film review **1/2: ...Aeon Flux... Fights for Free Love
Action Flick Good for an Evening...s Entertainment
By Andrew Guerra
Directed by Karyn Kusama
Written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
Starring Charlize Theron, Marton Csokas
Charlize Theron now walks in the proud footsteps of Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie. She, like her predecessors, has followed her Oscar win with a film requiring the display of more skin than skill. Fortunately for her, she’s chosen this project with more prejudice than her predecessors, as “Aeon Flux” trumps both Jolie’s “Tomb Raider” and Berry’s “Catwoman.”
Theron plays Aeon, an operative working for the Monican rebels against the harsh rule of the Goodchilds of Bregna, the last city on Earth. The Goodchild dynasty has ruled Bregna for 400 hundred years, ever since the rest of humanity was wiped out by a virus against which the original Goodchild found a vaccine. However, as Aeon is sent to assassinate Trevor Goodchild, allegiances become more complex, and secrets surrounding the founding of Bregna are revealed.
“Aeon Flux” has its origins in MTV’s “Liquid Television” as several animated shorts created by Peter Chung but was then expanded into its own show that lasted only 10 episodes. The animated show was groundbreaking for a mainstream outlet such as MTV, as it featured abstruse dialogue, a graphic artistic style, and dark subject matter. It lacked cohesive overarching plot structure, and most episodes ended with Aeon’s death. Fans of the animated show will likely be disappointed by this big screen adaptation, as the only trait it borrows from the show is its sense of style. Nearly every other aspect has been simplified for mainstream consumption, including the dialogue, the relationships between the characters, and the plot.
While the film only plays lip service to its roots, it is still enjoyable. The mysteries of the film are slowly revealed in a satisfying manner. The action is fast-paced and enjoyable. The plot is engaging and understandable, even if it loses the complexity of the source material. The style of the film is also interesting, with ostensibly idyllic gardens filled with razor blade grass and poison dart-shooting trees. “Aeon Flux” even throws in some interesting themes dealing with mortality and the meaning of existence, as well as the constant battle between man and nature.
“Aeon Flux,” however, is flawed beyond the bastardization of its source material to appeal to the mainstream. The film uses clumsy voiceovers after the beginning of the movie to further plot background, giving a disjointed feeling, jarring the viewer from the proceedings on-screen. In addition, despite Theron’s Oscar, the acting here isn’t the best, although this could also be caused by the characterization, which was largely two-dimensional. Finally, the direction is also somewhat lacking, as Kusama focuses so intently on Theron’s sparsely-clothed form that the events going on around her seem almost inconsequential.
“Aeon Flux” is entertaining, looks good, and even has enough thought to hold a conversation. Fans of the animated show will want to stay away, but anyone else interested in fast-paced sci-fi or Charlize Theron’s half-clothed form will probably find something to like.