Death to 2021

In a review over the many events of the last year, Netflix’s “Death to 2021” gave every viewer something to chew on.


Netflix Media Kit

Death to 2021’s fiery movie poster is indicative of the movie’s controversial contents.

As 2021 comes to a close, The Ball in New York Times Square wasn’t the only thing being dropped onto TV screens. Netflix also released its highly anticipated sequel to Death to 2020,  Death to 2021. The film is an hour-long video in which viewers see 2021´s greatest hits played back with sarcastic and funny commentary provided over the clips of burning buildings and overflowing hospitals by a witty cast of characters. 2020’s recap was a star-studded affair, including notable names such as Hugh Grant, Leslie Jones, Samuel L Jackson, and Kumail Nanjiani, and Death to 2021 was no different. This year cast of characters includes Hugh Grant back to reprise his role as historian, Lucy Liu as a Washington Correspondent, Strangers Things star Joe Keery as Duke Goolies the influencer, William Jackson Harper as CEO of a social media company, and Diane Morgan back to play the fan-favorite role of an average British citizen. The movie starts with citizens storming their own capital and goes on to depict biblical-like floods in Germany, a rat plague in Australia, and worst of all, Harry and Meghan Markle leaving the royal family. However, this movie simply had too many plot points and ruined the believability for the audience. Also, it failed to wrap up some of the major plot points in the first movie, such as the worldwide pandemic, global warming, and the controversy over the 2020 presidential election. With these issues, It is no surprise the movie only got an audience score of 37%.

Although this may be shocking to hear in 2022, the reviews of the movie were quite divisive. In the reviews, people were disagreeing over the real-life events of what actually did or did not happen in 2021. The reviews ranged from 5 stars to .5 stars because it is impossible to rate something lower than half a star. Reviewer Miguel A wrote ¨Worse than watching fake news,¨ giving 0.5/5 stars. Stephan C wrote ¨the best documentary ever!!!!!!!!!!!!¨ excitedly bestowing the film with 5/5 stars. As the reviews would imply the opinions are clearly split. However, there is one thing that truly brought everyone together, that being the fact that America’s sweetheart, Samuel L Jackson’s presence was sorely missed in this year’s recap. In such a divisive comment section as the Rotten Tomatoes review section of Death to 2021, it is easy to get lost in a flood of exclamation points but if looking a little closer led to the discovery of genuine critiques with some true merit. Death to 2020 was written by Charlie Brooker, a very accomplished screenwriter who was heavily congratulated for toting the fine line of making satirical and relevant jokes while also walking the thin tightrope that is the centerline. Eligio J wrote ¨While it´s not like Charlie Brooker´s material, Death to 2021 still has some funny moments, The biggest problem is more stunt casting than Charlie Brooker’s down-to-earth style. Don’t get me wrong the cast is great but feels overblown.¨ exposing some true reasoning for his overall 3.5/5 star review. While scrolling through all the critiques of the movie, two words stand out the most and those words are one-sided and propaganda. This begs the question of what actually makes a piece of media propaganda. 

In order for something to be propaganda, it must include some basic elements. Name-calling such as linking a person or idea to negative symbols without any evidence, Card stacking using statistics in a one-sided manner, bandwagoning, and trying to cause fear. 

According to the American Historical Association, propaganda uses these tools by ¨making broad and positive statements and by refusing to admit or even suggest that there is another side in question.¨ When applying these guidelines for propaganda to a satirical comedy about present-day events, the label does not fit. The arguments towards a bias can be made, however, as long as humans are the ones writing and creating media and art there is no such thing as unbiased. Every human develops opinions and has personal experiences that create biases. As responsible consumers, it is our job to recognize the biases in ourselves, as well as the biases in media, news, and entertainment without being quick to label it as propaganda or fake news.

As Leslie Jones most memorable said in Death to 2020 ¨With the way things are going, it is best to just pick a side and hunker down.¨ This seems to be a popular sentiment echoed among many people these days, but if we are able to balance both sides of an opposing scale, we might just find ourselves that perfect sweet spot. With the last couple of years being so turbulent it is important to laugh at the bad, not take ourselves too seriously and remember that as long as Samuel L Jackson continues to grace us with his presence on the big screen we will never truly be a divided country.