Monday, 13 August 2007

Aeon Flux

Picture the scene: I'm on a plane, it's a 12-hour flight from Hong Kong to the UK. My tactic, to avoid landing and being completely fucked, is to stay awake through two movies, then sleep. This way, I wake up half an hour before landing, and the flight doesn't seem so bad. It's always the last few hours of a long flight that suck the hardest, after all.

Anyway, there I am. The plane is dark, and everyone else is asleep. I mean, the entire plane – we left HK at about 1am, so this is understandable. I flick through the movies on offer, and they're all either shite, or I've seen them before. Oooh, what's this? Aeon Flux? Charlize Theron's first movie after her Oscar-winning performance in Monster? Well, that could be interesting, I think.

The most interesting thing about Aeon Flux is that I'm sure there's a good porno version of it out there, in which they only had to take the 'l' out of the original title.

In the 25th century, a virus has wiped out a big chunk of the world's population. Survivors live in Bregna, a fortified city surrounding by a big, fuck-off wall. Wow, that's pretty much superfluous. If I'd just said 'fortified', I think you would have pictured the fuck-off wall. Aeon Flux is the name of a female assassing, played by Theron, who works for an 'underground' rebel group, led by The Handler (Frances McDormand) or something. Aeon is sent to assassinate Trevor Goodchild, head of hte council that runs the city, but Aeon finds out lots of stuff and decides to protect him instead. So she becomes a target for The Handler's crowd, and blah blah blah.

It's actually quite a nice looking film, though every scene looks like it was shot on bluescreen. Or greenscreen, pedants.The problem is that there's just nothing here. It's flimsy beyond belief. Who do we care about in the film? No-one. The cast includes Pete Postlethwaite, Frances McDormand, Marton Csokas, Sophie Okonedo (who was so brilliant in Hotel Rwanda) and many more, yet I wanted everyone to die in the first 20 minutes.

The problem with movies like this is that they need to establish a universe for you to accept. The movies that do this best, do it without you realising. X-Men is a great example, as is Blade Runner. And Alien. You see things functioning, you see how the world works, and you're intelligent enough to accept and assimilate it. I'm always suspicious of movies that have to explain what's happening in too much detail. The obvious exception is Star Wars, which kept its descriptions so simple and its illustrations so detailed, they they worked very well together. You read the scrolling words, the next thing you see is a space pursuit with huge craft and flashing lasers, and robots aplenty. And you accept.

The world of Aeon Flux is well drawn, nicely realised, a little trippy and hyper-real in fact. But you just can't give a fuck about this non-existent script, a really slight story and no meat at all to grab on to. Even the action is average, being way too showy and extravagant. It's just not effective.

In short, if you watch this movie after reading this, you deserve to watch this movie. It's good enough for a 12-hour flight when everyone else is asleep and no-one can see what you're watching, but apart from that exact circumstance, avoid. Buy a box of tissues and rent Aeon Fux instead.


B.E. Earl said...

S'funny...the entire time I was watching Ultraviolet, I kept thinking of Aeon Flux.

I used to love the comic strip in Heavy Metal magazine and the cartoon on MTV, but I heard the film sucked.

Aeon Fux, huh? Sounds like a grabber.

EmmaK said...

It's amazing the kind of bollocks one will watch on a flight which one wouldn't pay to watch in the cinema isn't it? I have even watched the kids films on the flight if the adult ones are too crap. That said, Aeon Flux doesn't sound like my cup of tea as I hate sci-fi...although Aeon Fux sounds like it could be a laugh.

badgerdaddy said...

It is indeed amazing. Stuff you wouldn't even own if it was given away on a newspaper covermount.