“Don’t Look Up” : Serious or Stupid?

After the events of 2020 and 2021, it’s safe to say that apocalyptic events are old news.

No one wants to talk about pandemics, no one wants to talk about political divisiveness, and as silly as it sounds- bringing up a store’s lack of toilet paper- still brings up bad memories for some. 

So, after all this time spent in an “apocalypse”, who would want to watch a movie about that very thing? Well- I for one wasn’t really open to the idea until I heard about “Don’t Look Up”.

The film “Don’t Look Up” showcases exactly what 2020 and 2021 brought to the table when it comes to controversy. The film discusses a worldwide disaster, (Not a pandemic- thankfully), popular culture, and political divisiveness. As uninteresting as those components sound, the Netflix original brings up serious issues in a comedic light- making the events of this decade sound just as absurd as they are.

Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) opens the film as a phD student who is observing and documenting supernovas in the galaxy; however, as she is documenting this she comes across an object moving on a consistent path. As she looks into this object, she uses the help of her professor, Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo Dicaprio). After calculating the object’s path, they come to the conclusion that it is an asteroid on a path towards earth, and is at a size that would cause a catastrophic event if it were to make impact.

After further research, Kate and Dr. Mindy discover that this collision would occur just 6 months after its discovery.As the movie goes on, the duo completely hits a wall when it comes to rallying support from political leaders and people in power. Throughout constant discouragement, Kate and Dr. Mindy face the public’s opinion on the matter, all while understanding that the only way to prevent this tragedy from happening would be through the help of the government and the public.

Without giving away too much about the plot, the movie itself does a great job showcasing how issues are treated in our society. In the case of “Don’t Look Up”, two scientists were belittled for revealing that humanity was at risk for total extinction. While in the real world, scientists everywhere are belittled for raising awareness about topics like climate change, or more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Adam Mckay, a screenwriter and the director of the film, got the movie rolling before the pandemic was even a thought in most people’s minds. As he began writing the script for the film, he related this asteroid to the current climate crisis. Mckay created the film in representation of this crisis, so it was natural for actors such as Leonardo Dicaprio to gain interest in the film. Dicaprio, who plays Dr. Mindy, is known for his involvement in social issues surrounding the environment. His foundation, The Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation directly supports the issues he is most vocal about.

“Don’t Look Up” utilizes satire to convey the message that climate change is not being taken as seriously as it should be. It parodies real life situations by using this fictional asteroid as a substitution for the climate crisis. In a genius way, it sparked a conversation among average people who may normally ignore news about current events, or treat them as these issues were treated in the film. 

As a whole, the film really unites entertainment with persuasion when it comes to getting a message across about climate change or other issues that are ignored. By targeting the general public, it reached America’s voters, who really are what it comes down to when it comes to making change in the United States. Although the film comes off as comedic, deep down, it does have some serious tones. So when the question’s asked, is “Don’t Look Up” serious or stupid, the answer is probably a little bit of both. 

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