Aeon Flux

2006-07-17 15:19


The year is 2415 and only 5 million people remain on earth. 400 years ago a global plague killed 99% of the human race. The survivors retreated to the walled city-state of Bregna, ruled by the congress of scientists who saved them from the plague. But, while Bregna appears to be a perfect society, its utopian surface hides dark secrets. Its people appear to be free, but in reality they are ruled with an iron fist. There is a resistance movement - the Monicans - led by a mysterious figure known as The Handler (Frances McDormand). She and her operatives, like the deadly Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) and her pupil Sithandra (Sophie Okonedo), have vowed to wipe out the repressive government of Bregna and restore freedom to humanity - no matter what the cost.


When big Hollywood studios refuse to preview a film to critics before they release it, it's usually a very bad sign. It usually means they have such a stinker on their hands that their only hope is to crank up the marketing and get as many people into the theatre on the first weekend, because no one is going to recommend this film to anyone after they have seen it. Of course this approach nearly guarantees bad reviews for the film, as the angry critics get their revenge on the naughty studio once they finally get to see the film.

But in the case of Aeon Flux you have to wonder what they were so worried about. Yes, it's a decidedly below average outing for everyone concerned. Yes, the hairstyles are unspeakably silly and the action sequences are limp and generic. Yes, it betrayed the fan base of the original MTV animated series on which it's based. But the film is still tolerable and even quite watchable for sci-fi aficionados.

What saves the film from descending into utter drek is its interesting ideas (like terrorists who meet their leader only through drug-induced telepathy) and its above average production design. The city of Bregna looks suitably modern and futuristic, while at the same time pulsing with an engaging organic reality. You almost wish someone else would set a better film there, so that you can enjoy the same scenery in a more interesting movie.

Don't be misled though - Aeon Flux isn't good by any objective standards. The positive aspects of the film (Charlize Theron's scantily clad bod for one) just don't come together into any kind of cohesive whole. They are dragged down by indifferent performances (most of the cast look, frankly, bored), erratic pacing, flabby cinematography and clumsy dialogue. Director Karyn Kusama, who won acclaim for her tough independent hit Girlfight, grapples with the material but doesn't create any real sense of tension or mystery.

A lot of overseas criticism focuses on how badly the material suffered in its adaptation from the original MTV animated series. Since most South Africans (including me) haven't seen the show, a lot of its most compelling ideas are new to us - a fact that may help to keep local audiences intrigued rather than appalled. That said, the film still comes across as a poor man's cross between The Matrix and Gattaca.

This is really a film for tolerant sci-fi fans, and not for a general audience in search of light entertainment. It requires you to be interested enough in the material to be able to look past its faults. Avid Charlize fans might get some enjoyment out it, but be warned, it's no fun seeing one's idol brought low by such an undignified project. Her bod may be bodacious - but it's not worth the R30 or even the 90 minutes.

- Alistair Fairweather

The critics hated it, it bombed at the box offices, fans protested in the streets, but is Charlize Theron's latest film really that bad?

David Small 2006/02/22 7:34 AM
Aeon Flux Excellent plot. Much more believable than Matrix. Excellent action scenes, not as drawn out, predictable and repetitive as Matrix. Very good animation abd special effects. I enjoyed it. The critics are far too harsh. Really worth watching.
Annetjie du Plessis 2006/02/22 7:49 AM
Aeon Flux Aeon Flux
Jenny 2006/02/22 8:07 AM
Mrs It was a entertaining movie to watch! It was good to see her in a different role... I enjoyed it... it was good. Yes
Sandra 2006/02/22 8:10 AM
Charlize Charlize is brilliant at anything she does. Maybe the story line is a bit "used", as in too many times before, but she remains brilliant. Movie is very entertaining, and that's what you want - to be entertained.
andre 2006/02/22 8:49 AM
aeon flux charlize rocks. there have been worse movies out and actors moved on to better things.
kevin 2006/02/22 8:51 AM
Aeon Flux It certainly isn't a WOW movie, though I personally feel the critics have been too harsh. I enjoyed the movie, and maybe I am a bit scifi biased, but if you enjoy some sci action with a storyline to keep you wondering what would happen next... see it.
Monique 2006/02/22 8:53 AM
Aeon Flux I thought it was done well and it was from beginning to end it keeps you on the edge and the cloning was a good twist but kind of expecting? Very enjoyable, something different and fresh. Aeon Flux
Herbie 2006/02/22 10:40 AM
Aeon Flux Almost as good as Catwomens
Deon Potgieter 2006/02/22 11:17 AM
Aeon Flux The main problem with this movie is that the director destroyed it with the way she handled the action sequences. I'm pretty sure Charlize Theron could have performed the physical action required by the role, but instead we are made to watch fast camera movements and listen to sound effects instead of actually seeing the impact of blows. This threw all credibility out of the window. Very disappointing considering "Girlfight" was worth seeing The Butterfly effect
Bob 2006/02/22 12:02 PM
Aeon flux Its a good popcorn movie, other than that nothing much to see!
Victor 2006/02/22 1:20 PM
Aeon Fluyx Don't waste your money to see the movie. Maybe wait for the DVD....maybe
Esmé 2006/02/22 3:19 PM
Aeon Flux Very, very bad! Aeon Sux.
Suretha 2006/02/22 3:24 PM
Aeon Flux Sadly Disappointing. :-( Substandard!!!!
Wynand 2006/02/22 5:08 PM
Average Sci-Fi Good enough if you enjoy Sci-Fi, give it a miss if you don't. Wallace & Grommit - Curse of the Were Rabit
Ricky 2006/02/22 5:53 PM
Aeon Flux Come on people, films should be entertaining and fun too, not always dramatic and touching. It's a great scifi idea, and if you don't like scifi, don't go and see it. I quite liked it.
Movies24 2006/02/22 7:27 PM
Aeon Flux.. Perhaps not a Oscar winner, but it was a great escape from reality I enjoyed it ! I'm sure Charlize had great fun doing it, the film playes in off in the most beutiful locations ! Well signing off then... cheers North Country
out51d3r 2006/02/22 7:39 PM
Intriguing Besides for the bad reviews of the cinematography and dialogue, which are warranted to some extent, I'm sure... I found the story line intriguing and the organic technologies facinating... bio-enhancement, cloning, drug-induced telephathic abilities, nano-technology... bio-reengineered plants as part of living security system... I enjoyed this more than Gattaca despite it's shortcomings... GIVE ME MORE! Pitch Black
adriaan de koker 2006/02/22 9:32 PM
aeon flux I think that this is a good remake of the old movie "Underworld" just with a different story line You can rather rewatch "Underworld"
akay 2006/02/22 11:05 PM
Bob 2006/02/23 6:41 PM
Aeon Flux This movie was good but then I enjoy the series where must of the 'people' probably haven't watched the series. Plus Charlize is hot in the film
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