Plot: What’s it about?
Has it really been eight years since the wonderful “Office Space” came out in theaters? That’s redundant, of course, as the answer is a hearty “Yes”. Judge is probably one of the most underrated writer/directors working today mainly because the subject matter he deals with is comedy. Turn in something dramatic and you’re praised, but let it be known that you’re responsible for “King of the Hill” and “Beavis and Butt-Head” and it’s another story. While stories of a sequel to “Office Space” have been thrown around for years, it never came to fruition. So audiences were dying for some other feature-length movie directed by Mike Judge. They got their wish in the summer of 2006…sort of. “Idiocracy” was released in such a limited number of theaters that it was literally impossible to find – personally I tried myself but I wasn’t about to drive up to New York just to watch it. I remember reading reviews of it, mostly praising it so I was giddy when I heard it would finally be released on DVD. I can safely say that the wait is over and it’s quite worth it.
Luke Wilson plays Joe Bowers, as in “average” Joe. He’s average in literally every way. He’s a private in the Army where he’s in charge of the library. He does nothing all day except sit and watch TV where he’s not bothered and no one bothers him. He likes it this way. It’s this lifestyle that gets him selected for an Army experiment in which they take an average person put them in hibernation for a year. Rita (Maya Rudolph), a prostitute is also selected for the experiment. No sooner are they put in hibernation than the experiment is cancelled and the two are long forgotten about. They both awaken 500 years in the future where the society has become so dumbed down that they’re both the smartest people on the planet. Naturally this doesn’t come without consequence as Joe has to fight to survive and try to communicate to a culture that only craves food, sex and money. Will Joe and Rita make it back to the present or are they doomed to suffer in a future where they’re the smartest minds on the planet?
“Idiocracy” is a very clever film, and I had a great time watching it. It’s the kind of movie that you really have to be in the mood for or just really like Mike Judge’s style of directing. Evidently he’s not a big fan of the major chain restaurants (and Costco) and communicates that view in a not so subtle way here. There are a few cameos by some “Office Space” alumni but the show is really Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph. Judge is also poking a bit of fun at our culture as a whole and it could be an eerie prediction of how we might possibly end up. I felt “Idiocracy” was well worth the wait and though it’s short in running time (87 minutes) it seems to flow pretty well. Though I still prefer “Office Space” in terms of movies that Mike Judge has directed, this is a fairly good satire on modern, or should I say “post-modern” society and we can only hope that we don’t end up like these folks.
Video: How does it look?
“Idiocracy” is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer that looks fairly good. The entire image seems to be a bit soft and I don’t really want to say out of focus, but that’s how it appeared. I’m sure the budget for this movie wasn’t that much and as such, we can’t expect those glossy high production values that we’d get with some other more mainstream movies. Still, I had no problem with how this looked. The somewhat dark and dismal future didn’t have a lot of light associated with it, as a result the images are a bit on the dingy side but it’s really not a fault of the transfer. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot here and really image quality should be the last thing on your mind when you pick this up.
Audio: How does it sound?
I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at some of the scenes in “Idiocracy” when it came to sound. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack actually does deliver here and though the surround effects don’t come into play that often, when they do it sounds pretty darn good. Take, for example, the monster truck scene in which they’re going after Joe. Dialogue sounds fairly natural as well and if there’s something I could complain about it’s the lack of supplements and not the audio. Fox has done a good job here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Unfortunately this movie will certainly find a wider audience on DVD but all they’ll be treated to are five deleted scenes. Yep, that’s it. They run maybe three minutes and don’t really add a lot of information to the movie and sadly there’s no commentary from Judge. Aside from the disappointing lack of supplements, you’ll be getting a pretty unique and funny film though.