Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Aeon Flux" (2005)

Starring Charlize Theron, Sophie Okenedo and Marton Csokas
Written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
Directed by Karyn Kusama

I hate it when a good idea is made into a shitty movie.  "Aeon Flux" is just such a film.  In the world of this movie, the majority of humanity has died off due to some kind of virus in 2011.  Four hundred years later, the survivors live in a futuristic city called Bregna, under the rule of the Goodchild family, the same family that developed a cure for the virus centuries earlier.

Bregna is a glistening metropolis filled with fantastic technology.  The people are safe... sort of.  At any point, any one of them can disappear, never to be seen again.  There is a resistance group that has sprung up, the Monicans.  One of these Monicans is Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron).  She is, in fact, their greatest agent.  After Aeon's sister Una is killed by government agents, Aeon is sent on a mission to kill Trevor Goodchild (Marton Csokas), the leader of Bregna.


But when she comes face to face with him, something strange happens: repressed memories begin to bubble to the surface, and she's unable to kill Goodchild.  Goodchild himself has the same problem, and suddenly finds himself accused of treason by his brother Orin who has usurped control of the city.  Aeon and Goodchild are now on the run together, trying to escape Orin's forces and ensure a better future for the city.

And now here comes that good idea I mentioned earlier: It turns out that everyone in Bregna is actually a clone of someone who lived 400 years earlier.  Curing the virus made everyone sterile.  Now, whenever a citizen dies, they're reborn as a new person, given a new name, implanted into surrogate wombs of some happy couple.  But now, 400 years later, that's all falling apart as somehow, repressed memories of their original lives are coming through - first in their dreams and now consciously.  Trevor Goodchild has been spending his entire lives trying to find a cure for the sterility, without managing to do so. 

But people are beginning to have children again on their own - nature has cured them, somehow.  Orin discovered this, and has been killing people (called "reassigning") in order to hide it from Trevor so that he can live forever and continue to rule over the city.

That, to me, is a pretty cool idea to base a movie on.  Unfortunately, "Aeon Flux" is so shoddily produced, loaded with massive logic gaps, terrible dialogue, bad effects, and poor acting that the good idea at its center is just that - a good idea.  Practically nothing in the execution of this movie makes any sense.  Although Aeon is tasked with breaking stealthily into a secure facility in the dead of night, she does so dressed entirely in white.  The Monicans are supposedly some secret society, no one knows who they are... so it's a good thing they walk around in broad daylight wearing black leather clothes that don't match anything the other citizens are wearing.

Or let's talk about how the fights in this movie are all over-edited, obviously trying to hide the fact that the fights themselves aren't well made.  It seems likely that they shot all this footage, then realized that their fights look terrible, and tried to cover it up with lots of fast cuts so people wouldn't notice that the moves don't flow.

Let's talk about how the musical score is atonal nonsense.

Let's talk about how none of the actors in this movie seems to give a damn.

Let's just talk about how "Aeon Flux" sucks.  I just did.  A good idea exists at the center of this terrible movie, but that's it.