Cyberpunk Review » Aeon Flux

March 24, 2006

Aeon Flux

Movie Review By: SFAM

Year: 1995

Directed by: Peter Chung & Howard Baker

Written by: Peter Chung et. al.

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

Key Cast Members:

  • Æon Flux: Denise Poirier (voice)
  • Trevor Goodchild: John Rafter Lee (voice)
  • Rating: 9 out of 10

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    Overview: Aeon-Flux, the brainchild of Peter Chung (also the writer/director of the terrific Animatrix short, “Matriculated”), is one of the really innovative and unique animated shows to come out of the United States. We really have to thank MTV for allowing this show to get produced, and then, after realizing that they just couldn’t control it, for letting it go on unfettered for a second season. Aeon-Flux is not meant to be a coherent whole – this postmodern cyberpunk show is as nihilistic as they come.

     

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    The Story: Aeon Flux takes place in a truly bizarre near-future setting, in which genetic engineering, body modifications, and excessive self-gratification are the norm – yet these extremes take place in a controlled surveillance society. Nearly all events take place in the utopian city, Bregna, which is controlled by a supreme oligarchy. Trevor (voiced by Vampire Hunter D’s John Rafter Lee), one of the two central characters, is a prototypical mad scientist who, at first seems to have little regard for anything other than his own perverted desires. As the show goes on, we find that he is in fact truly besotted with Aeon Flux, who, in many ways is his complete opposite. Aeon Flux (voiced by Denise Poirier) represents the forces of anarchy, and is continually involved in fucking up Trevor’s carefully laid scheming. Unfortunately for Aeon, she too cannot resist Trevor’s guile, which just as often, leads to her downfall.

     

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    Virtually every episode is different in Aeon Flux, but all of them deal with a strange, fast-paced plot that deals with espionage in some way. Episodes usually have the feel of a chess match, where Aeon and Trevor match wits over completely strange and esoteric plots. More often than not, nobody wins. In fact, unlike most shows, the winning and ending itself is rarely important. This is not what the shows are about. More important is the mood, the feel, and the atmosphere that exudes from the visuals, the dialogue and the score.

     

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    Spoiler – Aeon Flux Dies…A lot! Well, OK, it’s not really a spoiler. It’s more a fact of the show itself. Unlike most shows, in this one, the star dies regularly. Early on in the long shows, Trevor clones Aeon Flux, so thematically, there is now an infinite number of Aeons just waiting to bite the big one. And while there’s now a “rationale” for the deaths, this isn’t really the point – Aeon Flux isn’t meant to hold together that way. It’s almost as if each episode is completely it’s own show. But if she dies, rest assured it will happen in a truly innovative and gruesome way. It could be drowning in a vat of poisen, getting dropped out of a plane, being eating by bizarre genetically modified creatures, or, well, you get the idea. .

     

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    Aeon Flux – the Ultimate Anti-heroine? In many ways, Aeon Flux comes across as the ultimate anti-heroine. While she clearly knows right from wrong, and generally tries to stop the worst abuses, Aeon is an ultra-acrobatic, top-notch action/espionage heroine who works for herself. She’s just as likely to take an assassination job as she is to stop a horrid virus from killing mankind. Did I mention she’s drawn up in ultra-hot, skimpy clothes, and likes to have sex a lot? In this way, she really does qualify as a more female than female character (usually cyberpunk reserves these for cyborgs and androids). Most interestingly, because of Aeon Flux’s propensity for dying, you never know whether or not she’s going to make it through alive, or even whether she’ll complete her mission (she seems to fail almost as much as she succeeds). This really does add an excitement to the episodes.

     

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    The Love-Hate Relationship: Aeon-Flux and Trevor have a complete love-hate relationship. Even when they are bent on killing one-another, there is always sexual tension, which while often consummated, never leaves the two characters. Every episode gives us yet another chance to explore their relationship in a completely bizarre way. Trevor is definitely Aeon’s Kryptonite. More often than not, his presence alone is enough to make her botch her mission. However, this doesn’t stop Aeon from ruining most, if not all of Trevor’s take over the world plots.

     

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    The Visuals and Cinematography: Aeon Flux gives a number of different looks as the show progresses. Perhaps my favorite are the perspective shots such as the one above. We also get lots of wide angle shots, strange close-ups, gradients, and a number of truly surrealistic sets. Unlike most cyberpunk, Aeon Flux doesn’t really adhere to a single dominating color scheme – but to the extent it does, the blues are more highlighted than the rest. Usually, each episode will have a unique theme that dictates the color choices – often they will take a color palette (oranges, greens, etc.) and detail it out in interesting ways. Some episodes are truly surreal in nature, while others are straight neo-noir. The overall goal is always to innovatively create a far-out intense atmosphere wrapped up in a tightly paced, no-nonsense near-future espionage show. More often than not it succeeds.

     

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    The Violence: Much to MTV’s initial chagrin, Aeon Flux is NOT a kids show. This is an adult cartoon in every way possible, including the intense violence. While the shorts are more violent than the half-hour episodes, Aeon Flux is consistently violent. There are leg amputations, deaths by gunshot, poison, insects, creatures, aliens, viruses, et cetera (often to Aeon herself!). Blood and gore are often just a scene or two away. All of this serves to strengthen the near-future but otherworldly atmosphere of Aeon Flux.

     

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    The Gadgets: Aeon-Flux is filled with gadgets of all flavors. Most common are body modifications and “biopunk” elements (just learned that word  ). Body modifications include external spinal cord implants, leg jumping implants, conversions of limbs, eye implants, and various compartmentalized bodily storage areas. Genetic engineering is a huge theme in Aeon Flux, far more than the cyber-aspects. We also see repeated instances of cybernetically modified insects who’s function is to inflict a virus of some kind into a target population (Now we know where DARPA got the idea from!). Needles are also a recurring them, and show up everywhere from guns, to security implements, to, um, the operating table.

     

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    The Bottom Line: Aeon Flux is one of the really creative shows to come out of United States Television. This show validates the purpose of cable TV – we get to see talented folks like Peter Chung let lose their creative energies to produce something truly unique. And while I normally don’t spend too much time talking about the DVD features, I must on Aeon-Flux – the DVD set is flat-out terrific. I almost put it up there with Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood and The Kino edition of Metropolis as one of my favorite DVD productions of a long-lost show. The commentaries, featurettes, and extras are all terrific on the Aeon Flux DVD. If I had any qualms about whether to give Aeon Flux 8 or 9 stars, the incredible quality of the DVD set answers it for me.

     

    More Aeon Flux Screencaps on Page 2–>>

     

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    This post has been filed under Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, Security-Surveillance State, Made for TV, 9 Star Movies, Animes, Alien Movies, Surreal Cyberpunk Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 - 1999 by SFAM.

    Comments

    March 25, 2006

    DannyV_El_Acme said:

    AWESOME NEWS! According to Wikipedia, Peter Chung announced he’d do a new Aeon Flux project(not the live action movie, which SUCKED), and rumor is it’s gonna be a full-length animated feature! YEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

    SFAM said:

    Wow! How Cool!

    Here are the relevant parts of the intervew, although I’m not sure where it took place:

    “I won’t do another half-hour series of Aeon Flux for MTV. I’d like to do more with the character, but without the budget, time and content restrictions of a weekly series.

    I can’t say anything about my other projects at this time.”

    Not surprisingly, Chung wasn’t all that effusive in his praise for the live-action movie. In fact, the words upon seeing it were “helpless, humiliated and sad.” Forgetting the other issues, Aeon of the film really is a completely different character, bearing virtually no similarities to the animated version.

    SFAM said:

    Just a follow-up, there’s this TERRIFIC little community on Aeon Flux on LiveJournal called Monican Spies. It has both an interview from Peter Chung AND a response by one of the writers, Phil Hay. Phil is clearly hurt by Peter’s comments, and is especially upset at Peter’s insinuation that Aeon Flux represents a failure of nerve.

    Apparently, the studio truly hosed the version that was intended to be released. This is hardly a surprise, as you really got the feeling when leaving the theatre that this had been chopped pretty hard. One wonders whether the intended version will make it to DVD in April. This is why I’ve held off reviewing it to date - although I may decide to review the TE and DC if there is such a thing.

    March 26, 2006

    Case said:

    ‘Sounds wonderful. I sat horrified with a look of pure terror plastered to my face through the entire running time of the live-action AEON SUX…er…FLUX. It seems animation is the only way to go here…but I still doubt they’ll top the original silent shorts, which are still my favorite.

    SFAM said:

    Hi Case, the original shorts - ALL of them - are included on the DVD set (you may notice a decent number of screencaps that come from them, for instance). Truly, the thing is just a gem. From the commentaries, to the featurettes, to the other extras, this DVD set NEEDS to be owned. And many of the longer episodes are damn good, BTW.

    March 13, 2007

    Crystal said:

    i havent saw this movie but it seems like it would be good. i saw the one they had in theaters but it wasnt really any good.

    SFAM said:

    Hi Crystal, the one in the theaters is virtually nothing like the original animated one. Don’t use that as a yard stick. If you get a chance, the DVD set is well worth the purchase.

    […] Æon Flux a apărut în 1995, ca serial de animaţie (3 sezoane) şi ca bandă desenată, după un story de Peter Chung. Zece […]

    April 28, 2007

    Lex Samoth said:

    I have a question Aeon Flux have 3 dvd set but the last 3th is only pilots, shorts, features, prodution arts also liquid television. this finish or aremore episodes??

    Lex (e)S

    Lex Samoth said:

    I download from here the 3 dvds

    http://torrentreactor.net/view.php?id=921880

    Torrent

    April 29, 2007

    SFAM said:

    Hi Lex, there are no more episodes. And BTW, the DVD set for Aeon Flux is absolutely terrific - one of the best DVD sets out. It’s well worth a purchase. We SHOULD be spending money on high quality cyberpunk products like this.

    October 5, 2007

    JhonTheBest said:

    Hi, Lex, can you tell me if the link you transmited is from china, and how can I open the “.ts” files I see there?

    October 10, 2007

    FJU said:

    I heard Chung may be working on more episodes with the original voice artists in the near future. Some news started leaking out after the movie but it’s tough to get news on this…have searched the web and some forums about AF still have some activity but not much. Does anyone know if Peter Chung has a website (or - gasp - blog?) somewhere out there? Doubtful on the blog of course but I heard he was in negotiations with MTV to produce more episodes or try to buy the rights. I sure as hell hope MTV doesn’t mess it up…I’m sure Chung wouldn’t want to do it MTV’s way, and surely MTV woudln’t air it on their station, so maybe everyone wins here?

    April 25, 2008

    nostrum said:

    I’m sorry but promoting torrent sites on here shouldn’t be allowed, in my opinion.
    Sales of this DVD ultimately encourages the higher-ups to commission more episodes, as it is already known that Peter is interested in revisiting the series. If you do happen to download the torrents, please, consider paying for the real product if you found it enjoyable. It would help out the creators immensely. The last I read was that Peter has gotten the green light on new Æon Flux episodes (he did not mention anything about a feature length, only episodes with little dialogue) but he made no promises, as he is working on multiple projects at the moment. If I happen to come across his post(s) again, I will be sure to post the URL.

    - nostrum

    July 7, 2008

    Dazed and Confused said:

    Dont bother with the torrent unless youre just gonna watch an episode to get a feel for the series. Seeing as how youre already here on cyberpunkreviews then you should definetly grab the DVD as this show is for you!

    July 25, 2008

    MARESALUL said:

    AEON FLUX ar putea fi (cu un succes enorm) si piesa de teatru . Iar lansarea ar putea avea loc fie la Teatrul National Bucuresti, fie la Teatrul Notarra ori la Teatrul Bulandra.

    October 19, 2008

    aye said:

    me encanta esta mina ojala que sigan los dibujits estos que agan la dos de aeoon flux

    i el video juego e slo mas el que la inventio es un genio

    ajaaj
    a demas me gusrta muchio charlize theron

    a-kapa@hotmail.com said:

    edgarcitoo_08@hotmail.com

    entrenn es de argentinaa admiradores de la zaga!!!:]

    Anonymous said:

    y ademas www.fotolog.com/eresunailucion entren i firmen lindo

    November 8, 2008

    David Christiansen said:

    I was able to Peter Chung at an E3 convention that I did some sculpture for prompting Viacom Aeon Flux Vidieo game. He wanted to buy the back light 2′ rotating eyeball 20′ tall tower that I had made, but Viacom said no way.

    http://www.sktc.net/~cgallery/Gallery/MTV%20Aeon%20Flux%20Promotion.JPG

    November 19, 2008

    SFAM said:

    Oh I love that picture, David!

    November 20, 2009

    Winnie said:

    does anyone have any info on if or when the new Aeon Flux episodes are coming out? i’ve been dying to find out and it’s almost 2010! I heart Aeon Flux. ^_^

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