Comedy and a threat to humanity glossed over with consistent questioning on whether what experts say is true. That sums up Netflix’s science fiction movie, “Don’t Look Up.” Two Michigan State scientists, Dr. Randy Mindy (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) complete a group study among colleagues and realized a large comet is headed towards Earth. It is guaranteed to hit the planet and kill everyone.
Dr. Mindy and Dibiasky alert the public as any specialist with vital information should do but are greeted with mocking and negligence after meeting with the federal government and making appearances on a top-rated talk show, “The Daily Rip.” As the camera’s roll, the Ph.D. candidate shares the depressing revelation following the research project.
“I saw something I didn’t recognize. It was a comet. A big one. It’s headed directly at Earth and it really likely will hit,” Diabiasky says faintly. TV Show host, Jack Bremmer (Tyler Perry), responds jokingly. “As it is damaging, will it hit this one house, in particular, that’s right on the coast of New Jersey? It is my ex-wife’s house. I need it to be hit.”
It is similar to the trending Twitter hashtag, #CDCsays, where users have made jokes of the health organization for changing their mask and quarantine guidance several times within the last few months. After being a guest on the show, Dibiasky loses her job for angrily expressing what will soon be the public’s demise with some choice words and ends up working at a grocery store while becoming a viral internet meme.
Later in the film, President Orlean’s (Meryl Streep) administration issues a weak response to the outer space threat. To redeem themselves, they run campaigns to discredit the findings of Diabiasky and Dr. Mindy using the slogan, “Don’t Look Up.”
“Don’t Look Up” is undeniably funny and relatable. However, it shows how the ruthless humor of social media causes people to have a decreased sensitivity to real-world issues. In addition, the film displays how political figures and entertainers have more influence than doctors on vital decisions people make to protect their health. “Don’t Look Up” shows how the messages that are spoken may be accepted or ignored based on the popularity of the communicator, not their credibility.