(repost from last year, because I’m too busy watching my Cdramas to actually review them….)
So Aeon Flux is a 2005 movie based loosely on an animated TV short series, blah blah blah, starring 6-foot-plus Charlize Theron as the titular Strong Female Character, and directed by a woman. If you wanted to be nasty, you could probably compare it to Wonder Woman, which also starred a beautiful woman, was about a powerful woman, and was directed by a woman, but was actually really good and made a lot of money.
This movie is not good.
It’s terrible in a stylish, hallucinatory, breaking-the-laws-of-physics fashion that undercuts the cool stuff that really is there and leaves you wondering if those brownies were spiked. Did she just dig that bullet out of him with her fingernails? How does doing a backflip make you immune to gunfire? Why is the Bregnan surveillance apparatus a pool of water that can be disarmed with one swirly grenade? Why is the approach to the Supreme Leader’s private residence a garden guarded only by razor-edged fake grass and one tree with attack fruits that spit hypodermic darts? How come the Supreme Leader’s most effective security agents is not any of his highly trained, armored, heavily armed guards, armed with guns, but his secretary, armed with a club? Why was the violent, known-wolf assassin not searched after being taken into custody? And what the hell is up with the blimp? No, seriously. Really, what is the blimp for? Why is it just floating around? What are the streamer tails on it for? How come, if you were using water-based information storage (?) before, the blimp instead uses solid-state holograms? What the hell is it with the old guy? Is he a hologram all the time? Why does he appear to be wearing a space suit shaped like a cocoon and why is he apparently naked under it? And why does the blimp have the streamer tails on it? Are those the only way to get on board? Are they the standard way to get on board? Why do you even have those?
Now, cool stuff there is: there’s imaginative biotechnology: human modifications and gadgets that make a lot of sense–implants and chemical (aha) messengers. But then there’s the requisite Hollywood stupidity that comes with it. That’s not how virtual reality works. Not even a little. Please. That’s not how cloning works. Not even a little. That’s not how memories and the brain work. Not even a little. Why be stupid? Because you are a stupid and lazy writer who can’t be bothered to use your brain or respect your audience’s intelligence enough to try.
The other good thing is that the movie itself is filmed in a bright, clean, stylish fashion–
–showcasing plenty of set and costume design. When in doubt: high collars and high cheekbones are always going to go over well. And parasols are always nice.
The third good thing is that the casting is good, even if the acting isn’t.
Absolutely everyone is required at all times to maintain a harsh poker face and speak in a level monotone, preferably a whisper. Only some of the actors can actually, you know, act under these circumstances; but as far as depicting a far future society filled with genetically modified, carefully selected human beings in perfect health and nutrition … this, it certainly does. Sophie Okonedo in particular impresses as someone who actually makes the most of her stone-faced screentime. (see above, re: cheekbones.) Marton Csokas …. well, in addition to the high collars, also has a great jawline.
But here’s the worst thing….once this movie has set everything up, weird, hallucinatory, illogical, and stylish as it is…it stops, backtracks, and then tries to explain. Don’t do that. You shouldn’t have done that. You’re too dumb to make it make actual sense, and all you did was ruin what weird, stylish charm you did have. And without that, we’re back to WTH-ing at some of the dumbest wetware technology, moronic security systems, ineffective mooks, incoherent terrorist organizations, and most illogical dictatorships ever.
(WHY DOES THE DAMN BLIMP EVEN EXIST? WHY? WHY?! WHYYY?)
Rated: it was watch Aeon Flux or do something productive….