Greedy politicians, vapid celebrities, and the clueless media and public. What is the movie Don’t Look Up trying to tell us?
A mountain sized comet is hurtling towards earth. Scientists try to get the news out and warn the public against it, yet everyone was either too involved in political campaigns or too concerned with their self interests to care.
As a satirical film, this movie could be interpreted in numerous different ways. When I watched it for the first time, I thought about the Covid-19 crisis around the world – how people have protested against wearing masks as a political movement, and how some radicals have claimed that the pandemic is fake, although it is clearly backed up by science. When I asked my friends what they thought of the movie, I found out that they thought about how the movie is a metaphor for climate change. And when I gave it further thought, I started to realize that the movie also warns us against the dangers of capitalism of big corporations around the world today.
Viewers of the movie say that “it is frighting how much it reflects today’s society”. It seems to me that every character in this movie resembles some group of people we see in our world. When Dr. Randall Mindy was scrambling to get politicians to act and for the public to believe him, most people were still immersed in their political campaigns and in protesting on behalf of their politicians, while the politicians themselves were too wrapped up in saving their reputations to take any action. Meanwhile, big industry owners and capitalists like Peter Ishwell were trying to obtain wealth from the minerals of the comet that was coming for the lives of the public. It is ridiculous that capitalists were still only concerned about their profits while the whole planet was about to go extinct.
As the name of the movie, Don’t Look Up, suggests, we are constantly manipulated by technology and political campaigns such that we are blinded from seeing the truth of actual current events. When people choose to support their politicians and protest along with the “don’t look up” movement in the movie, they are already being manipulated by political campaigns. The purpose of the movement was to keep the public suppressed under authority’s control to and shun them from the truth, that an Everest-sized mountain is going to destroy Earth. Yet people still chose to support the movement.
These people represent the negligence of the general public in today’s society when it comes to global issues. In our world today, the topic of global warming is not new. As scientists have said, “[climate change] is the biggest story in human history, and arguably the biggest threat since the Chicxulub comet 66 million years ago”. The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly visible as sea levels are rising at a faster rate, and the rate of sea ice melting is increasing. However, it seems like this climate change crisis isn’t a part of what people today prioritize as the main issue in the world. Politicians are too involved in their political campaigns to make any drastic changes.
The ending of the movie surprised me the most. As I watched it with my family, we all expected the ending to mimic an average Sci-Fi film, in which the main character heroically saves the world. However, the tragedy of the comet crashing into Earth’s surface and causing global extinction made the ending rawly realistic, arousing our terror and making us realize that this movie, albeit a satirical film, is a warning of downward trends that are actually happening in our world today.
The comet in the movie serves as a warning that we, as a society, have all the technology, money, and media to save the planet from global warming, yet the public is so immersed in pop culture and political campaigns to take notice, support, or to take any action. What I believe we should take away from this tragic story is to learn to seek truths for ourselves instead of blindly following trends the people around us are following.