More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.25%
Worth A Look: 8.75%
Average: 26.25%
Pretty Bad31.25%
Total Crap: 27.5%

7 reviews, 38 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something by Rob Gonsalves

Trial of the Chicago 7, The by Rob Gonsalves

St. Elmo's Fire by Jack Sommersby

Talent for the Game by Jack Sommersby

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro by Jay Seaver

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm by Peter Sobczynski

Lupin the Third (2014) by Jay Seaver

Lupin III: The First by Jay Seaver

Caddyshack by Jack Sommersby

Over the Moon by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Aeon Flux
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"Should've just made an animated feature. Or left well enough alone."
2 stars

Inaugurated as part of the trippy "Liquid Television" block of MTV in the early '90s, Peter Chung's "Aeon Flux" sped along stylishly and plotlessly. In its first short segments, the angular and deadly Aeon died at the end of every clip. Art objects in and of themselves, watchable in any order, the expanded 1995 episodes brazenly ignored any sense of continuity.

Chung's aesthetic -- anime by way of Egon Schiele -- couldn't be more different from that of Karyn Kusama, who wrote and directed the intimate independent film Girlfight in 2000. A gritty drama about a girl (Michelle Rodriguez) with deep anger that found expression in the boxing ring -- and worth ten of the mawkish Million Dollar Baby -- the movie found power in closely observed details like crude Magic-Markered signs in the gym, or overattended parties in neat but tacky homes.

I can't think of a good reason that we are now looking at Karyn Kusama's Aeon Flux, other than Kusama's previously stated jones to make a sci-fi flick, and the cosmetic connection of two-fisted feminism. On the evidence, Kusama is far better at evoking the real world than at creating a new one, and she's absolute rubbish at big action scenes. In her hands -- or, rather, in the oafish hands of screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi -- Aeon Flux becomes 2005's Matrix wannabe, and less intelligent and enjoyable than MTV's other transplant to the big screen, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. (B&B-H creator Mike Judge once said that the studio wanted a live-action Beavis and Butt-Head movie, with Adam Sandler and David Spade. That studio exec finally got his/her wish with Aeon Flux, which should've been an animated feature.)

Charlize Theron's Aeon Flux looks sensational in an early scene, wearing a veil that doubles as a cowl; the effect is both elegant and pulpy, like Gayle Hunnicutt's cat-suited, masked heroine in Georges Franju's Shadowman. Aeon curls tongues with a man in the street, receiving a mouth-to-mouth pill that takes her into a headspace meeting with a fright-wigged Frances McDormand. The unexplained freakiness of this is true to the tone of Chung's toon, though nothing else is. Aeon is on a mission to take down Travis Goodchild (Marton Csokas), the leader of a sterile, oppressive city circa 2415, where a surviving five million people live walled off from nature and are subject to periodic disappearances. The relationship between Aeon and Travis lacks the gnarled complexity it had in the animated series, and is rather too neatly capped by an underwhelming plot twist.

After Girlfight, which painted a picture with nary a white face without making a big point of it, how could Kusama be satisfied with a movie in which the pale, almost Aryan heroine (she even has a Hitler 'do at times) teams up with a black sidekick (Sophie Okonedo) who has hands where her feet should be -- like a monkey? This sidekick also betrays Aeon due to a misunderstanding caused by Travis' scheming brother Oren (Jonny Lee Miller) -- you just can't get good help these days. Aeon Flux has its show-stoppers, like a field of razor-sharp grass, but overall the script doesn't even try to duplicate Chung's art-school ingenuity. The cartoon was intended, in part, as a parody of empty, self-resolving action blowouts; Paramount, perversely or perhaps spitefully, has returned Aeon Flux to what it once transcended.

Maybe Charlize Theron wanted to glam up and kick ass. But she doesn't have Aeon's slinky physique -- no actress does -- so she just runs through her paces, sustaining a highly publicized spine trauma in the process, and for what? To become yet another femme action figure in a dumbed-down Saturday-night flick for teenagers? There isn't a hint of the actress who earned her Oscar for Monster in this blank performance (Theron has been better even in such crap as Trapped and The Astronaut's Wife). She's about the only eye candy on the screen; with ready-made storyboards from the show, the movie opts for schlock-deco architecture and uninspired costuming. By the time poor Pete Postlethwaite shows up in an outfit that makes him look like a pink raisin in a pickle jar, Aeon Flux has traded Peter Chung's iconoclastic incomprehensibility for big-studio incomprehensibility.

Guns go off, stuff blows up, and Karyn Kusama's voice, so loud and strong in "Girlfight," gets drowned out -- hopefully not forever.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 12/26/06 15:22:26
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

4/08/20 Honor Whitelow A good story line and keeps you enthralled throughout. The futuristic content was awesome 5 stars
1/08/16 David Hollingsworth insanely bad 1 stars
4/01/10 martin schofield Didn't think it was that bad, good visually, it wasn't attempting to be high-brow, but nor 3 stars
7/20/08 Shaun Wallner Great Action!! 5 stars
6/14/07 Bitchflaps Nothing special, but an entertaining hour and a half. 3 stars
6/12/07 Steve Newman The only reason I dont rate this as "sucks" is because of the fantastic PJs she wears!!!! 2 stars
4/03/07 fools♫gold Just here to urge you to find a better movie, or find the great cartoon somewhere instead. 1 stars
9/08/06 John Inane script - worse acting - real bad Sci Fi 1 stars
7/31/06 Scotty Visually stunning, yet emotionless, anticlimatic, and weak-plotted. 3 stars
6/29/06 Ricardo I think that it worth a look, Its not so bad like everybody says 5 stars
6/16/06 ALDO looks great, good acting well worth viewing 4 stars
6/12/06 The Talking Elbow Starts really slow, towards the end it becomes good, then finishes. 3 stars
6/03/06 Indrid Cold Weak story + bland acting + sci-fi channel look = silly, disposable 2 stars
5/28/06 daveyt not good 2 stars
5/11/06 Will Nitschke Pretty ordinary even if you love science fiction 3 stars
5/10/06 KingNeutron Impressive visuals, but No Soul in 1st half. 2nd half does a decent job tho. 3 stars
5/09/06 Sheldon No substance 1 stars
4/30/06 adam te only problem with this film is that it was mis marketed as an action movie. 4 stars
3/16/06 Gary newton Visually stunning and Graeme Revell's soundtrack rolls wonderfully with the movie. 4 stars
2/28/06 Don Paco blah. 2 stars
2/26/06 chris f brilliant movie i loved it 5 stars
1/10/06 Mike The worst couple hours of my life 1 stars
1/08/06 Angel West catwoman-like 1 stars
1/01/06 Jasper I really, really, REALLY wanted to like this, but...bah! God dammit!!! 1 stars
12/26/05 B. Rose If you're into smart sci-fi stories you'll enjoy this movie. True to animated series. 5 stars
12/16/05 JamesCole A visual feast, plus a pretty good sci-fi story. Can't wait for the DVD. 4 stars
12/14/05 malcolm a lot of fun to look at but not engaging at all. 3 stars
12/12/05 Butterbean It's worth a look if you are familiar with the cartoon. 4 stars
12/11/05 millersxing The worst assassin you will ever see. Cool concepts compromised by goofy design. 3 stars
12/09/05 Michele I thought it was pretty good if you just go in expecting to see a sci-fi flick. 4 stars
12/07/05 Bobby da Squid A yawnathon and serious injustice to the animated series. 2 stars
12/06/05 jeff i agree with pin. very disappointed 1 stars
12/06/05 pin poor story, poor acting, poor shooting, poor edit, poor direction 1 stars
12/06/05 leo 1% of human population isn't even close to 5 million. think about it 2 stars
12/04/05 Zigga She has an emo haircut! 4 stars
12/03/05 Roy Smith Eh..ok 3 stars
12/02/05 Brian Godawful. No justice to the series. 1 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  02-Dec-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 25-Apr-2006

  17-Feb-2006 (15)


Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast