Saturday, December 8, 2012

Aeon Flux (2005) - Catsuit City!

Charlize Theron in a catsuit in Aeon Flux 2005
"Aeon Flux" (2005).

"Aeon Flux" (2005), directed by Karyn Kusama for Paramount Pictures,  is a low-key science fiction thriller starring Charlize Theron. It is similar to "Ultraviolet" (2006), "Barbarella" (1968), "Underworld" (2003), Elektra (2005) and "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" (2003), all of which star pretty young women wearing catsuits and running around waving guns or other weapons. If you like that genre, try this film. It fits right in with those action-girl flicks.

Charlize Theron in a catsuit in Aeon Flux 2005
Charlize Theron in "Aeon Flux." Why is she crouching in the corner of the rest room?

Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) is a member of the "Monicans," an underground group of dissidents in the year 2145 who communicate telepathically. They live in Bregna, a walled city that has survived after almost all of Earth's population succumbed to a deadly virus. A descendant of the man who saved the city from death rules the city, and the dissidents think he is a dictator who needs to be overthrown.
Charlize Theron in a catsuit in Aeon Flux 2005
Oh, slither towards me! Charlize Theron in "Aeon Flux (2005)."

One day, Aeon finds that her sister Una (Amelia Warner) has been killed. This propels her on a mission to kill the government leader, Trevor Goodchild (Martin Csokas). Things don't go as planned, however, and Aeon realizes that someone may be manipulating her. Further investigation reveals the staggering fact that everyone in Bregna is a clone, the dead being reborn into new people but retaining fragments of memories from their past lives. Not only that, it turns out that she is the clone of Trevor's dead wife, the first such clone in many years.

Charlize Theron in a catsuit in Aeon Flux 2005
Flying through the air,with the greatest of ease in "Aeon Flux."

Una, it turns out, had been one of Trevor's experiments. Since the vaccine that saved the city made everyone infertile, he had used her as an experiment to see if he could make her conceive (no, I'm not making this up). That had succeeded (it usually does), but Trevor's brother, Oren (Jonny Lee Miller), had killed her to keep the family in power because unbridled breeding would undermine their power (the logic is a bit fuzzy). Oren, in fact, has systematically been killing women who shook off the vaccine's side effects and managed to become pregnant (apparently, even though women are infertile, they still try to breed, if you know what I mean).

Charlize Theron in a catsuit in Aeon Flux 2005
Girls and guns, always a favorite, and there is plenty of that in "Aeon Flux (2005)."

Aeon now switches her allegiance to Trevor and must battle Oren and her old allies, who still think that Trevor is the problem. She has to figure out a way to overcome Oren and set humanity back on a path towards life.

Charlize Theron in a catsuit in Aeon Flux 2005
Charlize reviews "Aeon Flux (2005)."

This is a "high concept" film. The portrayal of a "normal" city that isn't what it seems, but instead is some kind of lifeboat or oasis of civilization surrounded by who-knows-what, has been done several times before, as in "Dark City" (1998) or even "The Time Travelers" (1964). It is not a particularly new idea, so execution is critical for this film to be worth your time and trouble to see.

Charlize Theron in a catsuit in Aeon Flux 2005
Hey, could we make the marketing for "Aeon Flux (2005)" a little more like "The Matrix"?

Sadly, the execution - except for whoever designed Charlize's costume and haircut - was lacking. The best review would be that of the creator of the animated television series of the same name, . He liked the sets, which indeed are impressive. Unfortunately, though, he did not like the script, and thought that the central characters of Aeon Flux and Trevor Goodchild had been softened beyond recognition. He said he was "unhappy" and "humiliated," and that the film was a "travesty:"

I was unhappy when I read the script four years ago; seeing it projected larger than life in a crowded theatre made me feel helpless, humiliated, and sad. ...[The movie's creators] claim to love the original version; yet they do not extend that faith to their audience. No, they will soften it for the public, which isn't hip enough to appreciate the raw, pure, unadulterated source like they do.

The film bombed at the box office, taking in less than half its budget.

Charlize Theron in a catsuit in Aeon Flux 2005
I don't know what happened with "Aeon Flux (2005)" either, buddy!

The best and, really, only reason to see this film is to get a good look at the emotionless Charlize Theron strutting around in her catsuit, wedge boots and bob cut. She truly is a cartoon character come to life. She tries hard to sell the picture, stripping down to her underwear, but it is an average film at best, even for catsuit aficionados. The costumes are a bit weird, and you can see the "twist" ending coming from far down the road, but Charlize is good to look at.

Charlize Theron in a catsuit in Aeon Flux 2005
Charlize Theron tries hard to make "Aeon Flux (2005)" work, give her credit.

A friendly hint to future filmmakers in this genre of catsuited heroines (and the films keep coming, despite the fact that they invariably do poorly): include a little humor along with the oh-so-important plot twists and nefarious, invariably anti-female, propensities of the villains. Without any self-deprecating jokes, this is a sad result for fans of the cult cartoon. The one positive outcome? Girls at comic book conventions now have one more classic sexy costume to strut around in and display their goods as an homage to Charlize.

Charlize Theron in a catsuit in Aeon Flux 2005
That's a big gun in "Aeon Flux (2005)."

There is lots of style in this film, and most of it displayed up-front by Charlize. Look at the pictures of her and decide if they turn you on. Don't expect any Coupe de Villes at the bottom of this Cracker Jack box. The substance is a little thin. Watch this along with one or more of the other films mentioned above and you may get an overdose of catsuits - but, hey, not that there's anything wrong with that!


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