Directed by Adam McKay, ‘Don’t Look Up’ is a thrilling disaster film powered by dark humor that revolves around Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo Dicaprio) and Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), two astronomers who fight against all odds to reveal the scientific truth about a planet-killer comet bound to destroy the Earth. Throughout the Netflix film, elements of science fiction emerge strongly in the form of fantastical visuals of the comet, impressive spaceships, and futuristic drones.
Additionally, threaded into all the scenes with humans and pieces of machinery are clippings of the planet’s fauna — from bees to polar bears. Towards the end, we see a beautiful, intimidating, and colorful creature called the Bronteroc. So, is Bronteroc a real bird? Is it an alien? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is Don’t Look Up’s Bronteroc a Real Bird?
No, the Bronteroc in ‘Don’t Look Up’ is not a real bird. So, what is it? Let’s look at the events leading up to its discovery. As the Earth is being destroyed by the Dibiasky comet, we see the tech company BASH’s cryo-chamber-fitted escape ship leave the planet’s atmosphere and hurl towards the vast darkness of space. During the mid-credits scene, we see that the BASH spaceship, 22,740 years later, stops and launches pods into a strange’s planets atmosphere.
Soon, the pods land, and the survivors from Earth emerge naked from their cryosleep and blink wondrously at their new and mossy habitat. We are then informed that the planet has an even higher oxygen content than what Earth used to have. President Orlean and Peter Isherwell too walk into the sunny meadow, naked and healthy. Peter notes that the cryo-chambers were only 58% successful; however, he seems pleased. Then, as everyone surveys their new surroundings and possible future home, President Orlean sees a beautiful and exotic creature roaming near the pods.
The President goes towards the animal, wondering whether its colorful body is lined with scales or feathers. As the others watch, the strange creature calmly approaches her and immediately attacks her. People start screaming and running as the bird-like creature bites into President Orlean’s head and then thrashes her around, obviously killing her in the process. Perhaps the President thought the creature would be docile, like most animals she had probably interacted with back on her home planet.
When someone asks, “What is that thing?” in horror, Peter politely says, “I believe that’s called a Bronteroc.” Fans will remember that, earlier in the movie, Peter tells President Orlean, upon her insistence, that the BASH technology predicts that she’ll be eaten by a Bronteroc; however, nobody knows what the word means or what the creature could be. Clearly, BASH’s technology managed to accurately predict the end of the Earth because it predicts the exact way President Orlean dies as well as the existence of Bronterocs.
The Bronteroc has four three-toed long legs and two short arms right below its elongated neck; however, it relies on its beak to do most of the damage while attacking prey. The bird-like creature is brilliantly colored, with orange head and tail feathers, white rabbit-like ears, yellow neck hackles, and a bluish striped body lined with thin hairs. As far as science fiction creatures go, the Bronteroc is quite pleasing to the eye — imagine Kevin from ‘Up’ mixed with a classic ‘Jurassic Park’ Spinosaurus as well as a Hippogriff from the ‘Harry Potter‘ film franchise.
On all fours, the Bronteroc is the same height as humans. The creature cannot be called a bird in the traditional sense of the word because it doesn’t have wings or seem to fly. Of course, it could be a flightless bird, but its movements make it seem like a land carnivore, closer to Earth’s mammals or even the extinct dinosaurs. However, the closest visual reference for the alien creature is the Earth’s cassowary — a deadly, flightless bird related to the emu. It is unlikely that the survivors will get to study or classify the Bronterocs as it is clear that they are meat-eaters that will ruthlessly attack and devour humans.
We soon see how a pack of Bronterocs surrounds the bystanders and promptly starts attacking them. However, it’s probably for the best that the humans are gotten rid of by the mysterious alien species as it is almost guaranteed that the survivors would have ended up hunting the Bronterocs for meat or used their pelts for clothing. Thus, thanks to the bird-like alien creatures, none of the humans on the BASH escape ship survive — their death marks the end of the human species.