Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Movie Review: Æon Flux (2005)
Yet again, Spencer consumes more dystopian fiction. How did this movie measure up in terms of the genre?
400 years in the future, a virus has killed 99.9% of the human population, the remaining number being saved by a cure developed by scientist Trevor Goodchild. Becoming the leader of the people, Goodchild's regime builds the walled city of Bregna to house all that remains of the human race. Kept entirely separated from the natural world outside, all citizens inside the city live in what is supposed to be a true utopia. The only thing is, "utopia" isn't exactly the proper word for it--just as the Monicans, the underground rebels hiding throughout Bregna's society. Their chief complaint would be the fact that far too many people go missing, far too often, and it would appear to be the ruling elite who commits the kidnappings (and subsequent on-the-spot executions of all Monicans). Æon Flux is one of those Monicans, a special agent who uses her almost super-human abilities to strike blows at the Goodchild regime.
The film retained many vital aspects of dystopian fiction (totalitarian government, underground rebellion) and melded it with a bizarre array of random science fiction tidbits. From genetically engineered lifeforms (humans with hands instead of feet, seed pods that shoot darts and blades of grass that are literally blades of grass), edgy, futuristic and often sexualized clothing, strange locations, pills that, once swallowed, induce communal telepathic sessions with other humans, and plenty of strange devices and gadgets, Æon Flux unfortunately feels strongly...irregular.
Mish-mashed content and scenes entirely devoid of what so many filmmakers call vital "pacing", this one promised much in the way of shoot 'em-up action, but delivered little. All we get are a few fights and one gunfight at the end, far from being exciting in any way. Come on, are you even kidding me?
[WARNING! Sexual content discussed. Adults only!] I understand that the movie was based off of an MTV animated series of sorts, and I also understand (although I cannot verify from personal experience) that the movie down-toned the sexuality of the show. However, we still do have Æon and company (Are all Monican agents female?) in highly immodest garb on just about every occasion and of varying degrees of skin-showing, a bed scene which thankfully shows nothing truly explicit, and a rather gross close-up of French kissing (albeit a front for passing an object from one Monican man's mouth to a Monican woman's).
[WARNING! Spoiler alert!] And when it comes down to it, with all the freaky and lame sci-fi rip-offs (Or at least I saw rip-offs, such as reminiscences of Minority Report, Equilibrium, and even Dark Angel--from the original MTV show, perhaps?), the film attempts to save itself with a massive cloning scheme with deeper implications than I will divulge for the sake of not spoiling more of the plot, with, of all actors, Pete Posthelwaite as the guardian of the DNA! (And what was that he was dressed in? Was that a burrito, a taco, or a tube sock?)
All in all, the almost Matrix-esque "cool" factor, the fight sequences, the science fiction, and the edgy, imaginative dystopia that this film seemed to promise all came to nil.