Add “Don’t Look Up” to the list of movies that start with a good idea but fail miserably with execution. Despite a mega-wattage cast and Oscar winner Adam McKay writing and directing, nothing can save this overbearing and tiresome project. I won’t mince words: this is a bad film.
A giant comet is on a certain collision course with Earth, approaching the planet at an alarming speed. When it hits in less than six months, all life will be swiftly destroyed. After taking their discovery to the White House and facing a disinterested President (Meryl Streep) and her doofus son (Jonah Hill), it’s up to astronomy grad student Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) and her professor Dr. Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) to warn society of its impending doom. The problem is that nobody seems to care.
The comet makes for a hot news story, hitting the airwaves on a popular talk show that’s hosted by the upbeat Brie (Cate Blanchett) and Jack (Tyler Perry), and goes viral on social media, but the seriousness of the situation is dismissed without much care. When things reach the most dire point, an eccentric billionaire (Mark Rylance, in a truly terrible performance) is more concerned with monetizing the comet rather than helping destroy it.
Putting a smarter, political spin on a classic disaster movie is a decent idea, but the thinly-veiled commentary on climate change and corporate greed is overblown. McKay writes a mildly amusing satire that’s not particularly smart nor profound. The typical liberal hit list is all here, from reprimanding the exploitation of tragedy, to mocking Trump’s America, to wagging fingers at science deniers. Talk about preaching to the choir. The film will appeal to those very people who shake their heads and can’t understand why a large chunk of the nation would continue to support and vote for politicians who actively work against their best interests.
Another problem is that the movie further politicizes science in a way that could very well make those Americans who already express disdain and disgust towards “liberal elites” decide to close themselves off even more. Do we really need more Hollywood films that seem to look down on the very people who could stand to hear the message?
I don’t have a conservative bone in my body, but even I found “Don’t Look Up” to be smug, irritating, and borderline intolerable.
By: Louisa Moore