A very well made satire that might scare you as much as An Inconvenient Truth.
Fox seems to have dropped the ball on yet another brilliant Mike Judge film. Very paltry extra features.
Idiocracy is the fable of Private Joe Bower (Luke Wilson). To call Joe dumb would be wrong, he just isn't very smart at all. He and a prostitute named Rita (Maya Rudolph) are put into adjoining sleep chambers, and when things go awry, they wake up 500 years into the future. Well, by that time the world has been so dumbed down that Joe Bower is considered highly intelligent. This is all discovered after he is almost put in jail but sneaks out when he tells the guard he's already served his time. Once Joe's intelligence is revealed, he is brought in by the President of the United States (the brilliant Terry Crews) to help solve some of the problems of the world. One of them being, why have crops stopped growing? (As sugar water has been substituted for regular water, everybody is too dumb to figure that out).
Eventually, Joe gets the crops to grow but not before he is almost killed because he has put people out of work and cost many in the world a lot of money. Like all geniuses, it takes people a while to recognize that that's what Joe is (compared to them), and Idiocracy makes it's point about how our present day culture is possibly headed down a similar, stupid road.
There are 5 of these in total and they have titles like "Girlfriend #1" and "Museum of Fart." While these were funny, I sort of wondered why they were cut from the film. They weren't very long at all and they seemed to enhance the story without elongated it. My biggest thought when I was watching this section was that they don't make movies like this any more. Sadly, the Special Features could have really gone in-depth and let people know more about this film, but maybe Fox is holding back on that hoping that they recoup even more money with multiple releases.
Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1. This film had a good look even though Fox again only sent me a burned copy in a white envelope. What I loved was that Mike Judge's vision of the future seemed sci fi, but it was still "now" enough to comment on the present day. In fact, he seems to have taken a page out of the production design from Back to the Future II. I found that even though things were more advanced and (hopefully) more efficient, the world's created in both films were messy, chaotic and hopefully not like how an eventual future will be.
English - Dolby Digital 5.1. Spanish - Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. The audio design for this film was normal. I had to switch the TVs I was watching this on because the burned copy I was sent was unreadable on my DVD player. I watched it on a TV with a surround sound system that seemed to play everything fine. There really wasn't an ambitious sound score, so much as Mike Judge used what was familiar to underscore his point of just how stupid the society had become.
From what I have seen Luke Wilson is presented on this yellow front cover in normal clothes (he almost looks like he's doing an ad for the Gap), with the old image of the ape walking upright behind him. Sadly, since Fox only sent me a promo copy of this release, I can't really write anything more than that. Something tells me they should have done something a bit more original and eye-catching, but as Fox is probably just trying to make a little money, going with Luke Wilson only was probably a good idea.
This movie insults basically everybody... but not in the way you think.
Idiocracy works because it looks at viewer's love of Reality TV (which seems headed for a major backlash), the dominance of retail outlets like Costco, people's debasing of the English language, but it also happens to be very funny. The simple truth is that Fox got scared because this movie would probably be over many moviegoers heads and probably offend the other corporations it is business with. It's not that people are stupid, it's just that the audience for those that appreciate that movies can make a social statement is not as large as it is for a film like Jackass Number Two. The majority of the moviegoing public sees film as only entertainment. There is nothing wrong with that. That is why there are art films and places like Netflix which allow people to see different kinds of movies. I personally like both kinds of films and I go out of my way to achieve a decent balance between them.
Basically, this movie, had it been released in 1000 or 2000 theaters probably would have given Fox a lot of red ink. They could have tried to release Idiocracy smaller and then built up the word of mouth, but something tells me that the industry has changed so much, that it's more cost effective to put it on DVD and hope the audience can find it.
Man, I really hope that happens...
Idiocracy was released September 1, 2006.