By Rowan Hooper
The Netflix disaster-satire movie Don’t Look Up is simply a thinly-veiled metaphor for humanity’s haphazard efforts to tackle clime change, told done the communicative of a elephantine comet that’s connected a collision people with Earth. New Scientist podcast exertion Rowan Hooper reviewed Don’t Look Up with the assistance of Emily Atkin, who writes the clime newsletter Heated. Listen to their speech connected this occurrence of the New Scientist Weekly podcast oregon a work a transcript of the speech below, which has been edited for clarity.
Rowan Hooper: Emily, acknowledgment for joining us. So let’s acceptable up the movie. It’s the communicative of 2 astronomers, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, who observe a comet hurtling towards Earth. And it’s a truly large one, bigger adjacent than the 1 that killed the dinosaurs. And it’s what they telephone a satellite killer. So what did you marque of it?
Emily Atkin: I thought it was beautiful. Which I cognize is simply a truly weird connection to picture a satirical movie astir a satellite slayer comet, but I thought it was beautiful. I thought it was weird. And I thought it was cathartic and intelligent. And I thought it was important. I’m a clime alteration journalist. And everybody other sitting successful the movie theatre with maine wasn’t an existent movie critic, and they were besides laughing arsenic overmuch arsenic I was. And I’m not definite if they cried the fig of times that I did, but I decidedly did outcry 2 times. I laughed a batch successful it.
RH: Yeah, it’s a large satire. And unexpectedly moving actually, perfectly hilarious, particularly Jonah Hill, who plays the Chief of Staff, the White House Chief of Staff.
EA: He and Meryl Streep bash specified a bully occupation playing fascists. You know, they’re conscionable truthful good.
RH: Meryl Streep plays the president. We’ve besides got Cate Blanchett successful the cast, Ariana Grande, Mark Rylance, Timothee Chalamet, an unthinkable cast. The premise is that the comet is flying towards Earth and astronomers person to get retired determination and pass the satellite of this imminent planetary threat. Meryl Streep’s this fascist US president, they person to effort and person her to instrumentality it seriously. And pass a media that’s lone acrophobic with full showbiz gossip. So did that dependable acquainted successful immoderate mode to you, Emily?
EA: [Laughs] Yeah, I’ve been describing this movie to everybody that I archer astir it arsenic highly cathartic. Because it was similar it took each vexation that I had astir the media, successful particular, for the last, you know, 8 years of covering clime change, and enactment it successful a satire movie.
RH: Also, isn’t it astonishing that it’s evidently astir the clime crisis. But they don’t really notation the words clime alteration oregon clime situation successful the full movie, bash they? Or did I miss that? But I don’t deliberation they do.
EA: They bash not. And I was looking retired for it the full time. And the lone the lone infinitesimal that I could spot a notation of thing that was precisely the aforesaid arsenic clime alteration was, and this won’t spoil it for anybody, but it’s erstwhile there’s protestors holding signs saying don’t look up, don’t look astatine the comet. There are signs protesters are holding and 1 of the signs says “fossil fools”.
RH: Yeah, I saw that.
EA: And truthful that’s a clime thing. But successful the movie, the precise affluent politicians and tech CEOs privation to excavation the comet for its uncommon world minerals.
RH: Yes. And truthful “don’t look up” refers to the slogan that these comet deniers enactment around, to effort to virtually marque radical not look up and disregard the menace that’s coming down, looming down connected them.
EA: Impact deniers, that’s what they telephone them. I retrieve watching it and being like, that would beryllium a bully happening to really telephone clime alteration deniers. They’re ever “well, of people the clime is changing. The clime has ever changed.” “Yeah, we don’t contradict the climate.” What they are is interaction deniers.
RH: Yeah, yeah.
EA: They contradict the interaction of clime change, they contradict that human-caused clime alteration is going to beryllium unspeakable and catastrophic.
RH: I don’t cognize if you work this, but the movie is co-written by the manager Adam McKay, with the writer David Sirota and it benignant of came astir due to the fact that Adam had been trying to deliberation astir a mode to write astir the clime situation successful a truly engaging and comic mode for ages. And Sirota said to him, “It’s similar there’s an asteroid gonna deed Earth and nary 1 cares!” And that’s however the thought started, they virtually took that 1 line. It’s specified an effectual mode to speech astir the clime situation due to the fact that they don’t notation it. And it’s unexpectedly hilarious. And whenever I spot scientists successful movies truthful often bash the Hollywood lazy trope of them being, you know, a balding achromatic antheral successful a achromatic laboratory coat. This clip we person Leonardo DiCaprio, who helium starts disconnected a spot nervous, doesn’t he, his character, but helium finds passionateness and choler successful the end, which is great. But past we’ve got Jennifer Lawrence’s character, she’s similar Greta Thunberg mightiness beryllium if Greta turns retired to beryllium a scientist, you know, she’s angry. And she truly sticks it to the politicians. And that’s large to see.
EA: Yeah, I mean, I’m not gonna beryllium determination and enactment similar I didn’t consciousness highly seen by that character. There was decidedly moments erstwhile I was watching it and I thought to myself, did David Sirota work my newsletter?
RH: I’m definite helium does.
EA: I deliberation determination are a batch of aggravated clime scientists and journalists, and a batch of aggravated women successful the clime movement. I thought of myself. But I besides thought of Greta, I thought of Amy Westervelt. And I thought of Mary Hegler and I thought of different aggravated clime writers who person been called alarmists, who haven’t been fixed the clip of time and haven’t been credited for their work. You know, astatine 1 constituent successful the movie, they adjacent accidental that Leonardo DiCaprio’s quality was the discoverer of the comet erstwhile it was Jennifer Lawrence’s quality who discovered it. It’s virtually named aft her.
EA: And truthful I was laughing truthful hard, due to the fact that I was conscionable like: this is truthful correct. I loved how, adjacent though 2 achromatic men wrote the movie, they decidedly acknowledged that achromatic men thin to get much recognition and get listened to much taken much earnestly than their pistillate counterparts. And radical of colour, you know, the quality that that played the different idiosyncratic that ne'er got immoderate airtime, he’s a Black man, it was precise existent to beingness successful that sense.
RH: Who knows if this is going to marque a quality successful presumption of starring to emissions cuts connected the standard that we need, but it does get the connection retired there. And that’s what we ever request to do.
EA: Yeah, and I would accidental that what I thought the astir awesome and important happening the movie did, for maine was, it ended connected this enactment that didn’t marque maine consciousness atrocious astir myself. It didn’t marque maine consciousness similar I needed to spell backmost to enactment and enactment connected the clime crisis. It didn’t marque maine consciousness similar I needed to, you know, propulsion my full beingness distant to combat clime change. Really what I deliberation the ending connection of that movie was: worth what’s important connected the satellite and successful your ain life, portion you are alive, and that is not conscionable the comet hurtling towards the Earth. That’s the radical you emotion and the places you emotion and beryllium motivated by the radical and things that you love.
Don’t Look Up is successful cinemas present and will beryllium disposable globally connected Netflix connected 24 December.
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