Friday, December 09, 2005

"Aeon Flux" Sucked!

By Nicholas Allanach

Sexy and sleek Charlize Theron flipping, flying, and swinging across a large screen in black spandex was a good enough reason as any to see the newest tough-chick-flick from director Karyn Kusama. Regrettably, eye candy alone doesn’t make for a satisfying night at the movies (unless you’re Paul Ruebens, a.k.a Pee Wee Herman). In fact, the only scenes worth viewing were those in which Theron was either suspended from a ceiling, clinging to a wall, or posing and pouting in that oh-so fashionable (and actually practical) attire. In fact, the film would have been better (or at least tolerable) if there was more high-flying eroticism and less bland talking heads and horrible acting.

Based on the MTV Liquid Television cartoon of the same name, “Aeon Flux” takes place in the future after 99% of the world’s population has been killed off from a virus. The remaining 1% lives in the heavily fortified LaCorbussier-esque city of Bregna. And—as seems to be the case with many dystopias—Bregna is just as boring and monochrome as other future landscapes. In fact, sci-fi fans will note many similarities with (another bad idea for a film, but certainly a cult classic) “Zardoz”. Much of the failures of the film (and I can assure you there are many) are a result of its inability to successfully communicate the same dry delivery and black humor that made the cartoon so funny. Somehow, the human actors in the film are less life-like and believable than the cartoons their based on (except for of course Theron, she’s breathtaking). The acting is so deadpan I often felt like I was watching some soap opera or strange episode of Twin Peaks from the future.

At no point in this movie was I at all concerned about the outcome (except for it to come quickly). In fact, before the movie even begins the audience (unless there complete rubes) should already foresee the conclusion –Aeon is an assassin and will inevitably destroy the dreadfully boring social order that has been established by geneticists/fascist leader, Trevor Goodchild (who could have been really cool, but was terribly portrayed). The only thing interesting about this bland social order is that it is maintained through DNA cloning (sorry to give away any secrets of the film, but trust me, you’d be better off to just rent the DVD and skip all scenes without Charlize in an action sequence). The old man who is the keeper and organizer of the DNA wears an extremely ridiculous outfit and hovers over Bregna in a strange Zeppelin-like machine that, supposedly, stores the entire cities’ DNA code in a super computer.

“We’re all copies!” exclaims Aeon when discovering the reason for her odd flashbacks and unexplained desire to “complete her mission”, which is to destroy the simulated reality of Bregna so as to allow the real and chaotic world of the jungle surrounding its periphery inside. In this respect, “Aeon Flux” did make for an interesting compliment to a book I’m now reading by Jean Baudrillard called “The Intelligence of Evil: or The Lucidity Pact”, in which Baudrillard proposes “something resists all our efforts to confine the world to a sequence of causes and effects.” In other words, the propensity to devise a cold and calculated “utopia” in which all is predicted inevitably produces an equally significant need to circumvent this same order. Unfortunately, Aeon is also part of the control she seeks to destroy; in that even her drive to obliterate the idea of Bregna has already been planned out by the strange man in the Zeppelin (once again, another direct relation to “Zardoz”).

Anyway, I’m stretching it. Of course, this is all just in an attempt to find something worthy about a film that could have been cool. I can assure you, it wasn't. Don’t waste your time going to see it. After all, despite the appeal of Charlize Theron in a tight fitting outfit, nothing can justify how our society can feel so indifferent about a crappy film that cost the same amount of cash it would take to feed a starving village for a year.

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