If "Aeon Flux" is what Charlize Theron does to pay the bills while otherwise being engaged in "Monster" and "North Country," it's probably a reasonable price to pay. For her.
For us? No, no, no. Supporting the films of actresses who do good work is one thing. Allowing one's brain to be turned into a Fluffernutter sandwich is something else.
A failure even on the action-adventure, vicarious-butt-kicking level, "Aeon Flux" began life as a series of weird short pieces on MTV's "Liquid Television," morphed into its own series and now has been refigured as an only slightly animated comic book. Karyn Kusama ("Girlfight"), reinforcing the notion that the only thing indie directors really want to do is direct big-budget Hollywood movies (this one a co-production of Paramount and MTV), is far better at creating entrancing still images -- think Calvin Klein commercials or comic panels -- than in making the action work.
Antonioni-esque skies and Fritz Lang-inspired mise-en-scene are all very well and good, but what "Aeon Flux" fans are more likely to be seeking is the weekend's generic slap down, and while Aeon (Theron) has her game on, the filmmaking leaves the viewer unimpressed.
Why? Because the editing is frenetic without focus. Scenes have no center of gravity, and thus you're never viscerally involved.
And the story, which has been gradually imposed upon the Aeon Flux regime since Peter Chung created the captivating, virtually narrative-less early shorts, is trite: 400 years from now, all Earth's people will be clones, because the cure for the disease that wiped out 99% of the population made humans sterile.
Trevor Goodchild (Marton Csokas), who discovered the cure, has a thing with Aeon, who is supposed to kill him but sleeps with him instead. Goodchild is also working to get life off its cloning crutch. Trevor's brother, Oren (Jonny Lee Miller), wants to maintain the status quo. Peter Postlethwaite, looking like a walnut in an egg cup, plays Keeper.
MPAA rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and sexual content
Times guidelines: Adult situations
A Paramount Pictures release. Director Karyn Kusama. Producers Gale Anne Hurd, David Gale, Gary Lucchesi, Greg Goodman, Martha Griffin. Screenplay by Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi, based on characters created by Peter Chung. Director of photography Stuart Dryburgh. Editors Peter Honess, Plummy Tucker, Jeff Gullo. Costume designer Beatrix Aruna Pasztor. Running time:
1 hour, 35 minutes. In general release.
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Preliminary results (in millions) based on studio projections.
*--* Movie 3-day gross Total Harry Potter Goblet of Fire $20.5 $229.8
Aeon Flux 13.1 13.1
Walk the Line 10.0 68.8
Yours, Mine and Ours 8.4 34.6
Just Friends 5.9 21.4
Pride & Prejudice 4.6 22.6
Rent 4.6 23.9
Chicken Little 4.5 124.2
Derailed 2.4 32.8
In the Mix 1.9 8.7
Source: Nielsen EDI Inc.
Los Angeles Times