Comedy Disaster ‘Don’t Look Up’: The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

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The movie “Don’t Look Up” is a comedy disaster film with a dark humorous style, which spares no effort to ridicule and criticize various top-down absurd phenomena in American society. It makes people smile at the same time, but also arouses deep thinking.

Disaster films often render thrilling disasters, and they create strong horror effects with grand visual scenes. While bringing a shocking visual impact to the audience, it also stimulates the audience’s sense of tension and fear.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

Different from ordinary disaster films, although the story of “Don’t Look Up” involves disasters such as “comet hitting the earth”, its style is comedy with dark humor.

The film begins with a subtitle of a joke created by humorist Jack Handy: “I wish to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, instead of screaming into death like his passengers. Same”. This picture is presented on a dark background, which hints at the dark humor of the film.

Subsequently, the film reveals and presents various absurd and paradoxical phenomena by telling the story of the comet’s imminent impact on the earth, observing the different reactions of people from all walks of life in American society.

The allegory of “Don’t Look Up” first aimed at American politics.

Dr. Randall Mindy, a tenured professor of astronomy at Michigan State University, and his graduate student Kate Dibiasky, observed that a comet with a diameter of five to ten kilometers was about to hit Earth in six months.

If not dealt with in time, life on earth will be wiped out.

However, when they arrived at the White House with space agency staff member Teddy to report this important situation to the president, they had to wait for a long time to be summoned.

While waiting, Themes, a three-star lieutenant general from the Pentagon, sold them free snacks and bottled water from the White House, making them feel deeply fooled.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

Finally met Janie Orlean, the female president, but the president only cared about the upcoming midterm elections. She didn’t take Professor Randall and Kate’s reports seriously at all, and just “wait and see” sent them away in a hurry.

Later, when the president was caught up in a sex scandal and his approval ratings plummeted, she sent agents to “invite” them to the White House. She expressed her willingness to accept the suggestion to announce the news to the world and take measures to change the comet’s trajectory.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

In the process of intercepting the comet with a nuclear bomb, the president temporarily changed his plan to recall the nuclear bomb because Peter Isherwell, the owner behind him, wanted to mine the comet mine. This has led to a major crisis for the planet.

Through the above-mentioned episodes, “Don’t Look Up” fully exposed the corruption, selfishness and greed of the high-level political circles in the United States.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

They are greedy, play with power, shameless and cronyism.

The White House chief of staff is the president’s son, the Supreme Court nominee is the president’s lover, and the head of spaceflight, Jocelyn, is a former anesthesiologist and one of the president’s large donors.

These people only care about their own immediate interests, ignore the survival of mankind and the entire planet, and turn a blind eye to the impending global catastrophes.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

The film not only sharply criticized the collusion between the American political and business circles, but also mercilessly ridiculed their arrogance, self-deception, and shortsighted mentality and behavior.

When Isherwell’s plan to mine the comet’s mines fails, a group of dignitaries board a spaceship to flee for their lives.

This plot not only made the ugly faces and self-interested nature of the American elites obvious, but also severely criticized the serious injustice in American society.

Second, the film’s allegorical contradictions also point to the entertainment media.

Professor Randall and Kate tried to use the television media to inform the world of the impending doomsday disaster in order to attract people’s attention after their first appeal to the president was unsuccessful.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

But Jack and Brie, the hosts of the TV show The Daily Rip, interpreted the news as entertainment news. They keep gags and wit, trying to make it “lively and interesting” to achieve high ratings.

Kate couldn’t bear it any longer and scolded the host angrily.

Unexpectedly, American audiences and netizens turned Kate’s angry facial close-up into “expression packs”, mocking her, and her boyfriend also proposed to her to break up.

And Randall’s subtle, refined but praised, known as the “sexiest scientist.”

The plot not only reveals the power and preference of the media, but also vividly mocks the growing tendency of anti-intellectualism and “entertainment to death” in the United States.

The most absurd thing in the film is the confrontation between the two organizations “LOOK UP” and “DON’T LOOK UP”.

In order to save the planet, Professor Randall, Kate and others launched the “LOOK UP” movement, which called on people to recognize the reality and deal with the crisis.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

And the president and the Isherwell elite use political means to fool the public “DON’T LOOK UP”.

As a result, the American people are divided into “head-up people” and “rejection people”.

In order to achieve a good publicity effect, the scientists-led “head-up clan” had to hold large-scale concerts and use the influence of entertainment stars to gain the attention and support of the public.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

In the competition between the two camps, people are either induced by entertainment or used by politics to become a “rabble crowd” without independent opinions.

The seemingly funny contrasting scenes greatly enhance the film’s sense of absurdity and dark irony.

“Don’t Look Up” also has the meaning of torture.

As a positive intellectual image of the film, Professor Randall also has certain human weaknesses.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

For example, after he became famous for his TV show, he was intoxicated with the thrill of fame, unable to resist the temptation, and had an extramarital affair with the hostess Brie.

Some scientists are manipulated by chaebols who disregard scientific facts and support Isherwell’s absurdity of mining comets.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

Still, Professor Randall retains a shred of moral conscience, insisting that Isherwell place mining plans under a transparent system of scientific peer review.

After being kicked out of the team, he launched a “look up” fight against it, which ultimately shattered Isherwell’s “algorithmic” predictions.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

In Professor Randall, there are not only the spirit of intellectuals’ adherence to truth and moral responsibility, but also the shortcomings of ordinary people, which fully shows the complexity and diversity of human nature.

The montage cut of “Don’t Look Up” is also commendable.

Through ingenious editing techniques without revealing traces, “Don’t Look Up” effectively compresses the narrative time, making the content more compact and rich.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

There are also many images of animals and plants in the film, reminding the audience that humans are not the only creatures on the earth, and do not fall into the misunderstanding of anthropocentrism.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

“Don’t Look Up” doesn’t end with humans overcoming the disaster, or the bad guys dying and the good guys surviving and rebuilding, like most disaster films.

It, in turn, killed all the good people with conscience, while the powerless with no bottom line escaped.

But the rich and powerful woke up after being frozen for more than 20,000 years and became the prey of wild beasts.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

“Don’t Look Up” exudes pessimism and nihilism in cynical irony, confirming the idea that “comedy is the expression of despair”.

The film “Don’t Look Up”, through the extreme situation setting under major disasters, defamiliarizes the state that people are accustomed to in daily life, magnifies its paradoxical characteristics, and reveals its absurd connotation, with obvious allegory and world-awaiting meaning.

Comedy Disaster 'Don't Look Up': The Ironic Power of Dark Humor

As a disaster film with a dark humorous style, “Don’t Look Up” is of great value in its comprehensive criticism and mockery of American society.

“Don’t Look Up” exposes the dark side of the American political and business circles, calling on the American people to free themselves from entertainment consumption, anti-intellectualism, and political deception, maintain a sober self, find the true meaning of life, and better solve social real problems.

Related Post: “Don’t Look Up” Review: Even with all the top stars, this blockbuster is still overdone.

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