Bina (Ariana Grande) which loosely makes a point about the concerns of citizens in a fast paced, media driven world. McKay again over-exaggerates his satire, by dumbing down the adult population of our world to almost an insulting level. For the most part he is right, but McKay fails to uphold personal integrity for even his own audience.

Despite all of its shortcomings, Don’t Look Up is a funny film, even if the satire is at points exhausting or unentertaining. The movie itself has character and while it doesn’t leave you with much to think about, it still has many messages about our current society.