Aeon Flux

I know I personally keep my gun in that
spot on your back you can never scratch.
"The Perfect World Meets The Perfect Assassin."

Hello everyone, after a brief hiatus welcome back to THE TAGLINE. I'm sure you were all terribly distraught in my absence, but rest assured, I'm back to give you the thrilling movie commentary that you have craved over the long hours of this past week, and to provide the cutting insight that makes your day bearable, because I'm sure my contribution to your afternoon is THAT ESSENTIAL. Unfortunately for you its all garbage in here today, as I threatened last week I'm going to be talking about Aeon Flux, a movie so spectacularly bad in such a specific and peculiar way that it almost defies belief. The movie doesn't really have to do with the original animation at all, or anything that makes sense, but because it bears a passing similarity I will talk about it briefly anyway. Aeon Flux was initially a six part short animation aired on MTV. Later it was given five more short episodes, and eventually in 1995 a full season of 10 half-hour episodes was aired. The show was the product of Peter Chung, whose bizarre art style is immediately recognizable (if you have ever seen Reign: The Conqueror that was also him). Chung, having previously worked on, if you will believe this, Rugrats, was frustrated with that shows character limitations, and so Aeon Flux was his outlet presumably for those impulses. As a result, Aeon Flux focuses on a character of the same name, who is basically a fetish dominatrix scarecrow skeleton, who is also a secret agent in a bizarre future dystopia. There's this whole thing with two cities and her sexy antagonistic relationship with Trevor Goodchild but I won't go into that because LITERALLY NONE OF THAT IS IN THIS MOVIE. It is important also to mention that there's a hyper amount of violence in the original animation, and a healthy dose of fetishy sex stuff. Now that I've established what the original animation was about, let me attempt to elucidate what happened in the movie, and I say attempt because even after seeing it a total of three times I'm still not entirely sure.

Weird black toxin scanning contacts: check.
So rather than basically any of the stuff above, Aeon Flux stars Charlize Theron (who is undoubtedly hot in this movie if nothing else, but you could deduce that from posters) as Aeon Flux, who is still a secret agent, but this time for an underground organization in a police state. That's not too dissimilar, except that this city exists because a virus wiped out most of humanity 400 years before the events of the movie, and now seemingly all remaining people live within the city. Everything isn't blissful in paradise though, because the government does whatever it has to in order to maintain control, and sometimes that means people have to disappear. That's okay though, because apparently they're all clones? Also Aeon is a clone of Trevor Goodchild's (the original) wife, and so she has to try and stop a plan to assassinate him so that his brother can keep the current regime in power. The whole movie is a gibberish based around this very stupid premise, set in a world that looks like they just ripped off Equilibrium pretty much without changing anything. The relatively short run time (something like 93 minutes) is interspersed with nonsense, and the motivations of characters and the events happening are at best difficult to decipher, and at worst things happen for no perceivable reason, and your left wondering if the screenwriter just turned in a stack of doodles and they shot the movie based on that.

Take a break from murder to cry at some babies.
What is especially confusing is that the film, while bearing little resemblance beyond the superficial to the original show, is full of very minute and specific references to it, which suggests that the people making this movie had watched if not all, then at least a LOT of the show, and just completely didn't get anything about what was going on. This is embodied best in the relationship between Aeon and Trevor Goodchild, who are supposed to represent complimentary, but very much irreconcilable halves of one whole. Portraying them as husband and wife and the center of a love story is completely missing the point of their character dynamic. Then again the whole movie misses the point of anything. Even if I weren't grading this movie based on how it related to its source material, it's still a jumbled up shitheap of contradictory elements and disjointed, unconnected scenes that are mostly just excuses for Charlize Theron to flip around in a skinsuit, dress up in lots of pseudo-fetishwear, and shoot people with guns. I guess that's not surprising, but it does make for one shitty ass movie. Peter Chung was apparently quoted as saying that watching the film made him feel "helpless, humiliated and sad", and that bums me out. The screenwriters claim that the film originally incorporated an additional 30 minutes of footage, and that it was recut by the studio, which I totally believe. My question is would those 30 minutes have made this disaster a coherent movie.

Am I attending an S&M funeral or...?
Even beyond that, the question I really have to ask myself is, do I think that there is a way to adapt Aeon Flux to live action on the screen at all. I'm really not sure. There are things you can do in animation that are difficult to do in live action. Even more important, there are things that you can slip by the censors in animation that would never fly in live action. The original show was also very much defined by the way that episodes were parsed, and telling a story via a feature length film is a very different challenge. Basically what I'm saying is that I'm not surprised that an Aeon Flux movie was a complete piece of shit, because I couldn't imagine it being anything OTHER than that. Particularly, I couldn't imagine a team that didn't include Peter Chung managing to do any justice to his original work, because it is bizarre in such a specific way that I think he is needed for reference if nothing else. Instead, if you want you can treat yourself to an hour and a half of purile crap that is as sterile as the cloned individuals that populate it.

That's all for today! Join me again on Thursday, where I will talk about how I sometimes cry when I think about apes.

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