Thursday, July 5, 2007
"Idiocracy" directed by Mike Judge
Recently, a film called 'Idiocracy" directed by Mike Judge was released on DVD. Being a big fan of Judge, the creator of "Beavis and Butthead", "King of the Hill", "Office Space" and other such mainstays of American comedic pop culture, I went out to rent this movie with a fair degree of hastiness. Happily, I was not disappointed in this satirical and silly gaze into the precarious future of humankind.
Have you ever realized that human civilization is nearing the point where the propagation of our species may depend heavily on people procreating simply because they were too stupid to properly use birth control? Well, don't feel bad if something like this has happened to you, we have all had our Maury Povich moments. But "Idiocracy" ponders the possibility of this happening on a massively grand scale...yes, indeed, a future where the human genus has evolved (or perhaps devolved is a better word) into a race of knuckleheads, nitwits, and numbskulls.
Luke Wilson plays Joe Bowers (now take your guess if his name is some kind of takeoff on Jack Bauers from "24", sadly I couldn't get Mike Judge to sit down for an interview with me so I could ask) an Army private who is average in every way imaginable. In fact, the Army, using some fairly sophisticated testing has deduced that Joe Bowers is indeed the most average person in all of the Armed Services, and perhaps the most average person on the face of the earth. For this reason, he is considered expendable, and chosen to participate in a bizarre experiment to cryogenically freeze soldiers, so that there will be an ample numbers of troops to fight wars of the future...or something like that. Private Bowers, who's not only extraordinarily average but also a world-class slacker, thinks that spending the next twelve months frozen, while moving another year closer to qualifying for his Army pension is not such a bad idea (not like he had a choice in the matter). Unable to find an equally average female counterpart in the military to participate in the experiment, the Army goes into the "private sector", and recruits an unsophisticated, but fairly good hearted street walker played by Maya Rudolph of "Saturday Night Live" fame. Maya is quite funny in her role, and is surprisingly prettier than you ever would have guessed she was hiding behind the facade of many of the goofy characters she played on SNL.
After a series of unfortunate, but not so unexpected events, the Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph characters are forgotten about, but are awakened 500 years in the future in the midst of a "garbage avalanche." Joe finds himself in a world of superficial morons where he is no longer average, but the smartest man on earth! Despite the frighteningly low intelligence levels of these people of the future, society is still able to function with the help of a computerized, automated infrastructure put in place by Big Brother like corporations, which still seems moronic despite the sophisticated technology which would no doubt be involved in maintaining it. Now, to any critics out there who would point out that the presence of all these high-tech, space age gizmos in a future America of imbeciles is inconsistent and a contradiction, I say to you IT'S A MOVIE. Among Mike Judge's main targets for satire, are these future corporations that seem to run everything, but don't seem to have the sense to realize that all their money won't be worth much if there is no food left, because farmers are required to water their crops with a gatorade like substance (water has been replaced by a sports drink thanks to corporate greed). The pop culture produced by this type of corporate dominance is reminiscent of our present day situation, in which sex, and sophomoric hi jinks, are relied on to produce ratings and profits, going for the cheap and easy sell, rather than taking the time,and effort to produce any art form of substance.
If there is one criticism I have of "Idiocracy", it's that more could have been done creatively to make these morons of the future more entertaining. For example, I felt there were more opportunities to get laughs with the stupid-speak used by this future American generation. The idiots are occasionally boring rather than funny . You may say that shallow, superficial blockheads are by definition dull, but Beavis and Butthead are shallow, superficial blockheads, and they are never dull. Overall, however, I give "Idiocracy" three stars out of a possible rating of four. It is a clever and inventive, comedic version of George Orwell's "1984" which sadly is making many observations about our future that may turn out to be all too accurate.