Warnings: none. Of course, it's not a movie for kids, but the shocks are purely moral, not graphical.
This is an older review that I couldn't finish right after seeing the movie itself, so I'm submitting it later than I usually do. I must confess that I started watching this expecting something lightly funny, which is why I was baffled by it. This is presented as a semi-mockumentary (false documentary) which mostly analyzes how humankind can destroy itself. In addition to this, you may feel like your IQ is dropping when watching - this, believe it or not, is a compliment, and here's why:
Private Joe Bauers and prostitute Rita are chosen as subjects for the Pentagon's newest experiment: freezing people that are deemed "the best that society has to offer" for an extended period of time, so that they can be summoned at will. However, these two are selected just as guinea pigs, as they represent the average American person as shown by research. Naturally, something goes wrong and the two are forgotten in their "coffins" for 500 years; they awaken in 2505 in a very different America. Furthermore, they just might be smartest people on the planet.
This is what you get when you're not sure of your name.
First of all, this was hilarious. Then it was sad. Then it was downright morbid. I'm not trying to sound pretentious by using all these adjectives, but these are the reactions I had from watching this movie. In the beginning, it's all fun and games, after which we are given time to reflect on what we've seen and arrive to the conclusion that it's not really as funny as we thought. I was depressed a bit after most of the scenes, since I also felt a strong sensation of helplessness: I couldn't tell those people what to do. And yes, the dimension of their idiocy was mind-boggling, to put it lightly.
The truth, it is sad.
This is a movie that makes you participate. At times you feel like screaming at the screen or face-palming yourself out of sheer frustration (no, I didn't do it, but I was this close). The drastic changes to society are explained, which makes them somewhat believable - which is exactly why this is so creepy: you realize that these things can and there is a high probability they will happen. For example, the (hypothethical) future world has become so dumb that they don't even know how or bother to dispose of waste, choosing to pile up all the trash until it reaches the height of mountains. Which, of course, leads to "landslides" that eventually bury the city the trash came from. Classy.
The characters are well fleshed out. We have Joe and Rita, who don't care too much about what happens with their lives at the beginning of the movie. After they awaken, they basically act like us, the audience, by questioning the new world and trying to use logic to explain things when even common sense is a proof of high intelect. Not surprisingly, Rita adapts quite well to the environment, while Joe struggles to make everyone understand the stupidity of their actions (often ending up blamed for something instead).
Fair trial: YOU CAN NOT HAS.
Obviously, there is heavy criticism towards America, it being the country chosen as the location. As far as I recall, there is no mention of other countries, but America was more than enough as an example. While I have nothing against a particular nation, I'm a bit tired of seeing Americans being blamed for being "the most stupid" in 90% of science fiction movies. If there's one thing I know, it's that if the world were a village, it wouldn't have only one idiot.
With each moment that passed, the mockumentary feel dissipated and the movie became more and more a comedy, which wouldn't be that bad were the situations treated more realistically. There are times (near the end, especially) when you're pulled out of the "they can't be that stupid" feel and start to question the script. I understand that creating dumb charactes was the norm here, but one more step and they'd be dumber than Scary Movie ones, and that's saying something.
Meh, might as well enjoy it.
The Plain WTF
Seriously, I could write down the entire script in this section. The situations Joe and Rita face are indeed funny, but in a morbid way. However, the "Time Masheen" segment takes the cake for "most WTF future scenario I have ever seen". Joe, Rita and their new friend Frito embark on a carnival ride which supposedly shows them bits and pieces of history. History which, apparently, deals with Charlie Chaplin as the supreme Nazi commander. I included a few quotes from it below. In all honesty, this needs to be seen in order to be believed.
Narrator: [Time Masheen starts] We're gonna take you back, to the year 1939 when Charlie Chaplin and his nazi regime enslaved Europe and tried to take over the world...
Narrator: ...But then an even greater force emerged, the U.N. [pronounced "un">
Narrator: and the U.N. un-nazied the world - forever.
This is actually pretty cool.
Frito: [acting as Joe's public defender] It says here you robbed a hospital. Why'd you do that?
Pvt. Joe Bowers: I'm not guilty!
Frito: That's not what the other lawyer said.
Verdict and recommendations
You need an open mind to see this, no way around it. If you are American, you may be the most offended by this, as there is no room for interpretation concerning the parody.
However, despite the funny parts, it made me afraid of what people are capable of doing to themselves. This is a future that is likely to happen - not this soon, probably, but I can't rule out the possibility completely either.
You can see it with friends but I recommend that you see it alone, in order to think carefully about everything presented here.
Originality + creativity: 1.5 points
Actors: 2 points
Soundtrack: 1 point
Special effects/Natural flow: 1 point
How much I enjoyed it: 2 points
My rating: (7.5 out of 10, rounded to 7)
Idiocracy (2006) on IMDb.com