by Geoffrey Jones
Every so often I get a royal surprise in film watching. Over the holiday I had a chance to watch a film that did just that. It’s title is “Idiocracy.” It starts out in the same sort of way as one of those “National Lampoon Animal House” kind of movies . I was prepared for a total gross out with no redeeming merits. I was wrong.
Ray Bradbury never used this sort of format for his stories, but I must say he would have liked the messages contained in this movie. The basic premise is sort of like time travel. A young army librarian, Joe Bauers and a young woman of questionable virtue “Rita” are chosen for their average intelligence level for an experiment in hibernation, they are put in sealed plastic compartments for a year. The plan goes awry and instead of a year they sleep 500 years!
In the intervening centuries the dumbing down process has worked to create a populous of completely ignorant people who are total victims of corporate greed. A big corporation has bought the FDA the FCC and USDA and makes its own rules at the expense of the people and of ecology. Inflation is so bad that people walk around with billion dollar bills to make simple purchases. The country is turning into a dust bowl because farmers are trying to water their crops with the corporation’s “Brawndo” drink as water is no longer allowed.
The chemical content is killing the plants. The president of the country “Camacho“ appears to be modeled a bit after the character of “Apollo Creed,” from the Rocky movies. A good natured, bombastic, showman and ex wrestler. His chief job seems to be putting on a show including entertainment of the ancient Roman coliseum sort to take up the minds of the victimized populace.
The hero from the past is given the opportunity to work for the president once it is discovered that his intelligence level makes him the smartest man alive. He is appointed Secretary of the Interior and given only a week to solve the problems of the whole crazy world but gets off to a good start by teaching that the substitution of water for drinking and watering crops is a necessity. Meantime the girl time traveler cleans up her act by becoming his aid and an artist, as well.
A great deal more happens in this remarkable yarn but hopefully this much will spur interest in what proves a very thought provoking story where it was least expected.
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