Following the announcement that Charlize Theron will star in the new AMC sci-fi show ‘Thunderstruck’, it’s an appropriate time to mention ‘Æon Flux’, probably her most underrated sci-fi movie. IMDB.com users give it a 5.4 out of 10 with approximately 46,600 votes. While it is not a perfect film, I would give it a score of 7 on that site.
The movie is based on the ‘Æon Flux’ animated series that ran on MTV during the 90’s. It shares similarities with the show, but there are enough differences to treat it as a standalone film as opposed to an accurate live-action adaptation.
The setting of the movie is post-apocalyptic. A 2011 virus killed 99% of Earth’s population. The survivors inhabit a walled city called Bregna. The story in the film takes place approximately 400 years after the city became the last human refuge. The government is run by Trevor Goodchild and his brother Oren. They are both scientists who helped the city survive in its early days. The government begins cloning members of the population and kidnapping people, which is the catalyst for a rebel organization called the Monicans whose goal is to overthrow the Goodchild regime. Aeon Flux is the most skilled Monican agent.
What saves this film from being mediocre is not the script, which is clever but not as clever as other sci-fi biotech movies such as ‘Gattaca’. Instead, the visuals and acting performances are what propels this film to a higher level. The costumes and backgrounds in ‘Æon Flux’ are impressive. The buildings run the gamut between beautifully futuristic for the residents and starkly industrial for Goodchild’s fortress. Vehicle traffic is light. Almost all citizens walk to where they want to go, which gives a utopian, relaxed atmosphere to the city, a gilded cage with a dark secret.
Several acting performances are noteworthy. Charlize Theron is brilliant as Aeon. She delivers sex appeal without seeming fake (*cough* Megan Fox in ‘Transformers’ *cough*), and delivers her lines with a mesmerizing intensity. Marton Csokas gives a superb performance as Trevor Goodchild. He acts emotionally detached, as one would imagine a scientist of the future to act, and yet shows a deep caring side for the people of Bregna and for Aeon. Jonny Lee Miller (most well-known to sci-fi fans for ‘Hackers’) is great as Oren Goodchild. He portrays his downward moral spiral with an arrogant flair, rationalizing his actions with a smug certainty of purpose.