Don’t Look Up maybe the comedy film of 2021 with the most terrible ending—the total destruction of the planet—but it still manages to follow it up with two hilarious and weird scenes during the credits. The satirical comedy stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, and a slew of other celebrities, including Ariana Grande, Cate Blanchett, and Mark Rylance, and was written and directed by Adam McKay. The picture has divided critics, but it is still a strong contender for a deluge of Oscar nods.
“Don’t Look Up” Movie Story
The film follows Michigan State University Ph.D. candidate Kate Dibiasky (Lawrence) and her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) when they uncover a gigantic comet heading straight for Earth. When they eventually get a meeting with President Orlean (Streep) and her abrasive son, Chief of Staff Jason (Hill), it’s evident that the administration isn’t concerned about the impending tragedy. President Orlean employs the title advice: “don’t look up,” and Kate and Dr. Mindy find themselves in a battle of common sense as they encourage people to just look up and see the comet heading straight for them, challenging President Orlean’s use of the eponymous advice: “don’t look up.”
Don’t Look Up foresees and then executes the destruction of the whole world, including the majority of its inhabitants. President Orlean dooms the planet by entrusting their final hope of survival to billionaire tech mogul Peter Isherwell (Rylance). The end of the world is generally depicted as sorrowful in the film, interrupting a simple and genuine lunch shared among loved ones, despite some ludicrous portions like Chris Evans’ cameo appearance; the credits scenes, on the other hand, return to the off-beat tone of desperate humor used throughout the film. Don’t Look Up contains two funny credits scenes to go along with its gloomy finish and witty humor. Here (tvacute.com) are the explanations for the two closing scenes. Including here’s what each scene in the credits implies in terms of the film’s conclusion.
Don’t Look Up in the Middle of a Credits Scene
President Orlean’s unwarranted faith in Peter Isherwood, the CEO of a gigantic fictional digital corporation, who Rylance plays as a terrifying and robotic caricature of controversial Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is at the heart of Don’t Look Up’s terrible ending for the entire planet. Isherwood persuades Orlean to abandon a mission that would have likely worked in favor of one that will make them both a boatload of money if successful, satirizing America’s over-reliance on and absolute lack of consequences for huge tech businesses. Isherwood refuses to let the new proposal go through scientific peer review, ignoring Dr. Mindy’s concerns and pushing through until it’s too late. When the scheme fails, as Dr. Mindy predicted, both Isherwood and President Orlean rush to join a group of other super-rich and powerful elites on a nearby Earth-like planet.
Although its heavy-handed climate change metaphor and often absurd tone divided critics, Don’t Look Up continues to be its own unique mixture of tragedy and comedy in the credits sequences. The mid-credits scene shows Isherwood’s spacecraft arriving at another habitable planet 22, 740 years after the planet’s demise and releasing its passengers into cryogenic chambers to emerge on their new home.
At first, the sight resembles a weird Garden of Eden, with nude people meandering around a verdant paradise as if it were the first in the world. “And cryo-chambers were 58 percent successful, which is far better than expected,” Isherwood says, warning everyone that they might feel light-headed due to the increased oxygen content in the atmosphere. President Orlean agrees enthusiastically, pointing out that just 47 people died in her district. Then she notices something and walks closer to a stunning birdlike alien creature roaming nearby. The beast strikes her face right away, killing her quickly and brutally before devouring her. The scene concludes as other creatures of the same type sneak in to encircle the remainder of the newcomers, and the credits begin to roll.
This scenario also harkens back to a sequence in Don’t Look Up that satirizes the internet industry’s monopoly on pretty much everything: Peter Isherwood’s Facebook-like knowledge of everyone based on data and algorithmic forecasts. He blackmails Dr. Mindy by saying that the algorithm determined she would die alone, and he tells President Orlean that the program predicts she will be eaten by a Bronteroc, whatever that may be. While Isherwood’s prediction for Dr. Mindy is proven incorrect in the last seconds of the film—as he is slain surrounded by his loved ones, talking to one another—Orlean is cruelly eaten by an unknown creature in the mid-credits sequence. Isherwood wonders as she dies that the animals must be Bronterocs.
Both of these examples of applying Isherwood’s predictions lead to one of Don’t Look Up’s most important lessons: big tech cannot be trusted. Isherwood is portrayed as a caricature of Silicon Valley, egotistical and wealthy, in the film. Whether the algorithm accurately predicted Dr. Mindy’s lonely death or not, the truth paints a completely different picture, casting doubt on the program’s reliability as well as the tech mogul’s ethics.
Similarly, assuming the alien bird that attacks Orlean is a Bronteroc, the algorithm’s success isn’t nearly as important as the fact that Isherwood foresaw this outcome but was helpless to prevent it.
In the end, Rylance seemed unconcerned. This suggests that either his algorithmic death prediction was incorrect, or he survives in a world for which he is completely unprepared and is condemned to fail in some other way. In any case, the scene leans into its odd sense of humor to emphasize big tech’s fallibility and the inevitability of human tragedy.
The Post-Credits Scene in Don’t Look Up
Don’t Look Up’s post-credits scene returns to Earth shortly after the comet’s impact. Jason Orlean, who had been neglected by his mother as she fled in a cryo-chamber, rises from the rubble, recognizes what has occurred, and begins calling for his mother right away. He then starts streaming, declaring himself to be the last man on Earth but yet managing to slip in a plug: “Don’t forget to like and subscribe.” As he begins to call for his mother again in the midst of the hazy apocalyptic carnage, the scene pans away from Jason (acted with trademark panache till the very end by Moneyball’s Jonah Hill).
This completely ludicrous sequence ends the movie on a darkly comic note, while also emphasizing the ridiculousness of modern society’s fixation with social media as climate change becomes a reality. Jason is a ridiculous character, yet he epitomizes much of America’s shallow affluence and vanity, and he meets a fitting end. It’s easy to guess how long he’ll last on his own, and the insinuation that he’ll die alone and in pain is pleasant in and of itself, complementing the less amusing aspects of the film’s conclusion.
The ending of Don’t Look Up primarily abandons its absurd tone in order to be grounded in the sorrow of Earth’s annihilation and the lives of Dr. Mindy, Kate Dibiaski, and their loved ones, as well as everyone else. The two credits scenes provide a return to the ludicrous, jolting viewers from their contemplative state to chuckle a couple more times at the elites’ darkly comic destinies. Don’t Look Up is polarising audiences, but the film’s two-credits scenes are clever additions, keeping the film’s sad finale while still finishing with a wink and a poke.