'We're All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel)' Is a Lighthearted Look at the Impending Apocalypse Directed by Victoria Lean
Starring Jay Baruchel
Published May 02, 2022The end of the world hasn't been far from anyone's minds lately, but for Canadian actor, comedian and director Jay Baruchel, this is a concept he's wrestled with since his days as a fresh-faced co-host of Popular Mechanics for Kids. In his first gig as interviewer since PMK, Baruchel tackles the end of humanity and the numerous ways our extinction may come about in a new Crave Original six-part docuseries, We're All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel).
Baruchel explores a different way the apocalypse may occur in each episode: asteroids, nuclear weapons, pandemics, alien invasions, volcanic eruptions and climate change. He speaks with experts to understand exactly how each of these instances could result in our demise, and how devastating they would be.
The first episode begins with the most often discussed species extinction: the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. Baruchel meets with palaeontologists from the Royal Ontario Museum, asteroid hunters, and individuals working at organizations called Future of Humanity Institute and Near-Earth Object Observation Program. Asteroids, being typical fodder for Hollywood, could be easily dismissed as our possible reckoning. But, as we discover with Baruchel, the threat of massive space rocks pummelling Earth isn't as far off as we may think.
In the comparatively more sombre episode concerning nuclear war, Baruchel goes to Diefenbunker, a decommissioned bunker located 30 km outside of Ottawa, constructed at the height of the Cold War. He speaks with historians about the history of the nuclear arms race, the attempted efforts of the United Nations to thwart nuclear warfare, and where we stand today with numerous countries considered nuclear threats.
Baruchel does an excellent job of balancing light-hearted humour with some heavy topics. And while, by his own admission, he felt out of practice interviewing people, Baruchel is a great interviewer and engages his subjects in thoughtful conversations while offering his own perspective. He extracts poignant talking points through his discussions, including Reverend Cheri DiNovo, a United Church Minister, pointing out the irony of our death-denying culture even though we are all in fact terminal cases. And then there's Director of the Future of Humanity Institute Dr. Nick Bostrom's offering of a simple warning with regard to the dangers of nuclear weapons: "We can invent, but not un-invent."
It's clear that Baruchel has given this topic a lot of thought outside of the series. His personal interest in the end of the world makes him a wonderful host as he guides us through the discussion and research with enlightened curiosity and the appropriate amount of indignation.
We're All Gonna Die also uses footage from famous apocalyptic films like Armageddon, Team America: World Police and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The clips of Billy Bob Thornton warning the President of an asteroid the size of Texas barreling towards Earth and Sarah Conner's disintegrating skeleton prove to be effective tools to break up the academic dialogue and general dread looming over each word.
While We're All Gonna Die is undoubtedly centred on doom and gloom, the overarching theme of the docuseries is one of optimism, practically and existentially. It's futile to deny the inevitable, but there's plenty that we can and should do to prolong our species' existence. An entertaining ride with a lot of food for thought, We're All Gonna Die is timely and hits just right.
Hot Docs Festivals runs online and in-cinema from April 28 to May 8. Get details at the festival's website. (Crave)