Adam McKay’s ‘Don’t Look Up’ is a satirical disaster film that focuses on the attempts of Kate Dibiasky, a doctoral candidate, and Dr. Randall Mindy, an astronomy professor, to warn the world about a fast-approaching planet-killer comet after their corrupt government refuses to acknowledge their scientific findings. Soon, we see chaos around the world as people from all walks of life start questioning, fearing, and denying the existence of the comet.
With a star-studded cast featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rob Morgan, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, and Timothée Chalamet, the Netflix movie addresses, through dark humor, contemporary concerns regarding the climate crisis, global political disharmony, and the unchecked power of billionaires. However, the most important question bugging the minds of fans is: does the Dibiasky comet strike the Earth after all? Does humankind perish? We’ve got the answers you’re looking for, so let’s dive right in. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Does the Comet Strike the Earth in the End?
Within the first few minutes of the film, it is established that Kate Dibiasky has discovered a massive comet. However, her joy soon turns into horror when Dr. Randall Mindy’s calculations prove that the comet is a planet-killer guaranteed to hit and annihilate the Earth in six months and 14 days. We are told that the comet is almost the size of Mount Everest.
Thus, Kate and Randall begin their journey of trying to convince the White House to take their findings seriously. However, President Janie Orlean and her supporters are unwilling to do anything about the comet as they are too worried about the midterms and the controversy regarding their Supreme Court nominee, Sheriff Conlon. Later, after getting mixed up in a sex scandal, the President decides to act on the comet as saving the planet will clear her name and distract the public.
So, NASA and the US military send several decommissioned space shuttles and satellites loaded with nuclear explosives — operated by the racist pilot Benedict Drask — to veer the comet off its course. However, Drask soon turns his spaceship around because Peter Isherwell, the tech guru behind the global cellular giant BASH, convinces the President that the comet can be mined for precious minerals (such as yttrium and osmium) that can be used in the electronics and smartphone industry. The metals and minerals in the comet are valued at $140 trillion.
BASH then develops BEADS (BASH Explore and Acquire Drones) which are meant to attach to the comet and shatter it into pieces; the comet’s remnants will fall into the ocean and be retrieved by the US Navy. Randall and Kate are outraged by this plan; however, a lot of people think the comet’s resources will create jobs and Peter thinks that the wealth of the minerals will solve the world’s problems. When the comet is around 25 days away from impact, people begin to see it in the sky.
Soon, seemingly a few hours before the comet’s landing, BASH launches 30 BEADS right at the celestial body. However, the drones quickly start malfunctioning and/or get destroyed. It becomes obvious that the mining attempt is a failure and that nothing can stop the comet. Peter and President Orlean quietly leave the planet on BASH’s escape ship — it is fitted with cryogenic chambers and is meant to find another planet with an Earth-like atmosphere.
Meanwhile, at the Mindy household, Randall, reunited with June and his sons, hosts Kate, Yule, and Teddy for dinner. Then, the group decides to say grace, and Yule takes the lead; they all say Amen. As the comet crashes into the Pacific Ocean, the lights start flickering, and the ground starts shaking. Aware that they have very little time left, the group chooses to talk about everything happy and mundane in their lives — from storebought pies to home-ground coffee. “We really did have everything, didn’t we?” says Randall, thinking about everything humanity has experienced.
Across the world, people and animals start experiencing the disastrous effects of the comet crash. Fiery debris rains from the sky whilst strangers have passionate sex and families gather at beaches to watch the end of the world. Jack and Brie chug massive amounts of alcohol while Drask tries to shoot at the comet with his machine gun. When we cut to Teddy sipping coffee, the wall behind him explodes. In a matter of seconds, the entire house starts coming apart.
As we see a final glimpse of Kate’s face, there’s an explosion; ultimately, there’s nothing but darkness and silence. Thus, the last thing we see before the comet obliterates all lifeforms is the face of the person who discovered it. So yes, the comet does strike the Earth as predicted by Randall, Kate, and all the other scientists that were silenced by greedy politicians and businessmen. We see the Earth from outer space and notice debris, such as phones, photo frames, and burnt trees, floating around in the vast darkness — all that’s left of millions of years of human and animal life.
In the mid-credits scene, we see BASH’s escape ship finding a habitable planet 22,740 years later. When the old politicians and wealthy folks come out naked from their cryo-chambers, they encounter a green planet full of large and exotic bird-like creatures with four legs and two small arms. President Orlean is killed by one such bird-like animal, which Peter calls a “Bronteroc.” It is obvious that the escaped humans will not survive on the new planet.
In the post-credits scene, a disgruntled Jason emerges from the rubble of the White House and calls out for his mother; around him is a wasteland of a planet, burning and disintegrating. Clearly, the Earth is no more habitable and any other survivors are likely to perish quickly due to a lack of resources and medical care. Additionally, the natural disasters that will continue for a while because of the comet crash will definitely wipe out any remaining life. Thus, the ending of ‘Don’t Look Up’ sees the comet striking the Earth; the planet is destroyed not only due to the celestial body but because of humankind’s selfishness and greed for money.