‘Aeon Flux’ (2005)

‘Æon Flux’ (2005) Charlize Theron has her Oscar. Now she has her ‘Catwoman’. “– David Frese , KANSAS CITY STAR

The MTVidiots have gone out of their way to empty a high-concept animatrix into an empty-headed star vehicle. Now it’s official — if you’re a woman and you’ve just gotten your first Oscar™ and your agency, William Morris or whomever, is trying to package you into some comic book movie, run, run away. It can’t end well. Ever.

Well, possibly, if you’re producing the thing yourself, and you’re working directly with the creator, as Charlize happens to be with Brian Bendis on ‘ Jinx ‘, but by taking ‘Aeon Flux’ away from Peter Chung and re-branding the thing, they’ve murdered the property.

At another time, they might have been able to do some justice to ‘Aeon Flux’, but not after we’ve all come to expect competent fight-choreography and a DP wo can frame and capture it all on film. Director Karyn Kusama (‘ Girlfight ‘) fails here on both counts. She’s ruined hereself by not doing the necessary preparation for a film of this sort, as well as not paying adequate attention to the script.

Peter Chung’s original animated series was a post-modern cyber-funky item that shared the birthright of mid-90′s yankee-anime (when it was still counter-culture). At least Chung was able to keep that bit alive and vital. Some reviewers even offered that the death of his heroine at the end of each episode was something of a nose-thumbing at MTV executives, who were, at the time already involved in the packaging of post-Nirvana pseudo Grunge bands and other affects of post-adolescent disaffection.

This new movie was written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi the duo that brought us the hapless Jackie Chan/Claire Forlani vehicle, ‘ The Tuxedo ‘ (2002). Like most of the Cartoon Network and [adult_swim] fare, each of the Aeon Flux (1995) episodes were 30 minutes in length, and involved some central mission that Aeon had to go on. But this feature film varies from the series in that the writers make an attempt at exploring Aeon’s origins and giving her a sister to get ‘disappeared’. Scribes Hay and Manfredi do none of Chung’s humor any justice, as Theron and her D-list co-stars play the material very earnestly. There isn’t a joke or a wry observation anywhere near this thing.

Is is worth it?

It’s a slow winter so far, and ‘Serenity’ is out of most theaters. Even then, I’d recommend that genre enthusiasts and fans of the old cartoon give pause before laying down good cash to see this in the theater. That $6.50-$11.00 might be better spent on tomorrow’s lunch, the cable bill or your next Ebay purchase. How about ‘Aeon Flux:The Complete Animated Series’?

There are one or two good genre ideas in there, about asexual reproduction, and the migration of souls and memory but it pretty much falls short. For a piece of entertainment that was SO MUCH a piece of guilt-sexy entertainment, it provides little of either.

Rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

(Pass on it if you’re forced to break a tie.)

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