Day Sixteen: Don’t Look Up (March of the Movies 2022)

With this entry, I am officially over halfway through the March of the Movies! Should it continue to greet me with films like Don’t Look Up, someone please help me.

From here, I will begin to sprinkle in some Best Picture nominations, leading up until the Oscars itself on the 27th. I already did so earlier with The Power of the Dog; I also intend to watch a few others (but likely won’t watch all of them). So far, I believe two are deserving and now two are not. We’ll see how that changes as time passes.

Copy-Pasted Synopsis

Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.” –IMDb

Incredibly Cynical Review

CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD. CONSERVATIVES BAD.

Actual Review

Please excuse my all-caps tirade above. Truth is, Don’t Look Up is founded upon some very poignant and blatant political beliefs. What my cynical review fails to elaborate on, however, is the nuance attributed to the film that makes it more than just a giant middle-finger to one side of the political coin in America.

It also calls big tech industries bad and the general public intentionally ignorant of the disasters we’re perfectly capable of preventing. Just a bunch of sheep suckling on the drip-fed gossip of high-profile celebrities and good vibes, bro. Humanity is littered with cartoon characters and we should all pay better attention to the real things that matter.

Like technology!

Preach!

I may be a tad political over the course of this post; after all, this film is very, very, very politically charged. Because of this, I feel I should mention that I am generally left-leaning. This film is technically preaching to my choir—that because I am more liberal, I am the side of righteousness… given I do something about it, I guess.

This sensation is what the film is founded upon, and also why it’s so polarizing. Well, it’s polarizing to a degree—on Letterboxd, for example, it has very middling reviews. Alternatively, it’s nominated for Best Picture. Clearly there’s a divide here.

Said sensation is also my most major criticism of it. Many other reviewers I’ve seen on the Letterboxd site has called it “smug,” “pretentious,” and “self-serving”; I’m in agreement. If you are at all willing to listen to both sides of any particular argument, you’re part of the problem. One is clearly wrong and one is clearly right. Everything that this film stands for is attempting to show you how terrible and unashamedly inhumane those of dissenting beliefs are.

Well, this is awkward.

Now, you can argue that a lot of films are this way. Many dystopian stories have an underlying message that Capitalism is the root cause of society’s collapse—convenience and hedonism overriding basic humanity through aggressive profiteering on the public’s naivety. An abundance of these types of stories is probably what gave rise to right-wing groups referring to the film industry as “Liberal Hollywood.” Don’t Look Up isn’t really different in this regard.

Where it differs is its attitude. Everything about the writing, the characters, and the not-subtle nudges at painting the scientists within the film, who are trying to warn people of impending danger, as heroes is as blatant as fanfiction. Hell, this is basically political fanfiction. A political cartoon you’d find on social media painting the “adversary” as a loser. You could almost consider it propaganda.

Yet there are trinkets of things present that are worth adhering to, as per my own political beliefs. That we don’t need to be hiding behind veils of ignorance when there is evidence that we should change the way we interact with the world. Climate change is not as quick and simple as a comet heading to Earth, but it’s shown through extensive research to be a legitimate problem that many corporations are all but ignoring. “Going green” is something we should be attentive of.

More of a blue, but she got the spirit.

Like with films that are too blunt with its messaging or writing, I similarly feel as though the direction of the film is treating me like I’m stupid. It’s so clearly intending to prove a point that one can almost see the silhouette of director Adam McKay stomping around like a kaiju in a big city, ranting about all the injustice he believes in. Had a similar vibe to Promising Young Woman.

Some Good, Though

When all is said and done, I can see bits of humanity shining through. Yes, a majority of the cast are cartoon characters dolled up to make a point, but others seem genuine. Obviously, the point of the film is to make the scientist characters real—even if one follows a stereotypical path to redemption.

In particular, Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio’s characters are decently rounded. Two resplendent souls in a society of idiots. Helped in large part by each respective actor’s performance, I was invested enough to see them at least go out with no (or few) regrets. The endings scenes are far better than all that came before, which is at least indicative of my desire to see them grow.

What a fake-looking plane.

Despite how long the film is (and it feels so plenty), it’s relatively entertaining and pretty “safe” for consumption. A lot of jokes, easy to understand motivations, and clearly(!) people to root against. Those disgusted by all that occurs will be happy with the very end, as well. Well, happy as can be given all that occurs. (Try and guess.)

Oh, quick thing: Sometimes this film looks really bad, too. Like, unbelievably fake and shiny. Kind of distracting. Can’t tell if it was intentional.

Conclusion

Don’t Look Up is like a puppet show for adults where all the bad guys wear red (conservative color) and act like psychopaths so that humanity can mope when they had a chance to undo it by listening to the good guys. At least it was kind of fine in variously sized aspects.

Final Score: 5/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

Thank you for your time. Have a great timezone.

2 thoughts on “Day Sixteen: Don’t Look Up (March of the Movies 2022)

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