Wednesday, 17 February 2016

WATCHING: IDIOCRACY (2006)


What do you do when you plan to release a film that you're sure will insult pretty much everyone that watches it? Well, you release it in a few cinema's with no fanfare and hope nobody see's it. Unfortunately for 20th Century Fox, Mike Judge's Idiocracy has gone on to become a bit of a cult classic in the ten years since its release, and its quickly becoming a term for a particular type of future we can almost foresee.

When the painfully average army librarian Joe (Luke Wilson) and prostitute Rita (Maya Rudolph) awake 500 years in the future, after a military experiment into suspended animation goes wrong, it does not take long to notice that somethings have gone awry in society. A voice over informs you that through generations of low IQ people having lots of children, humanity has effectively devolved. After being sent to jail, and escaping, Joe discovers that he is the most clever person in America, and is appointed Secretary of the Interior by President Camacho (Terry Crews), with only a week to sort out the countries problems.


Mike Judge and the production crew obviously had a lot of fun creating the world of 2505. Another reason why Idiocracy wasn't publicised was because of the lampooning of popular brands, especially the likes of Starbucks, which has become a massage parlour, where you can get a "full body" latte. A 90 minute film which is just a close up of an ass wins 9 Oscars. The President is hyper-masculine and wears a giant gold medal. The world of 2505 is a joy to watch in itself, establishing much of the films humour. it won't be long until you start seeing aspects of 2505 in our contemporary culture, much to your horror.

While Idiocracy does a great job as satire, many people have started to declare the film as a prophecy, lamenting the seemingly decline of common sense and intelligence in society (a quick Google search highlights many peoples findings, such as this). Truthfully, it is awfully easy to watch Idiocracy and then look at the world and declare that the worlds problems rest with poorly educated, large families. Of course, this is reductionism and would lump you in with the rest of the morons you blame societies problems on. There are many factors that would cause a dystopia like 26th century USA.


Or is it even a dystopia? After Donald Trump's inflammatory declaration that he is running for president, Cracked.com published a video which states that Idiocracy is more like a utopia. Think about it: 2505 America go to the cleverest man they know to help sort out their problems, and the President even steps down when he realises Joe can do a better job. Much worse, Cracked says, is the malevolent idiocy we have in our actual world, where people use ignorance to spread hate and make the world a worse place. You could even imagine these malevolent idiots using Idiocracy as a twisted kind of propaganda  to push through unfair politics.

Like the best speculative fiction, Idiocracy takes a fear and explodes the concept to its most threatful and entertaining conclusion. It may be easy to mistake Idiocracy to be as dumb as its subject matter, but after you are finished laughing at its jokes, you will spend a long time thinking of its consequences. Remember, we're all capable of being idiots.

No comments:

Post a Comment