Once again I find myself in the minority. The Tomatometer's gauge at rottentomatoes.com levels off at an extremely cool 10% approval rating; meaning 90% of the critics DIDN'T like it.
Most of the bashing comes via comparisons to CATWOMAN (another bomb) or the fact that the original Aeon Flux was an animated feature on MTV and the translation to live-action cinema didn't work. Not having seen these animated versions - or CATWOMAN for that matter - I can't make any comparisons. But what I can do is tell you how the movie flowed, how well it was acted, and its entertainment value.
Charlize Theron (NORTH COUNTRY) stars as Aeon Flux, a rebel in the 25th century. A terrible disease has decimated humanity and its surviving members hide behind an enclosure, cut-off from the possible devastating effects of what lay beyond (think LOGAN'S RUN and you'll be close). Within the confines of their home live the remaining five million members of society thanks to the medical efforts of the Goodchild Regime, named after Trevor Goodchild (Martin Csokas). Aeon Flux belongs to an elite group of resistance fighters known as the Monicans who's goal is to topple the Goodchild Regime. People have been vanishing. Police actions are resulting in deaths. And Aeon Flux is going to find out why.
As we move through the stronghold of humanity (the city is known as Bregna), we learn and see much about this futuristic yet completely alien-like society. Pills can heighten awareness and even send coded messages to ones brain. Computers look like musical instruments or a type of String Theory. Everyone feels that something is wrong with their world ...and there is. Cloning and its effects on the power-base of the Goodchild Regime are holding humanity back at a terrible price.
CATWOMAN comparisons aside (yes, Charlize looks fantastic in her skin-tight leather outfit), this is a thinking person's film. There are lots of little tidbits thrown into the film that give it a futuristic look without trying too hard (the computers were a nice touch, as were filming many external shots in Berlin, Germany where new construction is the rage).
The pacing of the film was excellent. Never once did it get bogged down in the minutia of the times or the science. If you can't keep up, oh well. Leaping from action sequence to fight scene to action sequence made the 93 minutes fly by. The acting was okay. Nothing special but nothing horrible either. Charlize was the shining star, of course, and gave a relatively fine performance.
For my time, this was extremely entertaining and sexy, and full of great sci-fi scenery.
Only one question remains: What's up with the critics?!
I had no idea I would love this move as much simply because I heard it got some bad reviews, I'm not a Chalize Theron fan and I have never watched the original cartoon. Man I was wrong, to heck with all the negative rubbish, I love it!
The film itself is pure fantasy captured on the screen. I felt transported to another world for the time it took me to absorb the story and on a minor vain note I ended up loving Aeon's hairdo- do, it was awesome!
Aeon is the equivalent of a bounty hunter in this movie, as she is a part of rebel group called the Monicans. She has a secret mission to kill Goodchild, the chairman who oversees the last surviving place called Bregna as he rules with other scientists. Since 99% of the population was killed by a virus, he is in charge and Aeon with her rebellion are about to change that.
What I loved, other than the fantastic costumes and surreal landscapes was the twists and turns in the story! This reminded me of those books I read and loved, when you didn't really know who the bad guy was and that was really going on. You must pay attention as a lot goes! Aeon and Goodchild are caught in a game of cat and mouse and it was enticing to see how they were connected and what the truth would do.
The twist start when Aeon if faced with fleeting memories of a previous life that keep her from fulfilling her mission and as the truth is revealed to her, she changes the future of Bregna with the equivalent of taking the bottom block of the foundation out. She lets all the skeletons loose as she jumps, shots, cartwheels, slinks through the night, paralyzes and disarms army men and fights for the truth of her and her people.
As I said, I'm not a die hard fan, I've never even seen the series and I absolutely let the movie swallow my brain and possess my interest till the end credit. I loved it, cant wait to own the DVD so I can pop it in when I have a sweet tooth for some sweet , eccentric and off-the-wall action.
OK, so this is not a masterpiece, but this is not nearly as bad as I would have expected given the horrid reviews by both critics and moviegoers when it first came out. The real question, I believe, is not why people think this is so good, but why anyone imagines that the graphic novel and the MTV animated series based upon it were so great. In all three cases the basic story had plot holes you could drive an armada of eighteen-wheelers through, all three were based vastly more on style than substance, and all three were more about how it parsed visually rather than logically. No version of Aeon Flux could be honestly considered any kind of classic and I really can't privilege either of the previous versions over this one.
Once one gets past the fact that this doesn't have the tightest plot in the history of cinema and just concentrates on the visuals that was really all the previous two versions had going for it, this is actually a fairly pleasant film. Yeah, there were moments when I would flinch at the silliness of things, but, again, the same silliness afflicted the novel and animated series.
If there is a chameleon in the movies today, it is Charlize Theron. I find it nothing should of stunning the various physical types that she can play and I think she did a more than creditable job in this one. Her presence here is remarkable of only because she truly is a first rate actress, capable of a wide variety of roles. She can do action films, dramas, Sci-fi, and comedy, and could probably do other kinds of films as well if called upon to do so. She looks good as Aeon, nothing like the previous two versions, but then Aeon in those incarnations looked, in my opinion, rather ridiculous. Since no actresses who are 6'2 and have measurements of 32-16-30 were available, one has to settle for someone like the lovely Ms. Theron. The greatest testament to her abilities comes from the fact that in the same period of time this film came out, NORTH COUNTRY was released for which she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and she appeared in ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT in an extraordinary role for which she could very well be nominated and win an Emmy (you heard it here first) as the "special" British female Rita. As many will know, Theron, who is a very good athlete, did as many of her stunts as possible.
I thought the basic story, as long as one doesn't try to poke too many holes in the plot (an easy thing to do), was fun. I put no spoiler warnings here so I won't go into the plot, but the basic premise has a kind of Philip K. Dick quality twist on things, where reality isn't as real as it seems. Nonetheless it is impossible to completely ignore the essential silliness of so many things in the novel/series/movie. The superfluous athleticism is only one of these. Why the endless back flips, not only when they are nonfunctional but when they would be actual distractions? For instance, when Aeon jumps to grab one of the things dangling from the ship that hovers the city she does a full somersault on her way down. How in the world could that help things? And why do fifty feet of somersaults instead of simply sprinting? A one legged person could out hop someone doing back flips or somersaulting. You can contrast this with the action sequences in another fairly recent film, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY. What makes Matt Damon's action sequences so refreshing is that in every instance he does the absolute minimum number of moves to be effective. It makes Bourne come across as the effective killing machine that he is supposed to be. Here, as in the novel and series, Aeon comes across as an extravagant wind up toy. And one of my pet peeves: breaking necks. I took quite a bit of martial arts and in grappling classes actually was trained in the ways that one can break a neck, mainly so that you can be on the defensive of it happening to you. On a host of shows and in movies there has developed an intensely dumb way of doing this, which apparently consists of pushing the chin off to one side. Trust me, you can't break a neck this way. (My beloved series BUFFY and ANGEL were two of the worse at perpetuating this method of neck breaking.) OK, this is nitpicking, but I state it as an example of the way the film starts falling apart if you pick at it. But, again, the same was true of the novel and series. It's not like the silliness suddenly started with the movie.
So, I recommend this, especially to fans of Sci-fi, as long as you don't expect a tautly thought out story. What you get is a host of gorgeous images, a compelling main character portrayed by the lovely Charlize Theron, and a pretty interesting visual representation of the future. I've seen worse and I've definitely seen better but I think a tolerant fan will find more than a little to enjoy in it.
on April 20, 2010
There are a plethora of reviews of the movie, but my review is mostly a comparison of the BD vs DVD version. I won't discuss its merits as movie.
I saw Aeon Flux on 2 DVD versions and finally BD, as different releases were made.
This movie is best in BD. Video is noticeably sharper. However, in colors and audio, the DVD was very well made, its not that far from the BD version. So if you already own the DVD version, its not that big a leap in quality.
Where it matters most are what you expect from BD, more resolution so the lines are cleaner versus jaggy in DVD. A good DVD player will 'smooth' the jagged edges when possible, so no where is the lines of any image as tack sharp as in BD.
This very visible as there are many 'sharp' and contrasting colors used in the movie: the blades of grass, the needle popping out of the grass, Theron's chiseled features, the straight lines of her hair style.
The audio is not that striking either in channel separation or dynamic range.
Overall, I bought this disk for $10. I'm not sure its good value at $16. In contrast, there are many BD releases that truly take your breath away and are a huge leap in quality over its prior superlative DVD version, such as Band of Brothers [Blu-ray]. Clearly the format can offer more than demonstrated by the Aeon Flux's BD.
on December 15, 2005
Even though I knew what the critics were saying about "Aeon Flux", I decided to go see it anyway. Although I hadn't seen the animated version, nor was familiar with the storyline, after watching the movie, I must say that I didn't find it as bad as I thought I would.
In the year 2011, a deadly virus killed most of the population. Trevor Goodchild, a scientist, developed a cure for the disease, and the rest of the survivors lived in Bregna, the last city on Earth. We now go to 400 years later, where there are some unusual incidents taking place in Bregna. Rebels known as the Monicans are challenging the Goodchild regime and trying to bring it down, as they feel that Goodchild has something to do with the incidents. Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) is one of them. Her main aim is to get rid of Trevor Goodchild, but things get really complicated during her mission, as she starts to remember things that she doesn't remember happening. She wants to get to the bottom of what is really going on, and that is what the rest of the movie is all about.
It's too bad the critics are trashing this movie. Personally, I found it a little slow and difficult to understand at first, but after the first 10 minutes, things start becoming very interesting. The special effects are amazing and very life-like, such as Sithandra's `modifications', the city of Bregna, Goodchild's library, etc. Ok, so Charlize is not playing her usual `Oscar winning' role here, but I think she acted very well as Aeon. Just because someone wins an Academy Award doesn't mean that they have to stick to only those types of roles; if that was the case, then there would be no versatility. Similarly, even Sophie Okonedo (after seeing her wonderful performance in Hotel Rwanda) acted fine as Sithandra. The rest of the cast did well for their roles, but nothing great.
True, the storyline is unique, and this might not be a movie for everyone, but you should at least give it a chance. Don't listen to what the critics are saying. Go see the movie and judge it yourself.
The HD DVD version of this film (the only version I've seen) is easy to look at - the film is very well done by all parties involved.
The story is definitely worthy of the big screen. The 5.1 audio tracks are very clean and captivating. The great HD picture comes through crisp and bright, clean and awesome.
I have never seen the animated series so I have no comments about its similarities, but I consider this film a keeper for the collection that I can watch again in the future and still enjoy it.
"Aeon Flux" offers a nice variety of well executed, pulse quickening action sequences, coupled with brilliant performances by a great cast. What you end up with is an hour and thirty-two minutes of excellent action-packed film!
I'm glad I bought it.
If you enjoy TV's "Alias" (please no comparison follow-ups, I'm not comparing) you may likely enjoy "Aeon Flux" - not that they're the same thing, but there is this mission...with a captivating female lead...this one's a bit more on the sci-fi side, though...I don't want to blow it for anyone, just go out and get it if that kind of premise piques your interest in any way. If you're curious so far, you can pretty much count on enjoying the movie.
on June 28, 2012
This is a new twist on the cloning debate. I must admit, I am not familiar with the animated series or comic serials this film is based on. My review is primarily from a Charlize Theron fan's point of view. The story, the characters, the special effect and the overall mood of the story are all a bit unexpected.
As a film, Aeon Flux does not disappoint. It combines great characters, a complex plot, and great special effects in an entertaining format that zips by in a 92 minutes. The alternate society is a varied theme that generally creates a blank canvas for writers and directors to play with freely. Here, Kusama, Manfredi, Chung, and Hay step up to answer the call well. Action begins quickly and integrates viewers in an alternate world rather quickly. It is a strange world though.
Aeon portrays a rogue assassin who betrays her mission when unanswered questions collide with residual memories of another lifetime. Coincidence and circumstance lead her into a precarious position between future and past. In the end, her decision demonstrates heroic wisdom and courage demanded of a science-fiction character. Theron captures Aeon's character well.
Charlize Theron is sexy, smart, and daring. Her ability to present Aeon's conflict is genuine. She also stands alone as a unique hero in a complex universe. This modern Hollywood princess skillfully uses all action, dialogue, and pacing. Her physical beauty harmonizes well with her grace and athletic prowess. Charlize Theron is a fantastic actor.
The plot is interesting. I certainly didn't expect events to unfold as they did. I do like the pace and fluidity involved. The pivotal scene in which Aeon must convince Sith Andra her intentions are pure is a little sudden, but definitely not forced. I believe a little history leading up to Aeon's mission would have been well worth the extra time it would have added to the movie. In the end, most questions are answered, and the story feels complete.
on December 5, 2005
After reading reviews of this movie, I was skeptical that it was going to be any good. Some of the ones I saw said the movie was boring. I have to disagree. This film had an interesting and coherant storyline, mixed with well done action scenes.
The special effects were also well done, and several artsy shots from the cartoon also appeared in the movie (such as Aeon catching the fly in her eye lashes).
People whom are looking for something which is 100% true to the cartoon may be a bit disapointed. However I think that most sci-fi fans and fans of the cartoon will enjoy the movie. If you don't fall into either of those categories I can't quite recomend it to you.
The relationship between Trevor and Aeon was quite different in the movie than in the cartoon, and the movie as a whole was not highly symbolic as the cartoon was. While this makes the movie easier to follow, it does lose some of the appeal of the cartoon.
The other complaint I heard was that the outfits in the movie were way too "out there", and that the movie was almost pornographic. I can honestly not imagine how someone could consider a movie, which is actually rather tame when it comes to sex, to be nearly pornographic (unless you're really really old fasion). In fact the cartoon was quite kinky, and the movie wasn't really, which I admit to wishing it had been. Also the outfits are not as "out there" as they were in the cartoon, and if you can appreciate a little bit of weirdness, you will find them well done.
For those complaining about her not being emotional enough. That is exactly how the character Aeon Flux is supposed to be. Those who have seen the cartoon know that Aeon is as a rule (with very few exceptions, Trevor being the main one, which she deals with an appropriate awkwardness), a tough person whom doesn't get emotional involved with other people. The movie stayed pretty true to this.
While there are a few things in the cartoon that this movie lacked, and I found myself missing them, I do think it is a very well done (though not quite amazing), and interesting adaptation of a cartoon which doesn't easily lend itself to being a live action mostion picture.
on March 20, 2006
Personally, as a fan of the show, I thought this live adaptation was right on the mark.
The filmmakers found a good story that helps MAKE the live transition. The action sequences are orignal and nice to look at. But I think what makes this film pretty decent is the story and the question it poses about human cloning. What happens when it's all there is left? Do you do it to save humanity? Or follow the ambiguous moral ethics that seem to want to frown on the mere IDEA of cloning humans? With the scenario and the cloning question in place, it didn't make the movie unbelievable in any way.
I think people just put too much expectation in an MTV movie and decided it was going to be bad before even seeing it. And by doing that actually BELIEVED it was bad while they were watching it. You want pure unadulterated cheesey badness...see "Ultraviolet". But this one was pretty good. Not exactly "The Fifth Element", but not a bad effort. Just give a chance, and you'll probably enjoy it.
on December 3, 2005
The premise of the movie is that Eaon is a secret 'terrorist'/freedom fighter/assasin, out to eliminate Trevor Goodchild, the corrupt leader of a future Utopia/Dystopia in a post-apocalypse world 400 years into the future. But of course there's more to the story. She discovers a hidden truth:
The plague that destroyed most of humanity way back in 2011 had left the survivors sterile, and what people had thought were newborn babies were in fact implanted clone embryos.
Society had become a sterile museum piece, with no fertile offspring, no new ideas or growth was possible and the world had become a meaningless, perfect but unchanging island of technology.
On the other hand, death has been banished - as clones take the place of children, individuals had for centuries been succeeded by their carbon copies. So while individuals had aged and passed, their DNA blueprints had endured.
And so the question: Is life so precious that it should be preserved if technology makes it possible is invented? The answer: No.
That position - that Cloning is Good - is taken by the villains. The moral: Death is necessary.. As carbon copies we lose our individuality and our sacred concept of pure free will is degraded as our abilities and attributes become tracable and assigned to our DNA instead of our personal decisions.
And thus humanity in the current definition ends, and we become simple cogs in a soul-less machine/society. Eaon sees this, as she describes the citizenry as 'walking ghosts'.
Like Venice, embalmed in the 1850's into a museum-area for tourists, so too would the Eaon Flux Future be a bleak and meaningless existence. Inflexible, narrow, devoid of uncertainty and the pleasure or pain of a dynamic possibilities.
So .. Eaon figures out who the good guys are. She Arranges through a long and overly complex plot to kill the bad guys, thereby freeing the future from it's well-intentioned but wrong-headed techno-overlords, and lives happily ever after in a fertile world - until her certain death in the distant future, which is exactly as it should be.
In the end the city wall is broken and a reborn humanity is again free to flood outward into a rejuvinated natural world, a new Garden of Eden with a limitless future.
Charlize Theron looks like a stunningly perfect ballerina sculpture from every angle, absolutely hypnotizing, like a poised Leni-Reifenstahl Uber-Athlete made of porcelain. At 29, I'm glad she made this movie. The world wants to see her beauty, and as gravity catches up with her it's likely she'll never look this good again.
But sadly..there wasn't enough personality in this film - the sterility was deeper than the surface. Every single sentence felt like a movement of a chess piece on an inorganic 3D backboard which really needed more verve and charm. The total abstraction of 'society', while necessary to the story, felt shallow.
If we're meant to root for humanity - we needed to see it. I didn't see anything on the screen worth saving - instead we were supposed to be rooting for a deeper, more complex humanity which the filmakers didn't decide to show us, probably due to time-constraints and lack of imagination. They've built themselves a magnificent edifice, but there wasn't any jelly in this donut. Just cement sculpture and beautiful acrobatics.
Good movies that make somewhat similar points about our DNA-enhanced/cloned dystopic future, but with different styles and emphasises.. are George Lucas's THX-1138 (1970), Gattaca(1997), Equilibrium(2000), Code 46(2003) and The Island (2005).
The other direction for modern Sci-Fi is Man-vs-Robot, or computer intelligence. Some movies in that genre are I-Robot (2004), A.I. Artificial Intelligience (1999), the Matrix movies, and the sublime Bladerunner(1982).
And then there's man vs. Alien, but that's a whole other story, And from there there's Man vs. the One Ring & the Orc Army, or Potter vs. Golden Snitch. Fantasy has a place.
Sci-Fi represents a deep vein of Metaphysical BS which Hollywood should continue to mine - I wait with baited breath.