Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up is a satire idiocracy comedy where he cannot help but touch on the government and human reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic. Behind the guise of a story based on a journalist’s report on climate change or a global warning, it is possible that before writing its script, McKay never intended or did not even know there would be a pandemic. However, the world record of dealing with the pandemic in America and worldwide is like writing the audience into a director’s script.
Human reactions to the pandemic, as well as to the film, gave power to McKay himself. The joke is the people who live on Earth. Fortunately, the film is wiser than just a story that accuses humankind of stupidity. Because, behind its dark-comedy, he has outlined not an answer but an idea about valuing life more and reducing the ego of living in the mortal world.
The Underestimate of McKay
McKay has a reputation as a director who can explain many complicated things, humorous yet simple. In The Big Short, he managed to explain the events of the 2007 to 2008 financial crisis in full along with economic and banking terms with a solid comedic tone. As a result, the audience completely blind to it was not stunned and enjoyed the drama. It is interesting when director McKay takes that approach by presenting the issue of climate change into a sci-fi trope about a comet falling on Earth. He is doing this to solve climate and comet problems that people often underestimate because they are far away or still very close.
For an astronomer, finding a comet is an achievement. Being able to name a comet after one’s name is one of them too. However, the comet celebration that Dr. Mindy and Kate Dibiasky (his pupil) see must end prematurely. Because according to the count, the big comet was speeding towards the Earth. To be precise, it will bring the Earth to an end in about six months. So, Dr. Mindy and Kate must immediately report their findings to the president in hopes of taking preventive action. However, the reaction of Mrs. President, interested people, and even some of the community was not what Dr. Mindy and Kate expected.
The Society and Its Government
In essence, the president only cares about the image. She only wants to move if it means gaining votes for her, then she always celebrates. The media also likes to cover up events and prefer to prioritize ratings. People fail to see the importance of something. They were more interested in gossip and how handsome Dr. Mindy appeared on television. On social images like this, the idiocracy and satire of Don’t Look Up show a frightening performance that becomes its main entertainment. Disasters that the community and government should deal with quickly have taken a long time and dragged on. It is not only distrust and underestimating; the government prefers to take care of the bag’s contents first.
People were also tossed around so that, in the end, they made stupid and wrong decisions because of her. It is where the audience easily draws a line to the government’s handling of a severe pandemic, likewise with the free snacks that the state sells to high commanders. Of course, the audience is not wrong if they associate it with the government’s decision to sell to the people things that should be as essential as free food. McKay made the film by Americans who fretted about their smart government but did not really. As it reads, ironically and humorously, the film is equally close to non-Americans.
It just needs a little change to make the film relatable to the world. Jonah Hill became president, and Meryl Streep became the figure behind him who people often joked about as his mother. The billionaire gadget character, played by Mark Rylance, makes everyone need to install an artificial app to protect Earth from comets. Regardless of which, it sounds political correctness, but it is. After all, everything about politics.
McKay made the film clear based on his dislike of those things. However, not everything has to be political. He writes that dialogue about reality is worse because the government is not smart enough to be as evil as people think. Even though there are more important things, the more important things are the planet’s safety, the safety of people’s lives, and health. The film writes its concern intelligently, satirically with great accuracy but feels very funny.
The Respective Satire
Behind its satire, the film wants to show humankind’s best and the worst. It is not wrong if the film that McKay describes is so relevant that it seems to show the face of humanity. He shows it as a draw so that deep exploration of people’s social markers is how easy it can be to become a meme.
Regardless of which people are right and use it to show how smart people are with technology. Holding a humanitarian concern, at first glance, does not mean going straight to the problem but also a strong proof of unity if all people are aware. Don’t Look Up has a plot about the idiocracy of satire where scientists Dr. Mindy and Kate were not to warn everyone and were always right. Respectively, they all also have faults.
There are options that Dr. Mindy and Kate take but end up learning. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dr. Mindy with a full range of emotions. The audience saw the development of a professor who had not published a journal, was nervous about being the center of attention. Still, he wanted to prove himself and finally fell asleep when he got a short position and attention. Characters like Kate also serve as a moral compass and have drama.
Jennifer Lawrence is an experienced victim of bullying. DiCaprio, on the other hand, fell victim to a natural disaster. However, Lawrence, who becomes Kate, is the most messed up by events. She was the one who found it, but the people mocked, ignored, and ostracized her. Achieving such emotions while maintaining a humorous tone is no easy feat. Kate brought the audience to McKay’s religious elements in the film.
Elements that seem rich on the surface but have a no less powerful statement. The element comes from an unexpected “place” and is the closest to humans’ answer in the film. Because the lowkey of the film talks about the arrogance of humans who feel they have power in the world, which makes such an apocalypse seem many times worse. All the actors in the film are very on-board with what they want to convey. Overall, they bring their characters to life, which looks ridiculous.
At this point, they were not here trying hard to appear silly. The characters are so relatable to events in the real world which makes them funny. The funny irony made the audience question themselves again: how long are we going to live as ridiculous as this film? Behind the comedy, there is a creeping gloom. There is a fear that our world could end up like the movie shows. It puts us on a par with movie characters afraid of comets hitting their world.
The Idiocracy of McKay
Don’t Look Up has tons of character, idiocracy comedic satire, dark backdrops, and does not stumble once in all of it. The camera is not stuck to highlight the ensemble cast in one frame. Instead, the camera focuses on producing multiple senses of intent. The film’s cut sometimes appears too much in the exposition. It is sometimes shown in the section comparing two events at once. However, it is when broadcasting comedy or making the audience angry. The film wisely focuses on showing expressions and reactions.
The film, in the end, really became a marker of the era of pandemics and idiocracy. While not talking about the virus, the film is supposed to be a figure of speech. McKay shows the quality of intelligent writing for the film, understands how to process the story without getting out of focus, and combines many elements. He bravely hits all, comes as a metaphor or reflection of what happens in the real world, and becomes a reflection for the audience who watches the film.