Sunday, May 07, 2006

Aeon Flux

While my friends are waiting for me to review Mission Impossible III, I took a look at Aeon Flux, a film none of my friends will ever see.

Why are you watching this movie at all, I'm sure they're asking -- because it’s a Charlize Theron movie? No, I whimper defensively. I haven’t seen all of her movies. Just most of them, the good and the bad. I wanted to see if she could pull off female superhero decisively.

Good science fiction takes a normal world and makes a small change to that world, so that you can identify with the people and their values, and put yourself in that world and live it. In a world like Aeon Flux, which is based on an animated series, everything is reinvented on a major scale. And, inevitably, it’s a world we can’t understand, and can't wait to vacate.

The premise is reminiscent of The Matrix, in that someone’s been playing with our realities. In fact, our heroine, Aeon, resembles Trinity in looks and leather gear, except that Trinity had intensity and purpose in what she was doing. Aeon just looks confused.

The movie is visually stunning, especially in the beginning action sequences. The beginning scenes show Aeon and her band of rebels flying through the air, doing the stunts that only animated creatures could do before them -- well, that's kind of cool. But then the movie's pace just slows down until it's barely moving.

There is no heart to this movie, no human soul. Even if you did understand what the hell was going on, a complicated story within a simple sci-fi premise, you don’t care at all about the people involved. It’s a shame to see such fine actors as Charlize Theron, a deserving academy-award winning actress, and Marton Csokas, usually commanding in his films, pour themselves into paper-thin characterizations. The only person who is likely to even inspire an academy award nomination here is Charlize’s hairdresser, for Aeon's spiky black haircut, which clones the animated version exactly. No amount of leather is going to fill out Charlize’s Aeon Flux, a cartoon character who will stay that way throughout.

Guess I'd better amble over to M:i:3. I suspect it's better than this mishmash of futuristic hooey.

Thumb’s down for Aeon Flux.


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