Don’t Look Up “Don’t Look Up”

This star-filled film about disasters from space is a waste of talent and time



The new Netflix film is a hit or Miss. The film is indeed good on paper but when it hit the screen it was a while diffrent story and didn’t get the reviews that it was hoping for. Countless amazing actors and actresses but some didn’t really hit the mark.

Kaya Paluda, Editor in Chief

Netflix is no stranger to Oscar-worthy films, as recent years saw the studio distribute Best Picture nominees Roma and The Irishman. Netflix’s latest film to get award buzz is Don’t Look Up, an Adam McKay film starring Jennifer Lawrence, Merryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Leonardo DiCaprio, and even Arriana Grande. Yet for such a lauded film,  it gets messy and uninteresting after the first half-hour.  McKay takes an interesting premise for a film and tramples it to death. When watching this film about the end of the world, I was just waiting until the end of the movie.

Don’t Look Up is especially disappointing because it starts so well. Two scientists (played by Lawrence and DeCaprio) discover a large comet on a collision course with Earth–in six months, everyone on Earth will die. Automatically, they try to sound the alarm that the comet’s impact will wipe out mankind.  However, their many efforts to try to warn society fail again and again. The public doesn’t believe the scientists are right, and not even the President (Streep) will listen to their warnings of doom.

This is a very interesting setup for a film, but that setup is quickly squandered. The desperation of the scientists gets more and more outlandish until they are finally believed. The film takes a hard shift here, as one minute the scientists are pariahs and the next they are celebrities. So as not to spoil the film, all I will say is that the rest of the feature draws out the idea of celebrity culture in a way that is neither original nor entertaining, which leads to the predictable, disappointing end.

What’s interesting about Don’t Look Up is that, despite having nothing interesting to say about celebrity culture, they know enough about it to fill the cast with A-listers. From Timothée Chlamet to Kid Cudi, every frame has a famous face and every single actor plays their part to perfection. While the acting is one of the best parts of the film, its held back by poor character development. While our two scientists are fleshed out, few other characters are more than charactures and many have no purpose at all.

Take Jonah Hill, who plays the President’s spoiled rich son. Hill creates a perfect performance of a vain politico who has never been told “No,” but the character has nothing to do in the film. Everything Hill’s character adds is already established by his mother, so this ultimately feels like an exercise in wasting talent than engaging an audience. Despite its rapid pace, the movie feels long with its use of these throwaway characters that feel like they only distract from the main point of the film.

And what is the point of the film? Climate change. The comet about to hit Earth is a thin metaphor for the global climate disaster, with all of the naysayers representing the politicians and people ignoring the problem until it was too late. As our community just had a devestating wildfire in December, I can appreciate the allogory the film presents. Yet the message is ultimately lost when it is beaten to death in service of characters with no development. There are a hundred ways to get from the beginning to the end of this film, and it looks like Adam McKay picked the most convoluted, frustrating route. This movie could cut an hour out easily and nothing would be missed.

While there are enjoyable moments in the film, I can’t recommend this film. The idea of the film is great, but poor execution wears the idea down until there’s nothing left–no purpose, no goal, and ultimately no interest from the viewer. What really made this movie bearable is the phenominal talent brought to the project, and Don’t Look Up may be a worthwhile watch to anyone interested in acting technique or who is a fan of one of the big names on the poster. Ultimately, the length of the film wastes the time of the audience and wastes the supurb acting on subpar plot.