Sunday, February 06, 2022

Don't Look Up (2021)

There are a lot of conspiracy-minded people.  To be fair, it’s hard to see COVID.  Global warming can come off as an esoteric threat, since we can’t actually touch it, so it’s easier to brush it off.  What would you do, though, if a comet were headed to Earth and was almost certain to wipe out all life on the planet?

That’s the problem that Kate Dibiasky and Dr. Randall Mindy have.  She discovers said comet and he does the math, only to realize that it’s going to hit our planet.  They set off to warn everyone, only to discover that a good chunk of the population doesn’t seem to believe it.  To be fair, not everyone has a giant telescope in their back yards to confirm the observations.  The math is also a little complicated.  There’s also very little the average person could do on their own, anyway.

Enter the politicians and the business giants and the media.  It’s not even a matter of belief at that point.  Those in charge don’t seem to understand or care.  Those in business only see dollar signs.  As for the media, it’s all about fluff and who has the latest hit song.

I’d like to call this satire, but I can’t.  I’m not sure exactly what the movie was going for.  It’s like a bad copy of a mediocre movie.  Instead of nuance, it seemed more like the movie was trying to be obvious about it.  This is why you don’t use the direct path.  You go for allegory.  You go for subtlety.  I feel like I got a lecture.

And yes, it bothers me that this is probably how it would play out, at least in terms of the broad strokes.  Many of the characters are caricatures, but I feel like if a comet could come up and shake our hands before destroying our civilization and we wouldn’t know what was going on.  That’s beside the point.  It seems like the movie was going for something big, but manage to miss the mark.  It felt like I was being talked down to.

The only character I had any feeling for was Dibiasky.  She at least seemed normal and I was saddened to think how much effort she had put into her education.  She would have gotten her doctorate if not for the whole comet thing.  All of that work was now meaningless.

Many of the other characters were unlikeable.  Yes, I realize it’s difficult to parody Trump.  He’s almost his own parody at this point.  But the president here is so indifferent that it detracts from the movie.  The movie also portrays scientists as unable to speak directly to the public.  Those that do speak to the public are too concerned with the next news cycle to really process and get the message out.  Everything is reduced to its simplest form.  It’s the opposite of depth.  By the end, I found myself rooting for the comet.


IMDb page


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