A lot of films have already been made about asteroids threatening to hit the Earth and destroy it, and let’s face it, we love apocalypses. You don’t have to go too far back in time to find films like Deep Impact (1998), Armageddon (1998) or the more recent Greenland: The Last Refuge (2020). However, while it is true that in these films this theme was addressed through action, adventure or human reactions to the arrival of the end of the world, Don’ t look up (Don’t look up, 2021) incorporates irony as a novelty. Humour as a vehicle to show this possible Apocalypse as a critique of society.
It is logical that cinema has succumbed to asteroids and other celestial bodies orbiting close to Earth to the point of having turned these phenomena into a veritable gold mine. We are dealing with something unlikely but not impossible. And that fascinates us. In fact, the UN General Assembly, in order to raise awareness of this latent danger, established 30 June as International Asteroid Day.
Don’t look up: “Please don’t scare the population”
The beginning of Don’t look up is well known to lovers of science fiction films centred on major catastrophes. Two brilliant astronomers discover that a comet will destroy planet Earth in a few months. So far, so pretty much as usual. The authorities should be alerted to warn the population. What if humanity has to be made aware of what is coming. But what happens when those in power ignore the issue? What happens when the media take the warning as a joke? Well, it is clear that nobody cares. That it is better to look down. In the end it will be true that ignorance is bliss.
Don’t Look Up is a very funny comedy that delves into profound and highly topical issues such as fake news, the sometimes abusive use we make of social networks, the management we do (and they do) of the flow of information and, above all, how the population is capable of looking the other way when warned about a danger, such as climate change, to give an example.
Directed by Adam McKay, responsible, among other films, for The Vice of Power (Vice, 2018) and La the Big Short (The Big Short, 2015) don’t Look Up, it features a star-studded cast of Hollywood stars. From Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as the concerned and committed astronomers, to the hilarious performances of Meryl Streep (great as the President of the United States) and Cate Blanchett (hilarious as a TV variety show journalist), among others. A more than original script and convincing performances to show us human stupidity in times of crisis. Don’t Look Up is a crude satire on modern society, which is only concerned with frivolities.
Parallels with the present day
And perhaps one of the things that have helped the film’s success the most is the similarities that the viewer can establish with the socio-political panorama. The manipulation of information through social networks, the disregard that is still given to problems such as global warming or the denialism in the face of the Pandemic generated by Covid-19 (Pandemic films). In short, society’s scepticism towards science. A reality that, on occasions, borders on the absurd. A hallucinating metaphor for our times and a perfect example of how a society can disconnect itself from real problems. Laughing for not crying.
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