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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Aeon Flux – Special Collector’s Edition (2005/Widescreen)

Aeon Flux – Special Collector’s Edition (2005/Widescreen)


Picture: B     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Film: C



Since Equilibrium arrived, we have been going through a series of strange Action/Sci-Fi feature films where the future takes place in a police state of some sort.  Of course, the idea of said state is dangerously trivialized depending on the film and it does not help when the film is a watered-down derivative of better films on the subject.  John McTiernan’s remake of Rollerball was a mess, and two films that came out in 2005 did not fare much better.  One was Michael Bay’s The Island and the other is the subject of this review, Karyn Kusama’s feature version of the animated classic Aeon Flux.


Having already covered the animated shows elsewhere on this site, we had hoped the film would take the risks the animated version did, even if Aeon did not die at the end.  The big production was being made in Germany at the same studio where Fritz Lang shot his classic Metropolis (also reviewed on this site) and it was either going to be a good film or an overproduced, overdigitized duplicate of the show.  At first, the film imitates everything it can form the cartoon in terms of some key visual motifs, from Aeon’s eye as Venus Fly Trap, trick teeth, other dimensions and an unusual mix of the natural and unnatural.


The animated show did hint at a police state, but this film claims one that even after the text explains this future world, never delivers.  Sure, people disappear, but that never pans out in the narrative.  Once the makers think they are doing the show, they then go off into directions that have nothing to do with the original shorts.  Like the later limited series, there is far too much dialogue, most of it pointless.  Charlize Theron, who has done bad genre work before in the likes of the Mighty Joe Young and Italian Job remakes, makes the mistake of taking on another remake.  Sure, she got in shape for the film and does some fine work, but she never totally becomes the character.


When they tire of doing Aeon Flux, they start throwing in many of the things The Island rehashed, like Clonus, Logan’s Run especially and even Zardoz.  Frances McDormand is even a Zardoz-like female power head.  Has the evolution of the human race been tampered with?  Who are the people in the story and who are their true parents?  Is the happy, perfect society a fraud?  As with The Island, you get the feeling the makers are more interested in action pieces than telling a story with any weight.  As a result, both films did not do well, which landed up hurting the one film in this cycle that got it right and could go all the way in both the action and substance departments: V For Vendetta.


The only reason to see this film version of Aeon Flux outside of the rarely distinctive good visual and other cast members (Jonny Lee Miller, Martin Csokas, Sophie Okonedo, Pete Postlethwaite) is to see how not to do this kind of film.  Though like The Island, some of the money is on the screen, the film is just too empty and the stars cannot save it no matter what they try.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image looks exceptionally good for a post-modern piece of cinematography imbedded with digital video graphics and manipulated color.  I recently saw the trailer for this film in HD-DVD and both are sourced from the same fine HD master, though I expect more from the final HD-DVD and Blu-ray editions.  Stuart Dryburgh’s cinematography is not bad, with some distinction, but it is still too restricted by visual clichés, still too much desaturated color and tired digital mania.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is weaker than expected and was much better in the theaters.  Too bad there is not any DTS here, but the HD versions should sound better.


Extras are many and include two audio commentary tracks.  One is by the writers who expose why their script did not work without knowing it, while the other with Theron and producer Gale Anne Hurd is much more informative and interesting.  You also get 5 decent featurettes and the original trailer.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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