Kept from critics for good reason.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
Sometimes when critics are not given a screening before release, it's a signal that the producers believe they have a loser and would prefer to maximize their profits on the first weekend before word gets out. Such is the case with Aeon Flux, a sci-fi adaptation more interested in replicating Robocops and Storm Troopers from previous winners than exploring topics such as cloning and reincarnation, both of which are a part of the plot but not adequately developed.
Those remaining of a diseased population in 2415 are bothered by strange dreams, tyrannized by a government of scientists, and waiting to be liberated by rebels named Monicans. Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) is a super operative Monican sent to assassinate the government's chairman, Trevor Goodchild (Martin Csokas).
More than questions of philosophy, sociology, or theology, often the staple of sci-fi, the film unwittingly brings up topics such as why Oscar-winning actresses Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand (as Handler, the head of the Monicans) would take on these roles. I suspect Theron of thinking she could franchise just as Angelina Jolie did with Lara Croft (Her role is more like Halle Berry's reviled Catwoman); McDormand must have savored the idea of wearing a red fright wig that looks like the matted headgear of Frankenstein's bride.
Aeon Flux has all the requisite characteristics of a film kept from critics: broadly pontificating, inane conversation; crippled thematic ideas; and grotesque costuming. Pete Postlehwaite's Keeper's final costume is so bizarre that it must have had a previous life in a porno flick where catching liquids is a matter of the widest bucket collar. Better however is his ponderous line, "I've been waiting 400 years for this day," which pretty much describes the feeling of a critic for whom professional ethics demands that he wait until the end credits to bolt for fear he might be stranded in trashy movie flux forever as punishment.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com