The best thing about the post-apocalyptic government in Aeon
Flux is that they apparently shop at the 25th-century equivalent
of Crate & Barrel. Though their sense of clothing is lacking,
sometimes reminiscent of beekeeper's suits or a purse worn as
a dress (the latter of which was prominently featured in the
trailer), it is nice to see that the scientific laboratories
of the far-future city of Bregna employ the blandly attractive
glassware of our current mega-chain stores.
If it is not obvious by my first paragraph, I left Aeon
Flux with very little by way of impressions or feelings
about the movie itself. Or rather, my thoughts were more along
the lines of "Huh?". Charlize Theron takes on the title role
made cult-famous by the MTV cartoon. Though I did watch the
show, I remember very little of it except for the startling
credits sequence, duly replicated in live action, of the fly
being caught in Aeon's eyelashes and the titillating, to my
14-year old mind, lack of clothing. Luckily I still have that
14-year old mentality, so I was occasionally entertained while
watching Aeon Flux.
Bregna, a utopian city by way of A Brave New World,
is the last refuge of five million remaining humans, the rest
of whom were wiped out in a plague in 2011. The city, surrounded
by a wall designed to keep out the rest of the world that "nature
has taken over," is led with an authoritarian fist by the Goodchilds,
Trevor (Marton Csokas) and Oren (Jonny Lee Miller). They are
the progeny of the family that found the cure for the "industrial
disease" of those centuries past. Aeon is part of a group known
as Monokins, revolutionary assassins trained to fight the Goodchilds.
As with all movies riddled with cliches, Aeon must have her
mission made personal, in this case by the government-sanctioned
murder of her sister Una. She is given an assignment to kill
Trevor, who we know is not going to be the real antagonist through
broadly-telegraphed "subtle" hints. Of course, she does not
kill him and of course, she does kiss him.
It is emblematic of the movie's problems that I sincerely could
not decide if Una and Aeon were sisters or lovers until very
late in the movie. Throughout, characters would appear out of
nowhere and suddenly be important or, more often, would present
Aeon with her next charmless fight scene. In fact, the structure
of Aeon Flux is more video game than film — fight,
cut-scene, fight, cut-scene, annoying escort mission, cut-scene.
The logical gaps were so glaring as to completely prevent any
suspension of disbelief.
The whole movie was a blend of trying too hard and failed
"won't that be cool" moments. The set designer was apparently
told"We don't want to be all dirty like those other post-apocalyptic
movies," so the scenes were filled with clean whites and poorly
done faux-organic items like the trees that are actually sentry
guns. The self-conscious camera lingers on a piece of fruit
being cut just because someone had spent time to make a fake-looking
fruit with seeds. The romantic (or, if I were to be accurate,
"romantic") subplot is resolved with scenery-chewing angst.
The technology and spyware is more about looking cool than making
sense. I mean, of what real use is replacing your feet with
hands, as Aeon's fellow Monokin Sithandra (Sophie Okenedo) did?
Apparently none, since they are pretty much unused throughout
the film except in the moment they are introduced.
I left the movie with so many questions, and not in the contemplative
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind way. Why are so
many good actresses — Theron, Okenedo (Hotel Rwanda),
Frances McDormand (Fargo) — in this movie?
If you have a field of grass that serves as a security system,
why put oases of decorative stone walls in the middle of it?
Isn't that just begging for problems? How do the Goodchild brothers
get into the flagella-sporting blimp they call the Receptacle?
And is it possible to be any less subtly symbolic than to
break down the actual, physical, wall between nature and the