In 1999, Mike Judge's "Office Space" was given a minor release from Fox and departed theatres relatively quickly. However, once the film hit DVD, it became a smash hit, selling millions of copies and even resulting in many of the film's phrases ("TPS Report") and items (the red Swingline stapler) becoming part of pop culture.
So, with all that, one would think that Judge's latest film, "Idiocracy", would get a little more of a push, thanks to the success of "Space". "Idiocracy" was released in September of 2006 with little advance notice on 130 screens and was down to 13 two weeks later. Two weeks later, the film essentially vanished without a trace. Like "Office Space", "idiocracy" is another terrific work that will hopefully get the attention it deserves on DVD.
The film opens in present day, where a narrator discusses the fact that our culture has entered a stage of deevolution and that "evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence." Meanwhile, the Army begins a new human hibernation experiment and picks average soldier Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) to be the test subject, along with a hooker (Maya Rudolph). What was supposed to be a year becomes hundreds, as the head of the program is arrested and the program eventually forgotten about, with a Fuddruckers built over the site.
As the years pass by, the population has gotten increasingly dumber (the dumb have outbred the intelligent) and unable to do even the simplest tasks, such as figure out what to do with garbage. Joe wakes up in 2505, when he's uncovered due to an enormous garbage avalanche. When Bowers wakes up, he finds out that the language has become a mixture of "valley girl, grunts, hillbilly and inner-city slang" and that the Oscar winner for the year is a movie called "Ass", which is simply an ass farting for 90 minutes. One of the most popular TV shows of the future is "Ow, My Balls". Water has been replaced by an energy drink who thought that water was a threat to their profit margin.
It doesn't take Joe long to realize that he is now the smartest person on a planet and that given that no one is capable of actually doing anything for themselves anymore, Joe is quickly brought in to aid the President, (Terry Crews), a former wrestler. With little in the way of options and less in the way of time, Joe sets out to save the planet, starting with the crops, which have been watered with energy drink.
Making surprisingly good use of primitive visual effects and fairly limited sets, Judge has done a terrific job creating a genuinely eerie look at an idiotic future where everything has fallen apart. Despite the film's focus on a future population made up entirely of morons, the picture is a genuinely witty look at what might become of us if we don't attempt to halt the decline of our culture.
VIDEO: "Idiocracy" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The screening copy of the film that was provided offered reasonably fine image quality, with some minor shimmer and artifacting being the main concerns. However, this is still not the final copy and unfortunately, I cannot make any final comments on it, as the final copy will likely offer differing (and hopefully even better) image quality.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was just fine, with the surrounds kicking in to deliver some entertaining sound effects and enjoyable ambience. Audio quality was terrific, with crisp dialogue and music.
EXTRAS: Sadly, the only extras are 5 deleted scenes that do not offer much.
Final Thoughts: A very funny, very entertaining comedy with a solid lead effort from Luke Wilson, "Idiocracy" is prime cult hit material and will hopefully be a hit on DVD. A highly recommended rental.
The Film B+