Find the latest Christian movie reviews here at CrossWalk.com! We offer movie reviews from a Christian perspective allowing you to make an informed decision prior to going to the theater. Our Christian movie reviews include your standard movie review information such as release date, rating, genre, run time, director, and actors, but they will also include "cautions" about language, profanity, alcohol, smoking, drug use, violence, crime, religion and morals. You can also find Christian music, Christian video, Christian news and much more all free on Crosswalk.com Christian Movie Reviews - Family Friendly Entertainment

Aeon Flux

  • review by Peter T. Chattaway Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 2 Dec
  • COMMENTS
Aeon Flux


The ads for Aeon Flux don't stress the fact that it is top–heavy with Oscar–caliber actresses, but they could if they wanted to. Based on a popular MTV cartoon, the film stars Charlize Theron—who won an Oscar for playing a beauty–challenged real–life serial killer in Monster—as a sexy futuristic assassin who is working with a group of rebels to take down the totalitarian government ruling their dystopic society. Frances McDormand, who won an Oscar for Fargo and recently co–starred with Theron in a serious–social–issues bit of Oscar bait called North Country, plays Aeon's boss. And Sophie Okonedo, who was nominated for an Oscar for her brilliant, moving performance as Don Cheadle's wife in Hotel Rwanda, plays a fellow rebel who has apparently undergone surgery to replace her feet with hands.

So much talent, and for what? If anyone wants proof that good roles are hard to find, even for actresses who have won the highest praise possible from their colleagues, then they need look no further than this movie. Aeon Flux is one of those films that is so lackluster, the studio refused to show it to critics in advance—figuring, perhaps correctly, that reviews wouldn't make a difference to fans of the original show anyway. Unless, of course, those reviews were to convince those fans that the film had betrayed the show, in which case the reviews would make the wrong sort of difference, from the studio's point of view.

The character Aeon Flux was created by Korean animator Peter Chung for a series of two– or three–minute shorts on MTV's Liquid Television in 1991, and she came back in a series of slightly longer shorts in 1992 and a ten–part series of half–hour episodes in 1995. While Aeon was an anarchist, fighting on behalf of a country called Monica, she also had a sort of on–and–off relationship with her nemesis, Trevor Goodchild, who controlled the neighboring country Breen through science. Filled with fairly graphic violence and sexuality, the show played with post–modern notions of identity by tackling subjects like cloning, memory manipulation and the stimulation of human evolution. The show also challenged typical notions of story continuity by killing off its main character in several episodes. The show is sometimes cited as one of The Matrix's many influences, and indeed, Chung went on to direct the cartoon short 'Matriculated' for the Animatrix anthology a couple years back.

The movie, written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (Crazy/Beautiful, The Tuxedo), keeps a few elements from the original show but changes pretty much everything else. In this version, set 400 years in the future, virtually the entire human race has been wiped out by a virus, and the few million survivors now live in a city that is walled off from the encroaching forces of nature and controlled by the Goodchild family, whose cure for the disease helped to stop the virus way back when. Aeon is no longer from a neighboring country, but a rebel from within this society. She is also dressed much more modestly, and she has been given something resembling a personal life, in the form of a sister (Amelia Warner) who is killed by government forces early on in the film. So while it was never clear what motivated the cartoon Aeon, the movie Aeon is driven by one thing: revenge.

Aeon gets her chance to strike back at the powers that be pretty soon, when she and the four–handed Sithandra (Okonedo) are sent on a mission to assassinate Trevor Goodchild (Marton Csokas, last seen as a cynical P.O.W. in The Great Raid and as the evil leader of the Knights Templar in Kingdom of Heaven). But something goes awry; Trevor seems to recognize her, and Aeon feels some sort of inexplicable personal connection to him. And unlike the cartoon, where Aeon and Trevor sometimes became lovers just because they satisfied each other's selfish desires—or, for that matter, simply because they could—the movie hints that there is something deeper and more meaningful at work here.

If only there were. Aeon Flux is full of interesting and competently handled special effects, including the razor–sharp grass that surrounds the Goodchild headquarters, the six–tentacled device that allows its wearer to phase in and out of parallel dimensions, and the surveillance databank which seems to keep all its video images in overlapping pools of water. Directed by Karyn Kusama (Girlfight), the film also taps into some interesting ideas about the bonds between women, whether as friends, as sisters, as mothers and daughters, or as some of these things simultaneously; the ability to conceive, or the lack thereof, turns out to be one of the film's key plot points, and for once, Aeon's femininity provides more than an just excuse for fanboys to enjoy the sight of a scantily–clad gun–toting chick.

But the story that strings all these elements together is built on contrivances, and riddled with improbabilities. It is, perhaps, understandable that the relationship between Aeon and Trevor would compromise them both in the eyes of their allies, but it is not so easy to believe that a culture so thoroughly dominated by images of its dictator would suddenly turn against him just because a member of his inner circle told it to. What's worse, the telling of this story is rather dull and lifeless; the film is full of rote combat sequences and no real sense of danger or adventure. After the death of her sister, Aeon tells us, "I used to have a life. Now, I just have a mission." Let us hope, for the sake of this film's co–stars, that they do not one day find themselves saying, "I used to have a career. Now, I just have a job."


Talk About ItDiscussion starters How do the changes made to the story, between the original cartoon and this film, affect the change in its overall themes? Do Aeon and Trevor represent chaos and order? Nature and science? Femininity and masculinity? How do these themes overlap? How does the relationship between Aeon and Trevor in the film compare to their relationship in the cartoon? Aeon's sister says, "We have different ways of solving problems," and Aeon replies, "Yes, you ignore them." What do you think of her sister's reply to this? Which of them do you sympathize with more? How do you think social problems should be dealt with? Does Aeon learn anything about dealing with social problems over the course of this film? What do you think of the modifications that some characters have made to their bodies? Note Sithandra's hands–for–feet, as well as the devices planted in Aeon's body. Does the film take a positive view of science and technology, and the impact these things have on our understanding of what it means to be human? Or does it take a negative view? A bit of both? What does this film say about the role of death in our lives? Is death, as Aeon says, "what makes everything about us matter"? Does cloning help people to live forever? In what way are clones different? In what way are you a different person now from who you were five, ten, twenty years ago? Are you the same person now? One character says, "Whatever we are, we're not anarchists. There have to be rules." Is he right? Does the film accept rules, or oppose them? What place should there be for freedom? Does the film bring rules and freedom into balance?The Family CornerFor parents to consider

Aeon Flux is rated PG–13 for sequences of violence and sexual content. There is a fair bit of shooting and stabbing and strangling and breaking of other people's necks, plus a few explosions as well. Aeon herself is sometimes framed in suggestive ways, and she tries to kill a man in bed shortly after sleeping with him.

Photos © Copyright Paramount Pictures© Peter T. Chattaway 2005, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.What Other Critics Are Sayingcompiled by Jeffrey Overstreet

from Film Forum, 12/08/04

Consider the story of Halle Berry, who gained fame as one of the big screen's most striking beauties in several supporting roles. Then, she played a troubled, lonely woman in a film with the word "monster" in the title (2001's Monster's Ball)—a performance that won her an Oscar. Berry followed up that monster performance by pulling on some tight leather in the lead role for one of 2004's biggest letdowns—Catwoman, a disposable comic book movie. Bad career move. She hasn't had a significant leading role at the movies since.

And now it's happened again. Charlize Theron, Oscar–winner for Monster, is the lead in Aeon Flux, a Matrix–like sci fi adventure that co–stars Frances McDormand. Fortunately for Theron, her lead role in the recent North Country helped establish that she was not a one–performance wonder. But you have to question why she signed on for a film with a script as bad as this.

"If anyone wants proof that good roles are hard to find, even for actresses who have won the highest praise possible from their colleagues, then they need look no further than this movie," writes Peter T. Chattaway (Christianity Today Movies). "Aeon Flux is one of those films that is so lackluster, the studio refused to show it to critics in advance—figuring, perhaps correctly, that reviews wouldn't make a difference to fans of the original show anyway. Unless, of course, those reviews were to convince those fans that the film had betrayed the show, in which case the reviews would make the wrong sort of difference, from the studio's point of view."

Steven Isaac (Plugged In) says it's "not a terrible movie. It's just so normal by today's sci–fi standards that it doesn't stand out with its visuals or its message. It briefly highlights the reality that as long as humans are involved, utopia can't exist. It celebrates free will, and it spends a few minutes showing us the way that free will can turn into run–amok rivalry. It hastily points out that a government without accountability will inevitably fall victim to corruption. It even snuggles up to the hot–button issue of human cloning for a bit. But by barely scratching the surface of any of these potentially weighty subjects, it left me asking to what end?"


Follow Crosswalk.com