We were geeks AEons ago.

A few of us checked out AEon Flux last night. I'll go out on a limb and guess most of this audience watched Liquid Television at some point in their lives. For those who haven't, MTV, back when it was slightly redeemable, ran a late night showing of avant-garde cartoons that smacked of anime, rather than Merry Melodies. To members of my young generation, Liquid Television was a window into the surreal world of Adult, where cartoons weren't funny and just didn't make sense.

AEon Flux is the only show that sticks out in my mind, for one reason above all: a hot chick ran around wearing next to nothing, killing stuff wantonly. Hey, I was 13. And I'll be honest, the show didn't offer much more than that. There was a plot, but unless you were able to tune in weekly, you weren't going to notice. So much of the story was unspoken, and on top of that, you were forced to recall stuff that happened three episodes ago, just to understand the obscure dialog. In the days before season-long DVD releases, AEon Flux demanded too much from my pubescent mind. It's not that it was a bad show, it just tried to do too much I might not have been ready for.

So, going into the theater with this retrospection fresh in mind, I didn't quite know what to expect. But I definitely wasn't counting on what the movie gave us, and that alone made it worth the $8.25.

In case you've been under a rock (or you're like me and don't have cable), Charlize Theron plays AEon, a terrorist operative trying to destroy a futuristic government that oppresses its citizenry for the reasons oppressive governments do things. Blah blah blah. It's not as good as Equilibrium's take on the idea, but AEon Flux goes in a different and equally unique direction with the standard futuristic plot device, even if it's not as appreciable. But the action is definitely good, and there's no lack of it.

I think the first person dies five minutes in - just as Theron's monolog explaining that we are, in fact, in the future and a plague killed 99% of humanity 400 years ago wraps up. Long before we really get much of a feel for Theron's character, or what the hell's going on, we're propelled into an action scene where she and a woman with hands for feet are infiltrating a government base, where even the picturesque garden separating it from the rest of the world is a defensive weapon. It was awesome, but I didn't really know who Four Hands was; she and Theron spoke about six lines before they started flipping and rolling and climbing through the base's defenses. "Oh, it's going to be that type of movie," I thought. "Let's just settle in for a good action flick and pray for explosions." Right about then, my brain shut off. And that's when AEon Flux struck.

It was a beautiful bait-and-switch. I have to give writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi credit. At the very moment I thought I was in a generic rip-off of a bad, yet unforgettable TV show, the plot came forth and charged headlong into that magical realm we refer to as "interesting." I'll go as far to say I wasn't able to predict where they were going until they got there, and that alone means something.

AEon Flux isn't a great movie, but it's a good one. And it's yet another positive step in the right direction for sci-fi and fantasy movies, in general. In a genre previously labeled "geeky," things are getting better. Oscar winners are playing stone killers from the future. Money is being spent, here. Trendy people were in the audience, along with the smelly anime geeks sitting in the front row. It's more of the same, folks: They're onto us, and they're finally understanding what it is they're missing.

I remember leaving the first Lord of the Rings movie, seeing a girl in a few of my classes in high school. When I said hello and mentioned what movie I saw, she laughed and commented on how "dorky" the movies were. But by the time the second installment came out, pop culture took hold and sunk in its teeth. She sat next to me on opening night.

This is only going to get better.

Original Comment by: Tim
http://oghc.blogspot.com
Joe, of all the things I remember about Aeon Flux, I remember the dude with a wicked tongue and the fly on her eyelashes that haunted my nightmares at the beginning. That pretty much summed up MTV for me back in the day. Well, that and an young and frisky John Stewart.

Now if I can only scrounge together $7.50 for a matinee ticket and some popcorn, I'll be gold. man.

Gold.

Oh, DUDE. I went for Charlize, I stayed for the fly. You'll be pleasantly surprised, I hope.

And sweet Jesus. $7.50 for a matinee? Where do you live?

Original Comment by: Tim
http://oghc.blogspot.com
It's great! $5.00 for the ticket, $2.50 for the popcorn, I sneak a can of soda in my pocket.

It's what we get for living in the middle of nowhere.

Cheap tickets.

I was not surprised to see this movie far surpass the pitiful reviews it received. It was stylistic and entertaining through every moment. It was even nice to see a refreshing 90-ish minute runtime filled with fun and action, rather than pushing to 120 with a bunch of droll dialog, introspectives or other such non-action-film drivel. As Joe said, the story definitely leaves you guessing throughout, unlike so many of the formulaic sci-fi action films to which this film was sadly compared as "yet another."

I imagine I will be going to see more and more panned films, given that my recent adventures into seeing them despite critical jeers has proved quite rewarding.

I was also very happy to see that Wilhelm makes an appearance, and I made sure to update the wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_using_the_Wilhelm_scream) accordingly. Keep an ear out.

Original Comment by: Jason

""I remember leaving the first Lord of the Rings movie, seeing a girl in a few of my classes in high school. When I said hello and mentioned what movie I saw, she laughed and commented on how "dorky" the movies were. But by the time the second installment came out, pop culture took hold and sunk in its teeth. She sat next to me on opening night.

This is only going to get better"

But does it not worry you that the same thing that happens to all subcultures will happen to geek culture? Things only become popular through-dumbing down.

Original Comment by: Brinstar
http://acidforblood.blogspot.com/
When I told one of my friends that I was going to see this film, his immediate reaction was, "Looks wank", probably on the basis that it just looks like one of 'those' films -- the sci-fi films that appear full of promise, but which only let you down in the end. Those flms leave you asking the people involved, "What were you thinking?" However, I had faith in Charlize Theron's ability to pick good roles, having seen her in Monster. The AEon Flux animated series was just as unintelligible and hazy for me as it seems to be for you, Joe. And like you, I was pleasantly surprised that the film wasn't crap at all. I really enjoyed it.

Original Comment by: Randall Fitzgerald
http://www.ikimashou.net
I remember Liquid Television, but not as well as I remmeber MTV's Oddities.

The Maxx? The Head? Man those shows were awesome! Where is a The Maxx movie?

Oh, God! I remember Oddities. They had a freak show for a while, too, didn't they? All I remember from that is a girl with more piercings than a tribal shaman, and a guy who stretched a condom around his head, which he then inflated with his nose.

Why did we watch this, again?

Original Comment by: Randall Fitzgerald
http://www.ikimashou.net
I think we watched it because it was the best thing on between 12AM and 3AM during that particular era.

The show was called Oddville, I think. I remember an episode with the Whirling Dervish. He just spun in the background for the entire episode and occasionally they would turn to him and ask if he was doing ok, to which he would just spin. I'd sort of forget he was back there a few times while the other stuff was going on then I'd just be like "What the hell is that... oh yeaaah. Whirly whirly woo!" Of course, Whirly whirly woo being what I imagine is the battle cry of that particular sort of dervish.

Original Comment by: David Graham
http://manofconstantsorrow.blogspot.com
Ha yeah I remember all this stuff, The Maxx, The Head, I think out of all of them I liked The Head the best probably because I saw more episodes of that than anything else, I think I caught half an episode of The Maxx and only a couple of Aeon Flux. My take on the movie was the same as everyone elses, it was either going to be sort of decent or typical hollywood action movie slock, I'll have to go see it now since it sounds like it might be decent.

 

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