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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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12/05/2005 Archived Entry: "Movie review: Aeon Flux"

Aeon Flux
Directed by Karyn Kusama
Written by Phil Hay and Mat Manfredi
Characters by Peter Chung

Review by Chad Denton

I was required by law - nerd law - to go watch "Aeon Flux," so I could help gauge Hollywood's latest butchering of a well-executed, original concept.

Of course, to some of us the relationship between Hollywood and 'fandoms' is like that of an abusive lover and their victim; maybe, just maybe, this time, the victim hopes, they'll be different. And, while I knew that it would be impossible to make an even mostly faithful adaptation of "Aeon Flux" that would appeal to a broader, mainstream audience, I was hoping we'd at least get an interesting and fun action/sci-fi exercise out of the bargain.

While I definitely wasn't expecting them to not provide a cohesive narrative, have Aeon meet a bloody death at any point, or even take up Peter Chung's messages about violence by lingering on the death throes of Aeon's otherwise anonymous victims as the original cartoons do, I was surprised by how far they went to miss the point. There's none of the strange but sophisticated eroticism that the cartoon did so well (sure, they try to capture it, but they can't even pull off Aeon-as-dominatrix right), the writers completely oversimplify Aeon's relationship with Trevor Goodchild, and they take away all the mystery and alieness of the world of "Aeon Flux" by constructing a premise that's so scientifically implausible suspension of disbelief will do you no good.

Oh, and I can't decide which was worse - the dialogue or the acting of said dialogue. A character reacts to the apparent destruction of their life's work with a mumbled "No." Significant pauses are peppered into every exchange. Plot information is repeated so much and so unnecessarily even a caffeine-ridden kid with ADD would get annoyed - as my friend Lauren put it, they could have cut three minutes from every scene. There were a few Roger Moore-esque attempts at wit, but at least twice they were met with actual 'pity laughs' from audience members. And there were even a few moments when I swear the characters were on the verge of pulling a "Dr. Scott! Brad! Janet! Rocky!" Worst of all, in regards to the action scenes, everyone seems to have the ability to instantaneously teleport, and in the future people can walk just fine a few minutes after falling through walls and getting shot more than once.

So... no, it's neither 'interesting' or 'fun.' There were a few overblown but still nifty sci-fi concepts (although, really, does anyone in the future just use a door?) and the sets were purty, but... well, that's about it, really. The guy they had as Trevor wasn't even decent eye candy.

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