Review: Aeon Flux

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  December 2, 2005 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Reviews

In the new sci-fi film, Charlize Theron stars as Aeon Flux, an ultra-slick infiltrative revolutionary in the distant future. Her body has been enhanced with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos, and honed to perfection. She works for a group whose sole purpose is to bring a corrupt government to its knees.

What is their plan to accomplish this monumental task? Well, assassinate Trevor Goodchild (Martin Csokas), the chairman of the government, of course. The uncanny thing is that Goodchild was also the savior of the human race during its darkest hour.

According to the film, 2014 unleashes a virus into the human population and wipes out 99% of man. Goodchild was the head of a team who brought man back from almost the moment of human extinction. He created a hidden world where man could rebuild, but for some reason man never left their sheltered existence and corruption began within the halls of this seemingly perfect utopia.

Aeon Flux's group has waited 400 years for its chance to free mankind from the corruption and start again.

Aeon Flux is based on a 16-episode 1995 MTV animated series that created a cult following. The concept and the series' central character seems to be forever implanted in anyone's mind who saw the series. It was very different, had a unique animated style, and was very sci-fi.

At the core of Aeon Flux, you can feel the echo of some of the elements from other sci-fi classics like Logan's Run and even a little of THX-1138. The main difference between Aeon Flux and these other classics is that instead of running, Aeon fights against the system as a super-assassin or ultra-spy. I guess you could draw the conclusion and compare this to The Matrix trilogy, but that series was much more than that.

The best part of the feature film version has to be the production design. This film is a gorgeous film to watch, even if you can get past some of its obvious flaws. The costumes, sets, effects, and eloquently-executed action sequences make the film feel quirky and fun.

Charlize Theron is gorgeous, energetic, and lethal. Her cold "robotic" demeanor is off-setting at times, but she really sticks it out through the film. It is surprising how involved you can get with this character with this rough exterior. That feat has to go to Theron's strength as an actress, because it's hard to make someone this one-dimensional at first feel so real.

The biggest difference between the feature film and the series is the quality of the film's presentation below the ultra-slick visual presentation. This brings us to the obvious flaw and what probably made the studio feel scared about the film. The flaw is the script, and how bad it actually is. Screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi not for one second knew how to deliver the right kind of dialogue for a highly-detailed and evolved sci-fi scenario. These people hardly talk like they are human beings. Is the human race evolving so that we all talk like robots? I did have to snicker at some of the goofy sets of dialogue.

This was the first time that Hay and Manfredi had written a sci-fi film and it shows. Their previous writing talents were used for Jackie Chan's spy-spoof The Tuxedo.

Can you imagine how this film could have been if a real sci-fi writer or screenwriter had been allowed to bring this concept to life? I really believe that a Harlan Ellison or a William Gibson could have made this a sci-fi film we could have respected.

Another serious flaw is the film's editing. There are oodles of strobe-light scenes that are supposed to accent the scenes but are very distracting. Also, for the film's first 30-40 minutes, it seems like there was oodles of stuff left on the cutting room floor.

One minute she has a gun in her mark's face, and the next she sleeps with him. Huh, did I miss something? No, just bad editing.

Aeon Flux proves that a beautiful woman and beautiful production design and style doesn't equal a beautiful movie. But it is way better than Catwoman. (2.5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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