Your Green Home: Hollywood’s Perverse Vision of Climate Apathy | Chroniclers

“The point is, we really had it all – I mean, when you think about it. “

– Leonardo DiCaprio playing Dr. Randall Mindy, astronomer

So, you watch the first quarter of a critical playoff game that will send its winner to the Super Bowl, when someone rushes into the room and lets out that your dad has just had a heart attack and is being transported to. emergency in hospital.

Of course, you respond by saying, “Oh. OK, I’ll go there after the game.

This storyline mimics the premise of the wickedly funny and tragically depressing new Netflix feature film “Don’t Look Up.” Except that the subject of this sci-fi satire is both less and more personal than a family emergency – it’s the end of the world.

The story opens when Ph.D. astronomy candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), during her nighttime deep space observations, discovers a huge comet heading straight for earth. She alerts her teacher, Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), who calculates that the comet will strike in six months and is massive enough to cause an “extinction event”, ending life on the planet.

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This is not a spoiler. This is the opening scene of the film, and the real plot unfolds from there as Dibiasky and Mindy attempt to warn a largely skeptical, indifferent, and preoccupied world of their impending doom.

And not long after these events start happening, I and probably most of the viewers realize that “Don’t Look Up” is a parody of the insane and insane memes that permeate the ranks of dissiers and deniers of the World. climate change and ordinary citizens. (This is not mere speculation. The film’s creator, Adam McKay, said he devised the comet metaphor while discussing the frustrations of communicating climate realities with a climatologist.) At that point watching the plot and the wacky, alternate characters of the film becomes a kind of fun, making you laugh, swear, and shake your head at the same time.

There are the machinations of President Janie Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her White House staff, including her not-too-smart son and campaign donor appointees in critical government positions. Self-conscious about his image, which translates into his grip on power, this crew of clowns go through a series of botched responses to the crisis – but always have one last chance to save the planet.

Then there’s the media, represented by morning talk show co-hosts Jack Bremmer and Brie Evantee (Tyler Perry and Cate Blanchett). Their job is to avoid disturbing their viewer / consumer audiences by keeping everything enjoyable, so that their increasingly desperate interactions with Dibiasky and Mindy become, shall we say, “personal”.

And, of course, there is social media where the reality of the rapidly approaching comet is not determined by scientific analysis but by the number of likes and dislikes astronomers glean from their various public appearances. , which include a touring concert featuring famous singer Riley Bina (Ariana Grande). As you might expect, a subset of social media acolytes subscribe to the conspiracy theory that the comet does not exist – it’s just a ploy to establish government control.

Last, but not least, is Big Business, represented by billionaire Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance), founder and CEO of BASH Enterprises and developer of a cell phone that tracks and ‘fixes’ its owner’s emotions, making sure so that he never feels sad or distressed. . Another big donor to the president, Isherwell obtains the last word on the fate of the planet, a plan executed by the administration of Orleans.

Some professional movie critics have denigrated “Don’t Look Up” as being too starry or too blunt.

OKAY. But as a regular guy who loves a good show, I say go to Netflix because you won’t want to miss this very relevant “comedy”.

After all, what is climate change if not a reality TV show, what about, THE reality TV show, in our green home?

Philip S. Wenz writes on the environment and related topics.

Visit his blog on firebirdjournal.com.


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