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Sunday December 4, 2005
Why I Liked Aeon Flux
When I heard that they weren't releasing Aeon Flux to reviewers ahead of opening day, I got worried. That's usually reserved for films that everybody in the know realizes will stink up an entire theater multiplex from a single screen, and they hope that somehow nobody will discover that until after opening weekend.
Aeon Flux is not that kind of film. It's actually a solid action movie, an equally solid science-fiction piece, complete with three-dimensional characters and a plot. Now I'll grant that some of the characters are kind of bas-relief three-dimensional -- you can't look at them TOO closely, but still, it's a MUCH better movie than any other film I've ever seen that didn't get reviewed ahead of time.
Granted, that's not saying much, but still... good movie.
If you've seen the MTV short from 1991 or 1992 (I forget), you'll see plenty of nods to the artsy-weird composition of shots, and one scene in which Aeon wears that only-possible-in-comics outfit. If you've seen the Aeon Flux animated series then it's possible the film will telegraph most of its punches, leaving you feeling clever, disappointed, or both. I don't know, because I never saw the series -- just the Liquid Television shorts. But there are plot twists, and the movie actually had me concerned halfway through when I realized that I had NO idea which of the characters I cared about (there were four or five by that time) was going to live.
It's one of those science-fiction films where you might end up with EVERYBODY dead except the narrator, or maybe a creepy old witch-woman who shows up to warn you that these bones are actually yours. Or something like that.
Let's put it a different way. I saw Transporter because I wanted to watch Jason Statham execute some very carefully choreographed fight scenes. That movie had just enough plot to string the fight scenes together, but if you pull hard enough the string breaks. I expected Aeon Flux to be the same way (and the fight scenes did not disappoint), but I pulled as hard as I could on that string, and it only frayed in a couple of spots. It's like the writers actually came up with the story BEFORE deciding that they needed Aeon to do handsprings around some fully-automatic pomegranates.