Note — Jan 16, 2022

The Planet-Killing Asteroid Is Always Political

Can’t say I paid much attention to comments about Don’t Look Up, first to steer clear of spoilage, and later because none of the headlines seemed to make sense; it’s not serious and it’s not scientific, deal with it! I did read this one by Ingrid Burrington however, and it’s an excellent overview of the history of asteroid movies, the blatant messages they carry, and how this climate/J.Law/Leo vehicle differs.

As Sarah Gailey has observed, Armageddon is also a film about masculinity and fatherhood: it’s not nukes and oil extraction that save the planet, it’s essentially Bruce Willis’ dad-ness. […]

Characters in these movies sleep around, fall in love, and find themselves. They don’t choose organizing or community-building, they choose the nuclear family and heteronormative romance. […]

McKay comes closest to doing for asteroid movies what George Romero did with zombie movies: he lays their latent symbolism bare and acknowledges its real underlying existential horror, not to mention the implications of the fucked-up ways most modern asteroid movies face that horror with gee-whiz technological salvation or toxic fuck-you nationalism (sometimes both).