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Lost Art of Aeon Flux

I have been a long fan of the Aeon Flux animation ever since it was being shown on MTV. The original cartoon backdrop was a bleak future where the citizens of two nations waged war against the other nation. The citizens of the two nations are like clones, because each of them look exactly the same as any other. There is no individualism, except for two characters: Aeon Flux and her older male antagonist. Although the cartoon series concentrated on Aeon Flux, a charismatic anti-hero character, her antagonist counterpart played an equally important role.

There are virtually no dialogs in the show to help explain the environment and the characters in the cartoon, thus enhancing the bleak future society and leaving the viewer to guess at the plot. The show Aeon Flux has always been mysterious and intriguing. In a way, it was more art form than a TV show. Due to this art form characteristic, Aeon Flux had a fairly popular cult following, but not a mainstream success.

When I heard about an Aeon Flux movie being made last year, I was naturally very excited. While waiting for the completion of this movie, I kept my fingers crossed that the producers and the director will be faithful to the original theme. Will they kept its art form characteristics or will they completely change the backdrop?

Several months ago, I have read somewhere that they had changed Aeon Flux's custom slightly for the movie. Although the Aeou Flux's original custom is sexy, the custom department probably had a hard time making it in real life. I was a little disappointed, but I can bear with it. I was still anticipating that the movie is going to be great.

Now that the Aeon Flux movie is finally done and scheduled for release today, I had a chance to preview its trailer on TV. I didn't get very excited from the trailer. Although the trailer was intriguing, I couldn't quite relate to the movie. After thinking about it for a while, I realize why I feel so distant from the movie trailer. The scenes selected for the trailers were shot on highly color-saturated film, under bright sunlight, and under a beautiful blue sky. It doesn't seem so bleak to me. Perhaps, if the director had decided to use a de-saturated film, shoot in moody cloudy conditions, and utilized dark contrast, it would seem more like the bleak future of Aeon Flux.

Next, the trailer had a short section where one woman was explaining the situation to another man. She said that Aeon Flux is coming back for revenge. Come on! In the Aeon Flux cartoon, there was no character or narration that explained the plot! Will this explanation ruin the mysterious Aeon Flux plot? I think so. Part of the art form was to guess at the plot, especially with all the distorted reality and character behaviors that don't quite speak for themselves. By explaining things away, it's just going to be another action flick.

Third, in the trailer, there was a scene with many people walking around. The people seem to be unique individuals. If you recall, the characters in the Aeon Flux cartoon are clones. Other than Aeon Flux, herself, and her antagonist being different, everyone else look exactly the same. The movie once again made a deviation from the original concept. Although this change brings the movie closer to today's society, but it sure doesn't make as a strong statement as the animation did.

With all these changes, will the movie feel like the cartoon? I don't know without actually seeing the movie. I think I will be disappointed. It seems that rather than continuing the art form that was well received by the cult following, the director and producers have decided to tone it down and aimed to produce a multi-million dollars blockbuster action flick. It's too bad, because we already have tons of those in Hollywood. What we needed is an Aeon Flux science fiction movie that makes the same strong statement as its animation.

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 2 Dec 2005 11:10:47 -0800

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