A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 60 – Aeon Flux

Aeon Flux – April 29th, 2010

I know this movie got a lot of flack, and I won’t go saying it’s perfect, myself. But I will come right out and say I think the movie actually does a good job translating the utter bizarreness of the cartoons to a full length feature. One of the criticisms I read was that the plot isn’t totally coherent. That the movie is strange and hard to decipher. And? Same for criticism that the movie doesn’t adhere to the world of the cartoons. The cartoons don’t adhere to the same world from episode to episode, so I can’t take that one seriously either. The cartoons were bizarre displays of slick style and theoretical battles. If anything, it’s too much a linear plot that’s too much in a cohesive and coherent world. And I’m not so sure about the character of Trevor and how he was transferred. But I’ll get to that.

I can’t really explain the movie without referring to the series. And there are so many little references to the series, like Sithandra’s foot hands, and Aeon catching the fly in her eyelashes. But it’s also its own thing. It is what every episode is: A struggle between Aeon Flux against something she believes is wrong, or has set herself against. Usually that something is at least led or fronted by a man named Trevor Goodchild. And they hate each other. And they love each other. They need each other and battle over and over and over, again and again. Elaborate plots and simple ones come and go between them. In the series, they’re impossible. They want each other but their views of the world are fundamentally opposed, and without one of them changing into a different person, they cannot ever truly reconcile. The episodes that exemplify this most to me are Thanatophobia and A Last Time For Everything.

In the movie, the world is a future where, following a plague, the few remaining humans live in a sheltered city, protected by a tyrannical government led by Trevor Goodchild and his brother, Oren, and the walls they’ve erected. It was meant to be a temporary shelter, but is also supposed to be as much of a utopia as a walled city can be. But since it’s a utopia for some, it is obviously going to be a dystopia for others. People disappear and the whole population feels a bizarre and untraceable malaise. Rebels vow to take down the government, thinking that will fix it all. Aeon is one of the rebels. And so she is sent to kill Trevor, but fails and ends up uncovering not only his brother’s plot against him, but the truth of why the city is the way it is, why the people are the way they are, who she is, who Trevor is, why he seems so familiar and what the nature of the blimp-like object floating above the city is, which I’d explain, but like a good Aeon Flux plot, it’s all vague and confused and complicated. There’s cloning and lies and manipulation and double crossing and lots of very beautiful stylized fight scenes and acrobatics and settings. The vast majority of the movie feels right. The majority of the story works for me (I do like a dystopia, as I’ve mentioned).

Then, unfortunately, there’s the minority. I said the movie captures the feel of the show, and that it does a decent job transferring. What it changes, sadly, is one of the things I love most about the show, which is the eternal conflict and attraction and dance between Aeon and Trevor. In the movie, it seems the writers took the essence of Trevor and split him between the two brothers. Trevor gets to be the one Aeon is drawn to and Oren is the one doing the horrible things for the greater good that Trevor in the series is always doing. They took the things that make it impossible for Aeon and Trevor to ever really be together and stuck them in someone that’s not Trevor. They cleared the way for the two of them to work together. It works in the context of the movie, but I find myself sighing at it. The complexity of their relationship just isn’t there. It isn’t as fascinating. Good thing there’s a nicely built and written dystopia and a Wilhelm scream for me.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Aeon Flux

April 29, 2010

Aeon Flux

Yesterday’s movie about an unstoppable killing machine in a dystopian future (played by an actress who used to be a supermodel) made me want to watch today’s movie. About an unstoppable killing machine in a dystopian future (played by an actress who used to be a supermodel.) The distinction here is that Charlize Theron has an Oscar. And no recording career that I know of.

As with Watchmen I would say that Aeon Flux, the MTV Liquid Television cartoon by Peter Chung that this movie is based upon, is unfilmable. The problem is that the cartoon took delight in being obtuse. Putting aside that each episode took place in a separate continuity and that Aeon died in just about every episode, the show often just didn’t explain what was going on. It felt like there was an internal logic to the show, but it also felt like you were missing crucial bits of information. I always felt slightly off balance when watching the show. It was an uncomfortable feeling sometimes. I love discovering new worlds, and so I’d watch the show and try to unravel what was going on, who was on what side, but often there were no answers, which was part of the appeal of the show.

Given all that I think the film makers did an admirable job recreating the convoluted feel of the show, but made it more lucid, providing an actual plot and a world that makes some kind of sense in the end. The tech of the movie is very much in keeping with the show. All very organic and futuristic. Several moments in the movie are directly out of the show as well, such as passing the pill from mouth to mouth or Sithandra’s foot/hands. In my opinion the movie works well, but as with Watchmen I wonder how it stands on its own as a piece of cinema if you are unfamiliar with the cannon.

I’d like to think that this movie stands on its own as a cool bit of dystopian sci-fi. Certainly it is a more solid piece of film-making than yesterday’s entry. The action is a little less ludicrous (though there are still a whole mountain of dead faceless guards by the end.) The world is better realized. I wouldn’t say that the movie is thought provoking at any time, but it’s cool in it’s own way. More an homage to the cartoon than an adaptation.

Worth watching anyhow, and for me worth owning.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment