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December 13th, 2005


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11:16 am - Aeon Flux
Last night I went to see Aeon Flux with koriandrkitten. I've heard plenty about this movie from everybody else, not in terms of plot specifics but in terms of whether or not it's any good. Nobody agrees.

I can't address the movie as a fan of the animated series because I hated the animated series with a passion. Note the past-tense. I had a friend in high school who tried over and over to interest me in Aeon Flux. Watching anything with him meant hearing running commentary. Everything was "bitchin'" or "wicked-awesome" and there were no surprises because anything cool was always preceded by "woah! Shh! Watch this part, this is awesome!" Not sure why he felt the need to "shh" himself. I forgot Aeon Flux more or less on purpose, and we didn't have cable so I had no other exposure to it for years. A couple of years ago I saw an episode somebody had on tape. My reaction was positive, but it was only a single episode. I went into the movie basically unfamiliar with the character and the overall story. Maybe this is the right way to do it, since the Internet tells me that all of the major characters have been simplified for the movie. I'd rather go from a dumbed-down movie to the much-better TV series than vice versa.

So what's Aeon Flux about? In 2011, a virus wipes out 99% of the population. A scientist named Trevor Goodchild manages to find a cure and moves the population to an idyllic, walled city called Bregna. The Goodchild dynasty reigns for 400 years, and for some reason nobody questions the fact that Trevor Goodchild and his brother Oren have reigned over the city for all this time. What they do question is the fact that people are disappearing. Aeon Flux is an operative in the underground movement which is working to bring down the Goodchild dynasty, and when her sister is killed by police, her mission becomes revenge.

That's all I'm going to discuss of the plot, which is too bad because up to this point it sounds like typical, mindless action movie fodder. Aeon Flux is, surprisingly, better than that, and discussing the plot further would reveal its best convolutions. The Seventh Seal it ain't, but Aeon Flux actually has ideas and a pretty good story, and I enjoyed it very much. It's not going to make you think much, but it's not going to hurt your brain, either. The one example I remember of glaringly bad science was equally perplexing to the characters in the movie.

Charlize Theron doesn't normally do anything for me, but after her play the lead in this movie I'm thinking the problem might be the roles I've seen her in (and admittedly, after Two Days in the Valley and Devil's Advocate, I actually avoided seeing Charlize Theron movies). Thanks to this movie, I think I'm going to check out her Oscar-winning performance in Monster, which probably sounds foolish to anybody who knows just how different Aeon Flux and Monster are. No, I know what I'm getting into, and I know what kind of movie Monster is. As far as the rest of the casting goes, I have no complaints. I have seen all of the major actors in movies better and worse than this one. The dialogue is so full of portent that it has to be delivered in an overdramatic fashion to work. Anybody can be overdramatic, so the casting in Aeon Flux is more about visual style than acting talent.

As far as presentation goes, Aeon Flux is well-paced and visually slick. Director Karyn Kusama's only other film (according to IMDB) is Girlfight, which I haven't seen. Clearly she knows what she's doing, is comfortable directing action, and is good at it. There are few visual parallels to The Fifth Element, but for some reason Aeon Flux reminds me of a less-populous, more enlightened and (above all) cleaner version of the same future. It's really too bad Aeon Flux came out when it did because had the release been timed differently, it might have been much more successful. It's very much a popcorn movie, but it's pretty and smarter than one might expect. The professional critics are divided and fans of the original MTV series are mostly disgusted with the changes, but this is a movie people are going to rediscover on DVD.
Current Mood: workingworking
Current Music: Steve Burns -- Songs for Dustmites

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:evil_jim
Date:December 13th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC)
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You're welcome to come over some afternoon during the next couple weeks & watch the original series if you're so inclined.
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:December 14th, 2005 03:52 pm (UTC)
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I think I'll do that. I enjoyed the movie a great deal, but I understand that it's been heavily watered down. I'm actually busy every night this week (that doesn't happen often), but next week I have a couple of evenings available, and I might take a day off since I have personal time which I lose at the end of the year if I don't take it.
[User Picture]
From:tlhinganhom
Date:December 14th, 2005 04:16 pm (UTC)
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Ready for the action now, Danger Boy?
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:December 14th, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC)
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And this comment... I don't get.
[User Picture]
From:seanorange
Date:December 14th, 2005 04:53 pm (UTC)
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It sounds vaguely familiar-ish.

~Sean
[User Picture]
From:evil_jim
Date:December 14th, 2005 05:09 pm (UTC)
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I could kiss you for that comment.
[User Picture]
From:evil_jim
Date:December 14th, 2005 05:08 pm (UTC)
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Kewel. I'll be here.
From:renny1780
Date:December 13th, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
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I keep saying that I'm going to see it...and I have yet to see it. Hrm, maybe I can convince Nettie to go this weekend or something. Or not. Whatever. Glad you had fun...you really should watch the original, animated series again though.
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:December 14th, 2005 03:48 pm (UTC)
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you really should watch the original, animated series again though

Yeah, I know. I think I'm gonna take Jim up on it.
[User Picture]
From:lord_alucard
Date:December 13th, 2005 10:20 pm (UTC)
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I haven't seen it yet but your review is basically what ive been hearing from the reviewers I like, fans and non fans alike.
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:December 14th, 2005 03:48 pm (UTC)
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Really? The fans you know must just be more open-minded than the ones I've been talking to. Their reviews have been lukewarm at best. Now I'm really curious about the original series.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:December 14th, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I'm really curious to see the MTV series now. Nice to see Johnny Miller in something again, but I can't think of anything I've ever seen him in where he didn't basically use the same narrow range of his acting talents. As far as I've seen, he usually plays basically the same character.

Anyway, thanks for pointing me to Songs for Dustmites. I think I like it a lot, though it'll be interesting to see what happens if Mr. Burns doesn't hire the production talent of The Flaming Lips on his next effort.
Aeon Flux - Garmonbozia for the soul.

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