Don't look up analysis: A cinematic mirror of our beloved dumb society
Don't look up is a movie that was in everyone's radar due to the extremely attractive ensemble cast which included the likes of Leonardo Di Caprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet,Cate Blanchett and Ariana Grande among others. This movie has divided both fans and critics due to its satirization of how the society of today would battle with potentially world-ending events. From my personal view, the movie's reception was divided into two:
A) The people who got personally attacked and their first instict is to call the movie a "leftist propaganda". No idea why they have to involve politics with everything.
B) The people who want to feel morally superior than group B and have piggybacked the movie's plot to get on their high horse and think that they are better than everyone else.
Let me set the record straight, I don't like either side. I think the movie can be explored deeper and this is what I am here to do.
This is an analysis and not a review so let's hurry up with the plot summary. I don't remember the names of the characters so I will just describe it with the actors' names. The movie begins with Lawrence's character (PHD candidate) discovering a new comet which is a big thing. She announces it to her colleagues and they all gather to celebrate. However, during some of the calculations (I'm not an astronomy expert, I apologise) Di Caprio's character realises that this comet will impact with the Earth's surface which can result into the end of life as we know it. This kickstarts a journey of our two protagonists with the goal of taking necessary precautions to prevent this disaster. However, as opposed to Armaggedon, the how is not the main challenge of our protagonists. Instead, they have to battle an absurd society where science is taken as pop media entertainment news and conspiracy theories emerge and the rise of stock prices is the ultimate goal of everything.
Science is boring
We live in a society where we all try to act like we know shit. But I am here to say something that most of us do not want to hear. Following NASA on Instagram or sharing SPACE X's posts on our stories on Instagram and reading a bit of information on Wikipedia does not mean shit.
Behind the beautiful pictures of skies filled with stars and videos of spaceships taking off, there is a humungous amount of calculations and work that is necessary to be made in order for all of that to be made. But who has time to care for all of that , right? At the end of the day, we don't really care about it. All we care about is looking smart on social media and on pseudointellectual debates where most of us throw approximately 3 general facts about a random space shuttle that has recently launched. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but more of us should acknowledge that this does not mean we understand what the hell is happening.
And this is the problem showcased in the movie. And at the end of the day, Don't look up is a satire, it acts like a (not that much of an) absurd mirror of our reality. And when our characters try to discuss the upcoming catastrophic event that is coming in nothing short of 6 months, everyone literally talks out of their ass. They try to comprehend but at the end of the day, they just talk without saying anything. Because this is what our society is apparently; talking just to hear our own voice, nobody listens anymore. And this movie captured this amazingly. The viewer feels the scientists' frustrations as they are ignored, talked over and are faced with a bunch of people who try to sugarcoat the annihilation of the fucking planet.
And this reaches the catharsis of Di Caprio's character as seen in the following scene (Spoiler alert:
Life mimics art or art mimics life?
In the movie, the crowd reacts in a mesmerizing way towards the announcement of the world-is-being-destroyed news with two sides being formed. And one of my little criticisms of the movie comes from this. The one side , is shown to be just rednecks who disapprove the theory and are convinced to not look up and see that the freaking comet is heading towards them. Let the record show that I believe there are stupid people on every side of the political spectrum (Yes , including me. There is just too much knowledge in this world for someone to consider themselves smart) Anyway. Moving on.
The politicians in power also made a catchy slogan for the rednecks; "Don't look up" which may be directly connected to not raising your head and seeing what the hell is happening in this world. People mindlessly following their politician of choice is the equilavent of googling what you want to hear and the search engine showing you just that.
On the other hand, we have the supporters who not only did they jump the bandawagon much later than they should have, they made stupid Tik Tok challenges and YouTube videos with the favourite excuse of our narcisstic generation which is to... Raise awareness. I fucking hate that phrase so much. There is one thing to donate to things, or to even support a cause but making tik tok challenges or doing videos of yourself and acting like you know what you are talking about when you just have read a few articles online is something that makes me wish this movie was real. Knowledge has turned into fun facts and trivia instead of actual knowledge.
This is it. You are not smarter than others just because you blindly follow your choice of someone popular. Science was wrong back in the day. It may even be wrong today. The criticality is something that is notably missing from today's world, since we all seem to follow basic patterns of thinking where we claim that we know things are not black and white, but then, we do not even apply that in our life. And then, people may go opposing the most common thinking just to stand out from the crowd and seem edgy. It seems like we can't think to save our life, or just accept the fact that some things are beyond our knowledge and our capacity.
The Hollywood treatment:
This is a bit of a paradox. In the movie we see the opposing sides come to a clash in a media war where everyone is fighting for their side as to if this comet is real or not. However, Hollywood, the money hungry fucks jump in by making a movie based on this whole event and showing us just how pretentious they are. Chris Evans nailed this scene by acting so douchey and pretentious that the viewer wants to punch their screen of choice. In addition, it perfectly parodies Hollywood celebrities who "voice their opinion" about shit that they have no idea, and promoting "no fighting" from their high horse. Celebrities have no idea why there is so much fighting amongst us normies, because they do not have to fight about anything. Nobody does if you they are rich.
If you want some anger motivation here you go.
The heroes of our time:
In a world where war is limited in the form of currency wars or is limited in third world countries where most of the world does not simply care (sorry, we share stories on our instagram accounts just to get a slight feeling that we are doing something while thinking that we look like Mother fucking Teresa to the world), heroes are hard to come by. All the role models are exposed thanks to the internet and the majority of them get cancelled. This was a subject explored in the movie where Ron Pearlman played a war hero who stole quotes from Saving Private Ryan and ended up shooting at the comet. Pretty funny scene.
It's everything about the stocks
Last but not least, my favourite part had to be Mark Rylance's performance as Peter Isherwell, the eccentric billionaire CEO of a fictional company called BASH. And holy shit, I am telling you I fucking loved how uneasy I felt whenever he appeared on screen. We live in a society that promotes the sigma grindset where people idolize CEOs and the working 24/7/365 mindset because "your competition is ahead of you" and stupid bs like that. Its pathetic. It's kind of crazy to me to see this since most of them do pretty horrible stuff and use the world as their personal playground.
And this was satirized perfectly as Isherwell's character as described by a YouTube comment which claims that Isherwell is "the hair style and business of Tim Cook, The fashion style of Steve Jobs, the social awkwardness of Mark Zuckerberg, the god/savior complex + Naivety of Elon Musk and the business savvy of Jeff Bezos all rolled up in one character". In a world plagued by overconsumption, CEOs nowadays have more strength that whole fucking countries and with that money, it is easy enough to say that they can do whatever the hell they want. And what they want, is for their stock prices to go up. In the movie, the first mission is almost ready to go and save the planet from the comet BUT Isherwell convinces the President to abort the mission because instead of destroying the comet, they could instead harvest it for its materials. Jesus. Christ.
Isherwell completely ignores other scientists, and goes even to the point to fire them for opposing the harvesting mission.
This perfectly shows the dellusions of grandeur of an individual with more power than their stupid little brain can handle. This is what we are dealing with, people who would do anything in their power to increase their already endless wealth and their stock prices. Even mess up with a world saving mission, just to get a few more billion in the bank.
Strap on people, our lives are going to be crazy in the next years with all the metaverse this and NFT that and how billionaires will manage to monetize more on these shitty practices. Hopefully a comet will start coming our way soon so the human species can maybe restart in a couple of billion years. Who knows, maybe we'll do better next time.