REVIEW: How ‘Don’t Look Up’ missed their own point astronomically

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Impawards, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up” is a disaster, from the artificial editing to the overt pretentiousness.

Josie Olderog, Feature Editor

Behind the facade of a star-studded cast, one of Netflix’s newest releases “Don’t Look Up” is truly a hot mess. As a satire with political and environmental messages, this movie seemed to be what the world needs right now. Unfortunately, the mark was missed – astronomically. 

The movie follows two scientists, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo Dicaprio, who have discovered a comet that is plummeting towards Earth, set to destroy mankind in the span of six months. To their dismay, the public is resistant to the ill-fated news.

While the basis of the movie is somewhat clever and nuanced, the out-of-touch jokes, prolonged list of esteemed Hollywood actors and a touch of pretentious self-importance make it leave a bad taste in viewers’ mouth.The movie often feels like a Saturday Night Live skit – and not one of the good ones. The blatantly unfunny jokes had viewers wondering if they had missed the punchline.

Perhaps clever comedy and toning down the A-listers would have made the important messages easier to swallow without cringing in the process, but some other issues make it seem otherwise. 

One being the editing; the editing of “Don’t Look Up” is generally the same as the premise: a disaster. While some understandable editing mistakes are there (including a three-frame shot of the film crew), the intentional editing concepts are what truly lower the quality. The movie already runs too long at two hours and 13 minutes, and virtually useless shots of bugs make it feel like three.

“Don’t Look Up” feels like what rich people decide to participate in and put their money into to feel better about themselves. And by doing so, they never actually do anything to help the very issues they oppose in the film besides awareness. 

It is essentially impossible for Hollywood of all places to effectively and seamlessly critique topics like climate change, capitalism and government corruption without a hint of hypocrisy and entitlement. And while their acting may be exceptional, actors worth millions who are living in the American oasis of fortune are the foreground of this film. They may never understand the very points they are making. 

And this is true for many movies, especially within Hollywood. A-list actors may advocate for climate change in light of their new movie, but then fly to its premiere in a private jet. How can people who cannot relate to an issue commentate on it effectively and accurately?

Senior Ethan Kilcoin, leader of the Film Club at PV, had similar thoughts on the movie. “It’s a movie about not being elitist made by the most elitist group of actors in Hollywood,” he stated. “[but], I liked the message of how screwed we are. It seemed well thought out even if unsubtle.” 

And this is true; there were some brilliant points made in the film. The mixing of many political issues (such as the environment, capitalism and the toxicity of the media) and the way they clash with each other brought nuanced ideas. Additionally, the acting from the two main characters fits the style of the movie exceptionally well with just the right amount of emotion. 

This movie is not idealistic. It has the right idea about so many of the relevant issues plaguing the United States. It could have been the movie that summarizes the horrific political climate that America experiences firsthand everyday, but the execution was lacking by coming off as very pretentious.