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Don’t Look Up takes a satirical look at how politicians, the media and society in general deal with planetary threats. In the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio plays an astronomer-scientist who tries to warn the US President of an approaching planet-killer comet speeding toward the earth. But no one seems to care.
Look Up! There's a Killer Comet Heading for Earth: Climate Change, Below2C

Don’t Look Up

With Don’t Look Up, writer-director Adam McKay set out to create a dark comedy that addresses the climate crisis head on. And to convey a sense of urgency, McKay makes the story about a gargantuan comet that will hit and destroy planet Earth in six months. The parallels between a comet hurtling toward Earth and the catastrophic impacts of climate breakdown are unavoidable.

“He [DiCaprio] saw what I saw, which was: you don’t tell the story of climate change, you tell something that’s a thinly disguised allegory for the climate crisis and you let the audience laugh.”  — writer-director Adam McKay

In the movie, science has become politicized, political leaders are pre-occupied with more immediate matters like mid-term elections and polls while the media trivializes and spins the impending doom to protect viewership and ratings. Sound familiar?

When told about the impending extinction-level event, President Janie Orlean (Meryl Streep) responds with a game plan to “sit tight and assess” until after the upcoming midterm elections. She complains that “the timing is just atrocious.”

“We’re in favor of the jobs the comet will create,” is one of the great lines in the movie, an obvious spoof on the job-creating potential of tackling climate change and the transition to a green future. Check out the trailer below.

Netflix Official Trailer
Standard YouTube Licence

The movie is a satire that mirrors in many ways what is happening in the real world. The frustration of the scientific community is palpable and the nonchalance of a culture focused on the here and now rather than the impending demise of the planet is downright pathetic.

“Look Up” is the real message

The real message of the film is not Don’t Look Up. It’s Look Up!

Look up at what our world leaders are doing and not doing. Look Up at the wasteful COP process which has now completed 26 climate summits since COP1 in Berlin in 1995 with little to show for it—carbon emissions continue to spiral out of control. Look up at the over-exploitation of our planet by the forces of capitalism and mass consumerism. Look up at the indifference, apathy and numbness of society sleepwalking toward extinction.

Look Up! There’s a speeding comet heading our way. It’s climate change and its impacts are already being felt. It’s a sobering message and if we continue to ignore the crisis, it will soon be too late.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Creative Commons License

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