I’m sure dedicated fans of Peter Chung’s animated series will have to choke back bile when I say this, but the Aeon Flux feature is actually pretty good. Plot aside – which is fairly conventional sci-fi conspiracy theory stuff – the film features one of the most interesting visions of the future I’ve seen in a long time. Lots of cool weapons, technological implants and a whole lotta pill popping. Thankfully the script doesn’t fall into the trap of attempting to explain what all these gizmos do, but rather lets us work it out.
There is a lot of Charlize here, and let’s face it a fair amount of the film exists purely for audiences to have a perv. She doesn’t really get to stretch her acting skills at all, but her limbs are certainly getting a workout. There are a few crappy gymnastic moments (close ups of Aeon flying through the air really don’t look that good – we need distance and perspective to be impressed), but the action is entertaining without being thrilling.
I’m not too familiar with the cartoon, having only seen a few episodes (and been completely confounded by them), but Kusama’s film has certainly taken the most apparent aspects of the show and skilfully adapted them for live action. Whilst Charlize’s legs can’t really compete with the spider-limbed hero of the original, there are some moments that come as close as humanly possible.
The supporting cast is refreshingly varied. Aeon’s nemesis Marton Csokas gets to play the bad guy a little differently from his previous roles, which have included the bad guy in xXx, the bad guy in Garage Days and the bad guy in Timeline. In a North Country reunion, Frances McDormand plays Aeon’s superior, and Pete Postlethwaite astounds me yet again by appearing in another miniscule part (remember he was in Alien³ for all of two minutes?). Jonny Lee Miller feels miscast, but then again he usually does.
Overall Aeon Flux is an enjoyable sci-fi romp, with some interesting ideas, pretty visuals, and Charlize Theron. The script is nothing impressive, but thankfully there are no awful lines either. The plot is simple yet never dim-witted, and the constantly shifting allegiances facilitate some unexpected narrative paths. Whilst I knew generally how the film would end, I had no idea it would take that particular route.Rating: