"Don't Look Up" is a 2021 American satirical science fiction film written, produced, and directed by Adam McKay. It is about two astronomers who try to warn the world about a cataclysmic event - a comet several kilometers wide is heading directly towards Earth.
The story is an allegory for climate change and it's message is that society should wake up to the reality of climate change before it's too late.
The film stars environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence.
The supporting cast includes Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi, Himesh Patel, Melanie Lynskey, Cate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep.
On January 5, 2022, Netflix has stated that "Don't Look Up" set a new record for the most viewing hours in a single week, making it the third most-watched Netflix program in the company's history by that point in time.
As an environmentalist, I really enjoyed the movie and for a while (before I learned of this movie) I was hoping that Leonardo DiCaprio could do a big film with an environmental message. This was it. It was spot on.
I think the cast did a great performance and they really illustrated the long-term frustration of climate scientists and environmentalists alike.
Leonardo DiCaprio has spread awareness about climate change for many years now.
I wrote an article about his 2016 climate change documentary Before the Flood, another film that I highly recommend. In this documentary Leonardo DiCaprio discusses climate change with people such as Barack Obama and Elon Musk.
DiCaprio introduced the film during the European premiere in London in October 2016 as follows:
"Before The Flood is the product of an incredible three-year journey that took place with my co-creator and director Fisher Stevens. We went to every corner of the globe to document the devastating impacts of climate change and questioned humanity's ability to reverse what may be the most catastrophic problem mankind has ever faced. There was a lot to take in. All that we witnessed on this journey shows us that our world's climate is incredibly interconnected and that it is at urgent breaking point. ... We wanted to create a film that gave people a sense of urgency, that made them understand what particular things are going to solve this problem. We bring up the issue of a carbon tax, for example, which I haven't seen in a lot of documentaries. Basically, sway a capitalist economy to try to invest in renewables, to bring less money and subsidies out of oil companies. These are the things that are really going to make a massive difference. ... We need to use our vote ... We cannot afford to have political leaders out there that do not believe in modern science or the scientific method or empirical truths ... We cannot afford to waste time having people in power that choose to believe in the 2 percent of the scientific community that is basically bought off by lobbyists and oil companies."
I remember a point in the film "Don't Look Up" in which people who did not want to take action stated that the science about the comet collision was not 100% certain. This reminds me of the issue of climate change in which detractors say that the scientific consensus is not exactly 100% and that we should therefore not take action. These climate change deniers usually point to a few scientists (who are often paid by the fossil fuel industry) that deny the reality of climate change (Merchants of Doubt is a great documentary about this type of denial).
The evidence of climate change is overwhelming and it is clear that we need to take action before it is too late.
If we do not collectively help stop climate change then we will likely face a similar fate as the fictional characters in "Don't Look Up."
It's important to understand that it is not just the actions of citizens that are vital (such as changing light bulbs, eating less meat, and using public transit) but the reality is that governments and corporations need to take drastic action.
The unfortunate truth is that as a society, we are not moving fast enough to combat climate change.