As a comedy, Idiocracy isn’t a blow-out winner, but as a film made in 2005 it is an alarmingly accurate, entertaining and almost sobering vision of how completely hopeless humanity’s future really is.
Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) is an incredibly average man, so average that he excels and fails at nothing, he lives shut away working in an isolated military base library. But when the military looks to experiment a cryogenic stasis system, they enlist Joe (the most expendable). However, the year long test is waylaid, and Joe finds himself waking over 500 years into the future, a future where the world is populated only by the socially inept, dumb and clueless human beings. He finds out he is the smartest person alive, and he alone can save everyone from their own stupidity.
It sounds like Futurama without the aliens, right?
The film has plenty of laughs, but the heart of the matter lies in its premise; which is a very intelligent one. It is heavily narrated, which is welcoming as it intensifies the satire, and opens with a blatant example of how our current society is expanding: smart couples don’t have time for having kids, or don’t think its financially viable; while the social underbelly produces loads of kids either by accident or for life benefits. This cascades over the decades and centuries and society becomes completely stagnated and retarded.
People don’t drink water anymore, they only drink one brand of energy drink. People just sit at home and watch television shows all day with a guy getting kicked in the balls. The greatest film of modern times, Oscar winning, is called “Ass” – ninety minutes of just that. Language is completely destroyed, justice and personal hygiene are nonexistent, huge landfills tower over cities. Everyone just lives aimlessly, caring only for some money, casual sex and utterly brainless television.
To think it is brought to us by the man behind the cartoon Bevis and Butthead, but you can see some similarities with the year 2500 citizens. I would have liked more focus on the language and dependency on technology; if everything goes as badly as this film makes out, our global language will be completely gone and probably unrecognizable in 500 years. There’s little or no mobile phone technology or any sort of advanced personal appliance either.
It is by far a perfect film, but certainly a very interesting and socially viable experiment! I recommend everyone watches it, I really do. It is like someone has taken the musings and ramblings of philosophers and intellectuals (the sorts of articles only other philosophers would read) and made it legible for the masses to watch. The comedy is a choice, it would have been a cynical, art house production otherwise, the levity here makes it enjoyably unnerving!
What’s best about it is, we can go back to it and see how much closer we are to living this reality! Or better yet… avoid it.