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Paparelli's Movie Reviews
Well, it's just, like... my opinion, man

Aeon Flux

Friday, March 03, 2006

year: 2005
directed by: Karyn Kusama
written by: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi & Peter Chung (characters)
notable cast: Charlize Theron, Marton Csokas, Jonny Lee Miller

Paparelli's rating: [0 = worst, **** = best]

Generally I like science-fiction and futuristic movies because they allow the story to take place in a different world. That way it's possible to explore different circumstances. Besides that, I think it's fun to fantasize about how the future may be.

Perhaps this interest in sci-fi explains my disappointment when I saw Aeon Flux. I had expected a Matrix-calibre movie judging from the trailers shown in the theatre, but it was nothing like that.

The main problem is that the characters have no depth, no history and no personality. They do have on paper, and their history will be explained as the story unfolds. But it will be nothing more than lists of events and facts mentioned in dialogue by other characters. If a part of the story is supposed to be dramatic, don't just tell me about it. Movies should be about experience. I want to see things happen and feel my own emotions bubble up.

The art and styling is often impressive and the movie has some very beautiful shots, mainly in the first third, but this seems to be less of a focus point as the telling of the story needs more attention later on in the movie. This inconsequence actually breaks the style a bit. I feel there could have been more elaborate images in the latter half and that it might have improved the continuity and appeal of the movie.

The story was too simple and predictable for my taste. There were so many elements that directly stem from other sci-fi movies and tv shows, but still were very clumsily worked out. Also, the real drama in the story lies in the past. So the best part of it all is actually not shown in the movie, but (again) told on screen through character dialogue. I would much rather have seen a movie about the events that led to the situation the people in this movie are in.

I wouldn't mind a futuristic movie with a meagre storyline and flat characters if the art, photography, effects are super cool. That's why I love the Matrix. But unfortunatley the poor quality of the dialogue eventually tears Aeon Flux to shreads. All benefit of the doubt fades in the second part, when dialogue becomes more important in order to explain the story. There it shows how crude and unnatural the lines really are.

I imagine it must be tough for even the most accomplished actors to make some of those lines sound well. Commenting about acting would be a bit unfair, although it was interesting to see how Pete Postlethwaite did manage to make an impression in his very short appearance.


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