Aeon Flux (2005) Karyn Kasuma

Production Budget: $62 million

Worldwide Gross: $52 million

Surprise surprise, another Hollywood adaptation.  And guess what?  It sucks.

Now I haven’t seen the original animated series but from reading the Wiki synopsis it doesn’t sound anything remotely similar to the movie.  For starters the series was inconsistent even between episodes; the plot was always changing and the only consistent thing was Aeon dying every episode.  To say the show was experimental was an understatement.  So of course the movie had to be a conventional Hollywood action flick.

The movie is set in the ‘not too distant future’ where a virus has killed 99% of the human race.  A cure was created and the rest of the Earth’s population lives in one last mega city.  There is some secret that the government doesn’t want the populous to know about and they will do anything to protect it.  Aeon (Charlize Theron) is an assassin for a rebel group tasked to kill the leader of the government Trevor Goodchild.  Aeon can’t complete her mission though when seeing him triggers some repressed memories.

Really, that is as short as I could make this synopsis.  If I could pin one thing right off the bat is the needlessly elaborate plot.  Now I’m not saying action movies can’t have a strong plot or that it has to be dumbed down for people.  I guess I am saying there is a difference between an intricate plot, and hopelessly jumbled.  The writers were really in love with plot twists as every ten minutes or so they give us one.  You can pretty much predict that every good supporting character will have an evil turn, a bad guy will have a good guy turn, and useless characters will be some secret agent.  The writers are so in love with plot twists that it keeps all the characters at arms length because they don’t want to reveal their motivations.

Aside from the droll opening exposition, I really have no idea why Aeon is so passionate in her duty.  I don’t know what kind of person she is, who her friends are, why they like her, or anything that would make me like her.  I can’t really blame the usually good Theron for having no personality in this movie because she has no personality written for her.  I can describe her character in five words; acrobatic assassin who wears spandex.  Theron just drifts through the movie like a zombie droning out one liners with all the emotion of Ben Stein.  Just watching her say the line “Amateurs” in the trailer is akin to Costner’s line read of “My boat…” in Waterworld.  Director Kasuma does alright with female leads (Girlfight, Jennifer’s Body) but she brings nothing to the character of Aeon.  Like I said, we learn nothing about these people.  If we did, we would know what their motivations are and what they are doing.  But because everything is super secret, we can’t reveal anything so it is one big exercise in tedium.

Another thing that bugs me is the movie is just plain silly, and not intentionally silly either.  It is like they wanted to copy thee strange anime feel and the off beat tone but they channeled it in all the wrong areas. Wh does Frances McDormand have clown red hair?  Why is Pete Postlewaithe as some half worm in a cocktail dress?  Why is there killer grass and machine gun wasp nests?  Why not just use machine guns?  Why does a woman have hands for feet?  How come in this future we have perfected cloning and grafting body parts wherever you want but for some reason they can’t fix infertility?  Combine all that with the somber tone of the movie and you have a very mixed bag.

Kasuma doesn’t do a good job in this movie.  It could almost be forgiven if the action in this movie was any good but she even sabotages that.  The action is shot super close with awkward cuts and it is disorienting.  The rest of it is Aeon being pulled around by her wire team in front of a green screen so there is hardly any tension there.  But why would there be any tension to begin with if we don’t care about the characters.

This is obviously a bad movie.  It never rises to the spot of a truly laughable bad movie, but settles in its own blandness.  Hollywood must not read anything or do any research prior to churning out stuff like Aeon Flux or Tank Girl.  By their nature they are lashing out against the crap Hollywood represents.  Upon bringing it to the big screen they alienate the fanbase and the end result is so horrid not even the general public wants anything to do with it.


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