Aeon Flux Reviews
The critical reception was mainly negative. Rotten Tomatoes consensus stating "Aeon Flux lacks the gravity-defying pace of its animated predecessor, and, despite some flash, is largely a dull affair." Although Peter Chung was initially optimistic about the film and was impressed with the sets, he ultimately described it as "a travesty," adding: "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." Chung primarily objected to the film's portrayal of Ĉon and Trevor, and their re-imagined history and relationship. He said, "Ms. Flux does not actually appear in the movie." Screenwriters Hay and Manfredi asserted in an interview that the film was re-cut by the studio prior to release. They said the original director's cut contains nearly 30 minutes of additional footage, which Chung acknowledged in his criticism.
It´s never a good sign when a filmstudio declines to testscreen a film for the press. That means the studio normally has a boxoffice bomb in their hands. And "Aeon Flux" is an example of just that. I have no insight into the animated series the movie was based on, but when reading other reviews the character was apparently quite different in the animated series compared to the film. In the animated series, Aeon Flux was an amoral rebel that was completely detached from everything and everyone. She was cruel, selfish, loving, unpredictable, witty, confident, sarcastic, lethal, untamable, ambiguous all at once. The original plot was ambiguous and thought provoking it seems. In the film Aeon Flux has clear political and personal motives. She is pretty, loving, vulnerable, tamable, emotional and predictable. The plot obvious and more contrived. There´s a nice futuristic visual and stylistic approach in the film that shows you that the intentions were there, but with the stiff and theatrical conceptual end result it falls a bit flat. "Aeon Flux" takes itself too seriously in a way and at the same time there´s this unintentional (so it feels) humour that makes everything feels a bit off. The film is as well edited in a jumpy way which creates a disorientated piece of film. Charlize Theron is not at her best and I reckon she tried to make it work, but the production team didn´t manage to balance it with what they had going. However, many of the final problems might be based in the fact that according to director Karyn Kusama, after finishing the movie, the studio fired her, re-cut the movie to a 71 minute long version which tested poorly and then asked her to edit the film again, but not back to her original vision. Huge parts of the plot were left out and even one character's sexuality of being gay was cut out by the studio. Maybe if I get to see Kusama´s original version I might change my mind about this film. Who knows.