Don’t Look Up– How to Ignore the Climate Crisis

Renee Lucas ‘22 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

As the United States heals from the aftermath of the Trump administration, many storytellers have started to incorporate politics into their art. One of the most popular examples of this at the moment is Adam McKay’s new Netflix original entitled Don’t Look Up.  

Don’t Look Up features two astronomers who have made a shocking discovery that a comet several kilometers wide is headed straight for earth. This genre of film is not new, so viewers might expect this film to follow the traditional formula of disaster movies: the United States government works tirelessly to save its citizens, and sends out a young hero on a dangerous mission for all of humankind. However, Don’t Look Up defies expectations, and instead shows these astronomers going through an incredibly frustrating and long journey of trying to convince the United States government, and its citizens, that this comet is real and life threatening. 

The president in the film is rich, and has hired her son as her Chief of Staff, which seems to hint at the idea that this administration is based on Trump’s, not to mention their alliance to billionaires, and disloyalty to science, and as the film progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that these people are motivated solely by increasing their wealth. 

Because of the time this film came out and the satirical portrayal of the Trump Administration, many viewers immediately assumed this film was made to comment on Trump’s handling of the pandemic. While it definitely fits very well into the context of the pandemic, at this film’s core, it is about climate change. 

Even if it was not known the time period that Mckay started to write this script, there is an abundance of evidence in the film that points to climate change, like tech companies trying to profit off of natural disasters, and the public refusing to believe the science behind the comet. One of the most powerful pieces of evidence however, comes towards the end of the movie during the don’t look up rally. 

Spoilers ahead.

During the rally, the comet is visibly seen hurtling towards Earth, and all that people have to do for proof that it is coming is just look up. The proof that the world is ending is right in front of them, but they choose to not believe it. That is until one person glances upwards and sees it coming. After that, chaos ensues, everyone realizes that the end is actually coming, but by then it’s too late. The comet hits, and everyone dies. 

This film is an incredibly well done satire of the U.S government’s response to the ongoing climate crisis, but it is not for the faint of heart. Most disaster films leave the viewer feeling relieved at the end. Relieved that they don’t have to worry anymore, because the movie ended and they’re back in the real world. But when Don’t Look Up ends, the viewer is not relieved, they are terrified. Like a nightmare there is no waking from, the viewer leaves this film with a heightened sense of the world’s expiration date.

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