And be sure to watch the hit climate-crisis allegory.
“Don’t Look Up” is a film to be loved and hated.
Not love or hate in terms of entertainment value, although it’s plenty entertaining, with horrifying and amusing moments coming in turns.
No, this is love and hate in terms of the impeccably constructed and presented allegory.
“Don’t Look Up” takes viewers through all the steps of global catastrophe, from discovery of the problem to denial by politicians and citizens, from media making light of what’s coming to helpless activists screaming at cameras, and from rich folks whose true concern is enriching themselves further to a whole lot of people who would rather stick their heads in the sand than face up to, let alone deal with, reality.
And it unblinkingly takes the allegory all the way through to an alarming but highly logical conclusion.
In short, “Don’t Look Up” is perfect satire.
Whether it’s a huge comet screeching through space on a collision course with our planet or an incremental process of human-caused, self-destructive global warming, the results are the same: the end of life as we know it.
That’s the consensus of more than 99 percent of the world’s climate scientists, yet only 64 percent of Earth’s citizens view climate change as a “global emergency.” The rest are misinformed by science-denying elected officials and governments, and media that still behave as if the climate crisis is no big deal.
That’s probably why so many mainstream media film critics panned the film. They’re part of the media establishment that is so effectively and utterly skewered in the film, along with poll-watching politicians, unresponsive governments and I-won’t-believe-it-until-I-see-it citizens.
Meanwhile, it was the most watched film on Netflix the weekend it came out, and it’s currently the streaming service’s “second biggest film of all time.” Clearly there’s a lot to like, as other reviewers point out.
Besides, while “only” applies to the 64 percent, so does the exclamation point –
We’ve come a long way over the past five years, and that’s something to celebrate. But there’s so much further to go.
We are now beyond the point where individuals shutting lights off when we leave rooms or cutting out red meat will make a difference on the scale necessary to avert climate catastrophe. We need massive movement and action from governments, businesses, industries and groups of people around the world.
“Don’t Look Up” and stories like it help by providing more opportunities for us to examine global warming, ponder likely outcomes and talk about what’s happening with friends, family and colleagues. We need more of them.
It is not a perfect story, even by many environmental activists’ standards. It is not a perfect movie. Heck, it is not even a perfect disaster movie.
“Don’t Look Up” is perfect satire.
As such, it communicates inescapable truth.
So, yeah, I loved it and hated it simultaneously.
Loved because it elevates awareness of and discussion about climate change and the world’s inadequate response. Hated because of what it reveals about human beings and where we’re headed.
There’s an even more important truth: while the ending of “Don’t Look Up” may be logical, it’s not yet inevitable. There is still time for meaningful action.
And that’s what the film is really all about: time and action.
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