What do you get when you combine some of the biggest names in Hollywood with one of the greatest plots of the year? Surprisingly, a greater disaster than it’s foreboding synopsis. 😭
Don’t Look Up follows two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.
Directed by comedic genius, Adam McKay, I had high hopes that this would be the uncomfortable dramady we needed to close out 2021. After making highly acclaimed comedies such as 2004’s Anchorman in 2004, then graduating to crafting Academy Award nominees like The Big Short (2015) and Vice (2018), I figured this film would be smooth sailing to a homerun hit. It’s already garnered a wide range of reactions from both critics and general audiences, the former criticizing the movie while the latter applauding it. Where do I stand? I’m a critic, duh.
In the film’s production notes, McKay says he was inspired to write Don’t Look Up after reading journalist David Wallace-Wells’ 2019 book The Uninhabitable Earth. He admits his initial intentions were to make a straightforward drama, but insisted we needed a few laughs after the year we’d had. Totally agree. BUT, with that being said, the inconsistency in tone is starting to make sense here.
The film does boast it’s cast of Academy Award winners, with leads like Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo Dicaprio, and supporting players like Merryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Johnah Hill, Mark Rylance, and Timothee Chalamet. Wow, right?🤩
I’ve read plenty negative reviews that argue that the movie is too shrill, to unsubtle, and these are all right. But, I’ve also read positive reviews that commend this film for its utmost importance of art imitating life. We live in a society in which, despite extraordinarily clear, present, and worsening climate danger, more than half of Republican members of Congress still say climate change is a hoax. For those who dismiss Don’t Look Up for its obvious message, shame on you.
It’s a shame the amount of shit Leo has to put up with just to make people care about climate change with the bloated metaphor of this movie.
This movie is a pontification. And it’s excessive. Which I’m totally okay with. But, here are my thoughts.
Maybe I’m being too critical, but is this movie trying to be the Dr. Strangelove of our generation? If so, it pales in comparison. The film focuses entirely on the USA perspective, which, I get, is the point. We’re self-involved to the max. Unfortunately, the editing here is trash. McKay continuously shows shots from around the world, or of random animals, trying to pull at my heart strings, but I’m wondering who the hell put this film together? A college student?
As Rolling Stone poignantly writes, “It’s a 2-hour long lecture masquerading as a satire.” While it’s meant to have hints of comedy (Jonah Hill, I see and love you), I hardly laughed at all. Are we supposed to? If you look at the script, yeah, we are. We. Get It. The humor is in the catastrophic plot that’s inevitable in our world. We are all evil, corrupt beings that are destroying planet Earth. I. Get. It.
“Don’t Look Up is a blunt instrument in lieu of a sharp razor, and while McKay may believe that we’re long past subtlety, it doesn’t mean that one man’s wake-up-sheeple howl into the abyss is funny, or insightful, or even watchable. It’s a disaster movie in more ways than one. Should you indeed look up, you may be surprised to find one A-list bomb of a movie, all inchoate rage and flailing limbs, falling right on top of you.” via Rolling Stone
With the wrong actors, this would have been more of a chore to watch than it was already. A-listers across the board here have little room to save this film, and with such a bloated run-time, it’s hard to stay focused. Not only that, but the more we learn about each character, the more bored I became with them and their stories.
Nominations will be thrown at this movie largely due to its message, but let’s not forget a nod to Leo, who should be given an award mostly for pretending to like women his own age. Just kidding, I love you, Leo. ❤
This is a well-conceived movie with poor execution. Whether that lies in the script (lack of editing, dialogue), or direction, I’m not entirely sure. There’s a lot to digest with this one. Maybe if you put this idea in the hands of a more matured filmmaker (think of Spielberg, Cameron, or even David Fincher), maybe I would have liked this more. Sorry, not sorry.