‘Aeon’ Sux

Phil Owen

Prior to its release, “Aeon Flux” seemed destined for disaster and had me doubting the film’s quality.

First, it had an incredibly boring trailer, which seemed odd, considering it was action-oriented. Second, its release date was changed to the first weekend in December, typically a dead zone for new releases-which is why there are no other new releases-indicating Paramount had little confidence in it. Third, they did not screen the movie for critics.

All these elements had me expecting a total crapfest. Fortunately or unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be that bad-only extremely mediocre.

The gist of the story of “Aeon Flux” is that a few years from now a virus kills off all but one percent of humanity before a cure is developed by a man named Trevor Goodchild. The one percent relocates to a walled-in city called Bregna, where the people live when the movie takes place, 400 years from now. Goodchild sets up his own government to rule Bregna. Apparently, it is some kind of dictatorship where people are kidnapped and killed arbitrarily. Naturally, there is a resistance set up to battle the evil leaders, and, for whatever reason, they are called Monicans. Our protagonist, the titular Aeon Flux, is a Monican.

The first major problem with the movie is that the filmmakers are just lazy. Instead of setting up the bulk of the story in the movie itself, they give us a title scroll and a very brief montage with a Charlize Theron voice-over before jumping straight into the story.

As a result, I didn’t care about anything that was going on. They tell us in the introduction that the government is evil and doing horrible things, but we don’t see what they are doing.

They say that the Monicans and Aeon Flux are the good guys, but there is no evidence to support the claim. Characters spout cliches about being free and living out from under the oppression of the Goodchild regime and how terrible it is to live in Bregna, but from our point of view Bregna feels like a completely safe and good place to live. And since we get many scenes with the government leadership council and no scenes with the Monican leadership, the Monicans are the ones who seem manipulative and potentially evil. With the exception of one crazy, the government council seems to be made up of good and decent people.

This movie also has some of the most boring action since “Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever,” further driving home how little this movie has to offer.

There are a few redeemable qualities to be found, however. The story actually is interesting, and it takes some intriguing twists that lead it away from being a typical dystopian tale, particularly in the middle third.

This is the only part in which the plot really moves, and thus the only part with something positive to distract you from the complete mediocrity of every other aspect of the movie.

Two other complaints deserve mention: The dialogue is terrible, and the acting is bad throughout -a double whammy no one wants to see. Charlize Theron as Aeon and Marton Csokas as Trevor Goodchild deliver their lines very slowly and sleepily, making them just look bored. Johnny Lee Miller, playing Goodchild’s brother, just acts the same way he has in every movie he’s been in, from “Hackers” to “Mindhunters.”

In short, this is not a good film. It’s mediocre. Some see this film as Theron’s “Catwoman,” but I promise it’s not that awful. It’s simply a wasted opportunity that you want to forget about.