Opinion | We Need a Second Cut of ‘Don’t Look Up’

The new movie Don’t Look Up, about a planet-killing comet colliding with trivial America, is a bit of a fiasco — its RottenTomatoes.com score is only 55 percent recent — but a clear cultural success. In a world where non-superhero movies can hardly make a ripple, it has shattered Netflix’s viewing record and launched a host of arguments and film critics — some of which are politically unpredictable, including left-leaning criticism and right-leaning admiration.

Officially the movie is an allegory about climate change, a perception that its director Adam McKay confirmed in an online sparring with his critics. McKay recently tweeted, “If you don’t have at least a little ember of concern about climate collapse (or US swing), I’m not sure ‘look for’ makes sense. It’s like a robot watching a love story.” Why are their faces so handy? “

However, art has a way of escaping from the intentions of its creators. Despite McKay’s tweets, his comet script is a lousy climate-defying allegory, for reasons that New York Magazine’s Eric Levits penned in one of the film’s best responses as a potential interference in politics. But the pandemic that arrived before production even started turned out to be better suited to the allegory – a fast-moving and unexpected threat rather than a long-term challenge. And in the end, Don’t Look Up is most effective when it’s just a movie about the topic in Mackay’s tweet — the idea of ​​”swinging” America, with the specific existential threat almost accidental to the image of systemic failure.

I think that’s the biggest reason the film is a commercial success and conversation fodder even for people who don’t like it: Because it opens one of the widest lenses on American decadence in years, “The Wire” and “The Sopranos,” both on HBO.

However, I’m still one of the critics who thought the film ultimately failed, because his drive to charge everyone, from TV news to social media, went against his desire to deliver a pious message about listening to science. The latter impulse ensures that his spelling is gentler when he takes on the expert class, the academic-industrial complex. And the film’s plot eventually turns into one terrible decision by a populist president, a systematic critique that has been sacrificed for the sake of ideological scoring.

But since the movie approx The overall picture of the decadence we need, I’m going to give you some textual processing, and give you the “Don’t Look Up” clip that would have been, had someone hired me to consult. Here it goes:

Chapter 1: The comet has been discovered by obsessed astronomy buffs who comb through telescope footage the government collects but don’t bother examining it. Their findings have been promoted by a mix of doomsday preparers and tech brethren, while academic authorities dismiss the allegations as misinformation and Twitter users censor users who insist the comet will hit Earth.

Chapter 2: A group of Harvard astronomers confirm the terrible path of a comet, and suddenly the media flips a dime and starts to exaggerate the threat. But the president, a right-wing populist aiming for re-election, prefers to delay dealing with it, so she is promoting a mysterious astronomer from Bible College who believes the chance of influence is less than 10 percent.

Chapter 3: After nationwide protests, the president reverses course and announces a massive nuclear strike. Media darling, however, the NASA chief insists that detonating a comet will rain shrapnel and kill a lot of people, and you need a more limited hit—the subject of his own thesis, as it happens—that cuts it. a path. Fox News disparages him, but the mainstream media insist his strategy is just science and no serious person can go against it. So the United States tried to carry out his plan – but it failed utterly, because his thesis was in fact based on fraudulent experiments that were never repeated outside his laboratory.

Chapter 4: The President Now Orders the Full Detonation Strike, But It Also Fails – Because most nuclear weapons don’t work, the military fails to check its arsenal because that portion of the budget has been spent hiring influential TikTok to do a new job offer for General Z. In desperation, the government turns To a technical magician a la Elon Musk, whose Great Bore drill promises to deliver a warhead into the heart of a comet. Unfortunately, he oversees the mission himself, but things go awry when he gets distracted by the raging Twitter war.

Chapter Five: Out of Options, part of America pretends the guilty will not come, while another part joins a cult holding mass penance ceremonies for the sins of white patriarchy. At the last minute, a group of Chinese drones boarded to meet the comet and shred it, letting its pieces fall into the Pacific Ocean to be mined by Chinese robots in the deep seas – but the “accidentally” showers hit the continental US, collapsing our infrastructure and leaving the former superpower in the dark.

List balances, in Chinese. I’ll see you all at the Oscars.

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