Don’t Look Up Review


Adam McKay’s satire film Don’t Look Up has taken over Netflix, breaking the record for most views in a single week of any movie in Netflix’s history. This blockbuster follows the world’s reaction when two astronomers share news of a gigantic comet heading toward Earth that could cause an extinction-level event. Viewers of the movie interpreted the message that McKay wished to convey in various ways—some more logical than others. However, the filmmakers confirm that the movie was intended to represent our real world and how the public reacts to scientific facts that may seem scary or threatening. Reactions covered in the movie range from the political division that arises from fear-inducing facts to blue-chip companies taking advantage of crises to make an extra, unneeded buck.

In a Netflix Film Club interview, Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays the lead role of Dr. Mindy, interpreted the movie on par with McKay’s intention, saying that it is a “parody to our culture,” demonstrating “our inability [to] listen to the scientific truth,” specifically “about climate change … and where [humanity is] ultimately going.”

DiCaprio’s comments linking the theme of the movie to climate change make sense, as he is an adamant, self-proclaimed environmentalist, as seen on his Instagram page (@leonardodicaprio), which looks like a digital zoo. Other connections can also be made to real life events, such as reactions to COVID, which I personally thought was the original idea that Don’t Look Up was mocking.

One of the main attractions Don’t Look Up provides is its cast, which features some of the most iconic actors, actresses, and celebrities in general: DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep play main roles, while others like Timothée Chamalet, Chris Evans, Tyler Perry, and even Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi appear as well.

Some viewers, like me, decided to give in to Netflix’s #1 movie ranking and click on Don’t Look Up because the plot interested us, while others like freshman Ben Gibson watched simply because the “cast drew [him] in.” Whatever the reason for watching, the legendary cast certainly plays a huge factor driving clicks worldwide.

Contrary to what the booming popularity suggests, Don’t Look Up has received atrocious reviews from mainstream critics. On the other hand, the general public actually seems to enjoy the film, with 85 percent of Google users liking the movie despite the negative comments from professional critics. Rotten Tomatoes rated this movie at 55 percent, which is not terrible but also doesn’t do the erudite film justice, in my opinion. Don’t Look Up is one of the featured reviews on the website (created by the late Chicago film critic Roger Ebert, who won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism). The review, written by editor and contributor Nick Allen, argues that Don’t Look Up is a “disastrous movie” that “shows McKay as the most out of touch he’s ever been with what is clever, or how to get his audience to care.”

In my opinion, the harsh negativity from these critics is uncalled for and does not make sense. I thought that McKay’s effort to deliver an important message masked by a shallow comedy was, in fact, very clever. Social media users and movie enthusiasts in general participate in a diverse audience of people who might only watch videos to get a laugh or because they see their favorite celebrity; McKay realizes that not everyone will willingly watch a movie that directly warns about climate change, so he cleverly hides his message behind a star-studded, glamorous movie infused with eye candy. This method attracts all types of people—all ages, all cultures, and all opinions. If the watcher has any analytical skills at all, they will begin to unravel the true, deeper meaning of Don’t Look Up as it advances.

If a person truly is in it just for the laughs, they do not have to read into the complexity that the movie proposes, and they will still enjoy it just as much. But if you are someone who enjoys movies that make you think, or also enjoy cynical, dark comedies, then this movie is also for you.