Breaking Down the Science in McKay’s Disaster Satire ‘Don’t Look Up’
by Alex Billington
December 30, 2021
“There’s a certain point where he realizes, wait a minute… something’s not right…” Netflix has debuted a fun featurette for Adam McKay’s sci-fi satire Don’t Look Up, which is now streaming on Netflix to watch. The featurette centers around an astronomer named Amy Mainzer, who’s a Professor of Planetary Science, who was the primary science advisor on the movie. She discusses a few scenes as well as the general concept behind the plot – a comet is discovered by astronomers, and it’s going to hit Earth. So they then try to inform the public, and the government, that this is definitely going to happen. But no one seems to care. I’m not the biggest fan of the movie, but as a concept, it’s frighteningly authentic with our inability to accept the truth of what’s coming with climate change. The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, with Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep. Both of these science featurettes are reminders that – oh yes, the sceince in this is defintiely real. And you know what, so is the rest of what happens. Even if the movie is not good, at least it’s accurate.
Here’s the “Astronomer Breaks Down the Science” videos for McKay’s Don’t Look Up, from YouTube:
And then there’s this tweet from Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about how painfully accurate it all is:
Finally saw the @Netflix film “Don’t Look Up,” a fictional tale of a Nation distracted by pop-culture and divided on whether to heed dire warnings of scientists.
Everything I know about news-cycles, talk shows, social media, & politics tells me the film was instead a documentary pic.twitter.com/tvDuEUXWCW
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) December 29, 2021
You can rewatch the first look teaser for McKay’s Don’t Look Up here, and the full official trailer here.
Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), an astronomy grad student, along with her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) make an astounding discovery of a comet orbiting within the solar system. The problem — it’s on a direct collision course with Earth. The other problem? No one really seems to care. Turns out warning mankind about a planet-killer the size of Everest is an inconvenient fact to navigate. With the help of Dr. Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), Kate & Randall embark on a media tour taking them from the office of an indifferent President Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her sycophantic son and Chief of Staff, Jason (Jonah Hill), to the airwaves of The Daily Rip, a morning show hosted by Brie (Cate Blanchett) & Jack (Tyler Perry). With only six months until the comet makes impact, managing the 24-hour news cycle and gaining the attention of the social media obsessed public before it’s too late proves shockingly comical — what will it take to get the world to just look up?! Don’t Look Up is written and directed by filmmaker Adam McKay, of the films Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, The Other Guys, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, The Big Short, and Vice previously. Netflix debuts Don’t Look Up in select theaters on December 10th, 2021, then streaming starting December 24th, 2021 this fall. Have you seen it yet?