Æon Flux

Æon Flux

Film review by: Witney Seibold

 

            I was aware of, and had even seen a few episodes of, the Æon Flux cartoon series that aired late at night on MTV. I was unimpressed. While I appreciated the show’s deadpan, largely-dialogue-free approach to sci-fi action, and did like the wonky, lanky style of the animation, I couldn’t get past the bad action, weird pacing, and intentionally opaque storyline. (Given its psychedelic visuals and its late-night timeslot, I suspect it was conceived exclusively for stoners). The show did, however, amass something of a cult, which is why we are now treated to a live-action Æon Flux feature film. The film, I regret to report, also did not impress me.

            The setup: In the future, a virus has wiped out all but 5 million people. The remaining people have amassed into a single city. This city is surrounded by a wall, blocking out the encroaching jungle, and seems to be self-sustaining. The population doesn’t grow. The government is benevolent. It seems to be a utopia. Some people, though, have memories that aren’t theirs, and the local police force have the habit of vanishing certain people, and just out and killing others for no reason. And, if movies have taught me anything, where there’s dystopian murderous police-states, there’s an underground cadre of well-armed assassins. Æon Flux (Charlize Theron) is one said assassin who, while trying to assassinate the current mayor of this town (Marton Csokas), mysteriously develops feelings for the stranger. Not love-at-first-sight, really, but love nonetheless. Of course there’s a huge coverup, but I’ll leave it for you to discover.

            So, if 5 million people have been living in this city for hundreds of years, where do they get all those outfits? What do they eat? Where do they get the hairgel and lipgloss they they’re all wearing? Where do they mine their ore? How do they build all those nifty computerized gadgets? And if technology is so advanced that Æon can receive remote messages to her brain from a swallowed pill, why is it everyone is still using old-fashioned guns that shoot old-fashioned bullets?

            But never mind. I can buy most of that. The real disappointment comes from the film’s structure. There is one (1) huge coverup which isn’t revealed until near the end, so we’re left in the dark for most of the film. And the secret isn’t impressive enough to make up for all the waiting. Director Karyn Kuyama (Girlfight) does her best with the action and special effects, but it’s not enough to get past the slog. Theron is comely and fun as the action heroine, though. Too bad she couldn’t have picked a better film.

December 2nd, Paramount Pictures

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Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 7:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

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