Don’t Look Up

Why did I see Don’t Look Up? It had the right mix, I suppose. It had quite the cast of star actors and actresses in it (whose performances I’ll mention later). It seemed to have a fun and timely premise. And it was easily accessible to me, available on a streaming platform to which I already subscribe.

My rating: 75 out of 100

The premise, as stated by IMdB: “Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.” Mild spoilers: There’s some disbelief.

I was amused by the way they took the “Chicken Little” concept and mixed in the “fake news” / “distrust of science” from the past few years and turned it into a somewhat absurdist comedy in the hopes of putting up a mirror in which the world might see itself. Whether writer/director Adam McKay’s main focus was on environmental issues or the erosion of civility and media trustworthiness, I’ll spare you all my long, political diatribe and simply say that the film didn’t really accomplish the goal of any introspection to any significant degree. This is the first time I haven’t been impressed by an Adam McKay film.

The movie was well-acted by its cast. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence portrayed the protagonists adequately, but the way they were written was to the film’s detriment. Jennifer Lawrence’s character lost a considerable amount of steam after an initial failure to convey the apocalyptic message. As the spotlight turned towards DiCaprio’s character, the choice in direction for Lawrence’s character seemed uninspired. The extra depth given to DiCaprio’s character, as he succumbs to some of the perks of his newfound fame, also took away from the satirical “punch”.

The supporting cast were great. Meryl Streep as The President Of The United States was fantastic, and I’d be completely on-board for a prequel movie with her and Jonah Hill in his role as her advisor and son, empowered by nepotism and completely incompetent. Without giving any spoilers, what happens to him when his on-screen time is over is perfect.

Mark Rylance does a good job, as per usual, but his character was a bit too over-the-top, and I’ve seen better depictions of the “tech sector genius” character in at least two other movies since the pandemic started.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the amazing Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry are great in their roles as television show anchors. If that aforementioned prequel movie with Meryl Streep ever happens, these two should absolutely be part of it. (Now we just need to wish it into reality… or create a clever hashtag and tweet it into being!)

Timothée Chalamet didn’t have much of a role in the film, so I can’t speak much to his performance other than to say that it was part of the uninspired storyline arc for Jennifer Lawrence’s character that I felt was a less interesting part of the film.

While I typically don’t fault movies for being too long, this could’ve been much better had it been about 30 minutes shorter. There was plenty of content that, had it been cut, the whole movie would’ve likely flowed better and made some of the characters more interesting (though, perhaps, with less depth). The satire was too thick and by the end of the film, when we should be caring about the fates of some of the characters, I found myself increasingly disinterested in them.

With one more Best Picture nominee left to see from this year’s list, DON’T LOOK UP is currently my lowest rated… which means it will probably win.

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