Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Aeon Flux

For the uninitiated, Aeon Flux is based on the series of animated shorts from MTV. Set 400 years into the future, it tells of a surviving utopia of humans after a virus eradicated 99% of the world's human population. The colony now live in a walled environment, under the leadership of the scientist who discovered the cure for the virus.

But with any kind of leadership rule with some hinting of hanky-panky behind the scenes, there will always be that bunch of rebels (like Star Wars, Matrix, etc) ever ready to upset the status quo. Here, the Monicans (as they are known) are avenging those who have disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and like James Bond, have cool toys to accompany them on missions. Charlize Theron plays the Monican's top assassin known as Aeon Flux.

And she is just about the best thing in the movie. Full of close ups on that pretty face, and long shots of those incredibly long limbs, Theron waltzes her way through the film with ease, given the character's sheer invulnerability and ability to subdue any opponent without breaking into sweat. She does a few wardrobe changes too (drool), and her hair, now jet black, styled ever so beautifully at all times when she's kicking ass.

The movie rehashes the usual sci-fi themes that have been beaten time and again, that of mortality, and the morality behind immortality. Probably I haven't watched the MTV shorts to understand more of Aeon Flux, but as a standalone movie, you sort of guessed its the usual "bad-to-clone-humans" storyline about one-third into the movie. By the time you're half way through, you would have guessed what's next on the agenda, and how it'll end.

One sore point about Aeon Flux is the lack of a credible, strong villain. The baddies kinda lacked focus with its internal bitching, and double-crossing / switching sides so often, they make villains look so embarassingly fickle minded about their cause. Most of the time though you'll only see lots of foot soldiers in ugly uniforms, dispatched like bowling pins. Also, I felt that the filmmakers sort of changed their minds about the ending - quite clear what had happened, and quite amazed at what happened thereafter (Not wanting to spoil, just look out for a character).

Given the film's length (approx 90 minutes without end credits), very little is said about the abilities of the Monicans, except they make excellent assassins (or at least Aeon is), with abilities that can be enhanced by changing some body (spare) parts. The cool thing that they have is the telepathy amongst the agents, as well as their Handler. Kiss goodbye to meeting rooms, where you can have ultra-cool meetings in your cerebral cortex instead.

And that's where the special effects struck gold. Other than that, and the teleportation effects, for a movie set in the future, it looked relatively low-budgeted, if compared to contemporary sci-fi peers of recent times.

One surprise I got was Pete Postlethwaite's appearance as the Keeper - I thought he looked quite funny in his costume, although his underused character played a pivotal role in the events that unfold.

So except for hardcore Aeon fans, or admirers of Theron, this film could prove to be unappealing given its relatively weak sci-fi story as the backbone. Ooh, I must rave again, Theron looks absolutely gorgeous with her uber-chic hairdo and slinky black lycra.

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