Æon Flux (2005)

While M.T.V. was young, it offered a steady stream of music videos, giving new artists a chance to become established names. In the early 90s, trying to diversify its offerings, it turned to animation, leading to a similar boon of creative output. Much like Adult Swim today, they pioneered the weird and wonderful to produce animated shorts, that became as memorable as the music videos that were played constantly. One notable example was Aeon Flux, a show that wore its style like a badge of honour, becoming a poster child for the art form. In 2005, the stylistically significant cartoon, got a live-action adaption in Aeon Flux.

A lot of the cartoon’s stylish sentiment is found in the film, but there are clear examples of where it has been altered.

After most of the human population is wiped out in 2011 by a plague, the surviving vestiges of humanity are held in the city-state of Bregna. While they live in comfort, they are prisoners in a gilded cage. For those who want their freedom, there is a group called the Monicans, they are essentially freedom fighters, determined to liberate Bregna from the lengthy rule of Trevor Goodchild. Aeon Flux is one of the best among them, she is tasked to put an end to Goodchild’s regime. As she embarks on her quest, she will find out a lot about herself, as feelings develop between the hunter and the hunted.

Marton Csokas as the charismatic Goodchild.

With a brunet butt-kicking heroine operating in a futuristic setting. Comparisons can be made to other films like Ultraviolet, both films indeed have a remarkable similarity, yet there are some subtle differences. Brazil’s architecture does offer a lot to transport the viewer to the futuristic city of Bregna, looking a lot different from the ultra-sleek of Archminestry’s Chinese filming locations. with the costume design helping to separate both films too. The transition from cartoon to live-action is striking, yet not jarring as the show strives to recreate a lot of the same motions or at least what is possible in live-action. The prime example comes from recreating the intro, offering a result that is creepier in the flesh.

…eww…

A lot of the cartoon’s abstract lies in the film, but the reworking is obvious. Mysterious forces plot behind the scenes, and you may never be too sure that you’ll have 100% of the picture. Even if you have seen all the episodes, the story does go somewhat in its direction. Charlize Theron makes sense as the eponymous protagonist, as finding someone else to encapsulate Aeon Flux would have been far challenging. She is joined by the likes of Pete Postlethwaite and even Alan Johnson, I mean Paterson Joseph. But it’s Marton Csokas with the difficult task of living up to the ultra-charismatic Goodchild of the cartoon, With even Johnny Lee Miller as Trevor’s brother Oren with some of the more interesting plot points.

Bregna is an architecturally interesting location, serving impressive backdrops for the many battles.

While taking some liberties and transforming the result into a new direction, Aeon Flux does feel like a fresh new experience. Yet hints and references of the show that inspired it remains intact, providing a thematic link between the plot and the inspiration. Full of martial arts action, and stylish renditions of locations, and an intriguing plot, in-between the liberal amounts of gunplay. The world of 2415 holds intrigue both animated and in real life. And either if you’re a lifelong fan or a newcomer it might be your destiny to check out this film.

With the likes of Bloodrayne and Ultraviolet, the mid 2000s were a good time for butt-kicking heroines.

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