“Don’t Look Up” Is a Climate Denial Satire and Now the Top Film on Netflix

by | Dec 27, 2021 | Climate & Environment

Photo: Netflix

“Don’t Look Up” Is a Climate Denial Satire and Now the Top Film on Netflix

by | Dec 27, 2021 | Climate & Environment

Photo: Netflix
In a close parallel to current state of climate denial, Don't Look Up's scientists, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio, discover that few people can be bothered to care, let alone act, in the face of impending annihilation.

The new feature film “Don’t Look Up,” a dark comedy satirizing the complacency and mendacity of elites in the face of an existential threat to human civilization, is now the most popular movie on Netflix worldwide, according to data compiled by FlixPatrol.

“Absolutely love to see a climate movie hitting this huge a global audience on the world’s largest platform,” journalist David Sirota, who co-created the story for the film, tweeted Monday. “An amazing success for the team that made the movie and for everyone who has been spreading the word.”

An allegory of the human-caused climate emergency and other civilizational dangers, “Don’t Look Up” follows two low-level astronomers as they attempt to alert political leaders and the rest of the world to a massive comet barreling toward Earth.

The film’s scientists, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio, soon discover that few can be bothered to care, let alone act, in the face of impending annihilation.

“This is the worst news in the history of humanity, and they just blew us off,” Dr. Randall Mindy, DiCaprio’s character, says following a meeting at the White House.

As the movie’s political leaders dither, Peter Isherwell—a mega-rich Silicon Valley tech guru played by Mark Rylance—discovers that the apocalyptic comet contains more than $30 trillion worth of precious metals needed to manufacture electronic goods. Buoyed by that revelation, the federal government proceeds to partner with Isherwell on a plan to break the comet into pieces and mine its contents.

“This might all sound far-fetched—the stuff of comedy whimsy—were it not for the fact that Isherwell is clearly a sendup of real-world tech billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos who are very much convinced that saving the human species from extinction might be extraordinarily lucrative,” Tyler Austin Harper, assistant professor of environmental studies at Bates College, wrote in his review of the film for Slate.

Watch the trailer:

 

Adam McKay, the film’s director, told Space.com in a recent interview that the plot of “Don’t Look Up” is “a Clark Kent-level disguise for the climate crisis.”

“We’re not trying that hard with disguising it,” he said. “You hear the news not mention [the climate emergency] and then they go right to a commercial for a gas-driven car or an oil company. It’s conflict of interest, it’s careerism. It’s a lot of people who are financially insecure. And it takes a lot of guts to raise your hand at that newspaper meeting and go, ‘Why don’t we have a giant headline that says, ‘Oh, my God, we’re all going to die!'”

But as The Intercept‘s Jon Schwarz wrote in his review of the movie, “The good news, if there is any, is that when the lights come up at the end, you’ll realize that in reality we’re only half an hour into this story.”

“We can still save ourselves if we want to,” he added. “And part of that will have to be much more human creativity like this, in service of understanding the horrifying destination toward which we’re heading.”

<a href="http://commondreams.org" target="_blank">Common Dreams</a>

Common Dreams

Common Dreams has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 1997. They are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

1 Comment

  1. Susan Rice

    satire husband and I watched it and certainly a satire and one has to be brain dead not to realize it is what is happening now.
    Oil companies and billionaires who buy our governmental representatives control our government. This is thanks to the un-Supreme Court, who gave permission for Citizens United so the rich can give loads of money and make our representatives.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us

Related Articles

Nov 24 2022

Dayton Beach Shows that We Might Want to Rethink the Coastal Living

Living by the sea has a strong appeal in Florida—beautiful beaches, ocean views, and often pleasant breezes. However, there are also risks, and they are exacerbated by...
Nov 09 2022

Climate Change: The Time for Rapid Transition to Renewables Is Here

The broad spectrum of rapidly-worsening climate risks facing the U.S. confirms that we’re past the point of incremental changes. The worst consequences of climate...
Oct 23 2022

What Are Hydrogen Hubs and Why Are States Chasing Funds for Them?

Colorado is leading a four-state collaboration to develop alternate fuel technology based on hydrogen—which releases no carbon emissions when burned and could be a...
Oct 19 2022

New Jersey Files Suit on 5 Big Oil Giants and Their Industry Lobby for Climate Fraud

The suit charges that oil companies including ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total have known since as far back as the early 1970s that burning fossil fuels emits greenhouse...
Oct 07 2022

Listen: How Secretive Lawsuits by Fossil Fuel Companies Hold Back Climate Action

A study estimates that countries could face up to US$340 billion in financial and legal risk from cancelling fossil fuel projects covered by investor-state dispute...
Oct 04 2022

Can a New California Law Slow the “Plastics Pandemic?”

No one knows for sure how much plastic is in the world’s oceans, but in 2015 the best guess was 150 million metric tons, growing by eight to 11 million metric tons a...
Oct 03 2022

Babcock Ranch: A Case Study for Solar Power and Planning for the Worst

Not far from devastated Fort Meyers and Cape Coral, Babcock Ranch only had minor damage from Hurricane Ian and never lost power or internet access. The reasons for that...
Oct 01 2022

Chevron Admits It Is ‘Actively Murdering You’ in a Viral Parody Ad

Produced by Adam McKay, the director of “Don’t Look Up,” the ad assures viewers Chevron has “billions and billions of dollars to pay for this...
Sep 30 2022

The Practice of Gas Flaring Releases Five Times More Methane Than Previously Thought

A new study shows there is a lot more methane being added to the atmosphere than currently accounted for in any inventories or estimates. And the source is obvious and...
Visitors on a bridge over the South Yuba River. A 2017 atmospheric river event across Northern California brought rain in quantities equal to those in a megaflood scenario, but the fact that it fell over 80 days prevented a thousand-year event.(California Department of Water Resources)
Sep 12 2022

Climate Change and the Increasing Probabilities of a Megaflood

As historic floods beset several states, a new study finds that warming could make a California “megaflood” more dangerous, and likely, than previously...
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This