The Netflix Original Don’t Look Up carried heavy expectations of being an incredible, satirical movie reflecting the polarization of today’s political climate pertaining to disasters. The excitement around the movie was driven by the decorated cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande and others. After scoring some of the biggest actors in Hollywood, everyone assumed that the film, directed by Adam McKay, would be nothing but great. However, it would be an understatement to say that the movie was a disappointment.
The film follows DiCaprio and Lawrence, two low-level astronomers, as they discover a planet-sized comet barreling through space on course to hit the Pacific Ocean and eliminate humanity. However, this pressing issue of extinction is politicized by the ridiculous president played by Meryl Streep. The public takes three different angles toward the issue: some refuse to recognize the comet, others want to destroy it and a group elects to harvest the resources of the comet. A billionaire CEO of the leading technology company leads the category and convinces the president to choose his plan.
McKay attempts to draw the similarities between the problems of extinction and political polarization as it pertains to COVID-19. Also, he tries to expose the immortal life of current politics. However, the movie becomes too populated with comedy that the main objective becomes completely abandoned. The president employs her son played by Jonah Hill whose character is exclusively present for comedic relief. This dynamic along with her persona makes Streep a completely unrealistic president. The comedy begins to overpower the movie in a way that the watcher forgets that the fate of the universe is on the line. Instead of being a serious movie that uses comedy as satire, the film becomes a ridiculous comedy.
Along with the increased comedy, the plot goes wrong with too many sub storylines in one movie. The long two and a half-hours is plagued by too many stories to keep track of. DiCaprio has an affair with one of the ridiculous television anchors while Lawrence is ostracized and takes Chalamet as a love interest. Even though this movie goes in so many different directions, McKay tries to pull it all together in a manner that just seems unrealistic, as DiCaprio’s wife takes him back in a matter of minutes. Another plotline emerges about halfway through the movie as the billionaire CEO attempts to pull together a plan to harvest comets for monetary gain. The ambitious plot is just too much to watch on screen.
The acting obviously is not the problem in the film. DiCaprio does a good job playing a stressed astronomer, but the character he plays is not extremely emotional. There is a scene though when he breaks down, showcasing Leo’s incredible talent. Lawrence does a great job with her character, and Streep of course plays the persona well, but the plot makes the character too ridiculous to take seriously.
Lastly, the ending is nothing short of bizarre. Streep and the billionaire CEO fly into space leaving everyone else to suffer the disaster. Eventually, they all emerge on a planet in the nude, and Streep gets eaten by a bird creature, a simply weird ending to a bad movie.