Why A Utopia Wouldn’t Work – Æon Flux

12 02 2014

Aeon Flux (MTV FIlms - 2005)

A perfect life, that’s what everyone thinks of a Utopia as. A place where is no hate, or crime, or murder. It’s the kind of life, and civilization that everyone would want to be a part of (except possibly a dictator). But, how would you know that life is actually like that, how would you know that everything was fine. What is to say that while life would be great, that deep down, in control, the civilisation was being run by a cruel dictatorship, or something else more horrifying was at work, just like in Aeon Flux.

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Aeon Flux (or Æon Flux as the poster title reads) is a 2005 film directed by Karyn Kusama, starring Charlize Theron and Marton Csokas. Produced by MTV Films and Lakeshore Entertainment in collaboration with Paramount, the film is based on a series of animated films by Peter Chung from the 1990’s shown on MTV also called Aeon Flux.

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The film opens with a setting stating that in 2011 Ninety Nine percent of the world’s population had been killed by a pathogenic virus (It’s now 2014, so I think we’re safe). A cure was later found by scientist Trevor Goodchild. The remains of humanity live in peace on the last city on earth, Bregna and the Goodchild dynasty of scientists, rules for 400 years. The Relico is built; a Giant Zeppelin or Dirigible like thing that travels through the sky of Bregna to pay tribute to those who had died. But life, while idyllic, has problems. People keep disappearing, unexplained, and everyone suffers from bad dreams. Not wanting to be ruled by The Goodchild’s anymore, a resistant group known as the Monicans aim to bring them down. Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) is one of them. She receives information from The Handler (Frances McDormand) through telepathic technology, and is asked to take down their surveillance equipment, meaning that she can’t have dinner at her sister Una’s (Amelia Warner) house. Aeon takes down the surveillance station with ease before going to her sister’s house, to find her dead, because the police thought she was a Monican.

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Aeon is given a new mission, to kill Goodchild. She arrives at the limit of the parliament area and is meth by Sithandra (Sophie Okonedo) who has hands instead of feet. Through great athleticism they are able to bypass the security measures and reach the building. Inside, Aeon creates some metallic pebbles from her ring and places them on the floor around her. In the parliament meanwhile Trevor Goodchild (Marton Csokas) is leading a meeting of those in charge with his brother Oren (Jonny Lee Miller) and someone called Giroux (Paterson Joseph). They discuss the Monican threat before Trevor goes off to prepare a speech. Aeon finds him and is about to kill him, when Trevor calls her Katherine. Aeon stalls before being knocked out. Aeon wakes up in a cell and is met by Trevor. Aeon asks about the name that he called him, and flashbacks come to her of them meeting before somewhere, but she can’t remember it. She is offered some water, but she takes a sample of it before whistling through a hole in the ventilation system, this causes the pebbles she dropped to turn into ball bearings, which go to her cell and blow a hole in the wall. She escapes, but when she goes to see Una’s ex Claudius (Nikolai Kinski) he tells her, that the liquid is a message. Aeon sees the message, it’s from Trevor. She goes to see him, and blames him for her sister’s death, even though he states he knows nothing about it. Memories return to her of him and her, and instead of killing him, makes love to him.

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Aeon wakes up to find Trevor gone, she quickly dresses and heads into his study, where she finds some kind of teleportation harness. Using it she finds his Laboratory, and a picture of herself hidden in it. She has a brief encounter with Trevor’s assistant Freya (Caroline Chikezie) before escaping. While listening to Goodchild’s notes that she stole, she hears her sister’s name and says he needs to make a visit to the Relico. Sithandra returns and threatens to kill Aeon for failing in her mission. Aeon, tries talking to her, before knocking her down and tying her up. Aeon goes to the Relico and finds a system of high-tech computers run by some mysterious, ghostly figure known as the Keeper (Pete Postlethwaite) who greets her. Using the system she finds out that her sister Una has been reborn as someone else. Trevor’s fling with Aeon has been discovered and is considered as a criminal, he though finds Aeon at a stranger’s house, whose new baby is actually Una. Trevor tells Aeon that the cure for the disease 400 years previously had a side effect which meant that only one new generation could be born. Since then the entire human race has survived on Cloning. When someone dies, nine months later they are reborn under a new identity and the Relico was built to conceal this from everyone else. However Trevor has tried to cure this problem, all of his other tests were unlucky, but Una became pregnant on her own, but was killed by Oren because he wants to live forever.

The Monicans declare Aeon a traitor and go to rescue Sithandra. Oren kills Claudius and then his soldiers go to attempt to kill Aeon and Trevor. They both manage to flee through the city streets and the underground railway system. Trevor attempts to retrieve his research notes, but his lab is destroyed. Aeon says that they need to destroy the Relico so that humanity can continue. The two of them get cornered in a pincer between the Monicans and Oren’s soldiers. Oren tells Trevor that he wanted to get rid of Aeon’s original DNA to keep his mind on track and says that it was not just Una that got pregnant, but others have outside the test’s and he had them killed to keep the regime going. Aeon convinces the Monicans to ignore the Handler, and they help Aeon. Oren is killed in the action but not before he kills all the Monicans. Trevor is met by Giroux who states that they are not Anarchists and give rule back to Trevor. Aeon goes to the Relico and meets with the keeper who states it was him who kept her DNA, knowing that she was needed. Aeon destroys the Relico, and it crashes into the City wall exposing the city to the plant life beyond instead of the wasteland they people were told of. A final scene shows Aeon and Trevor back before the virus, seeing each other for the last time in Paris before the recent events.

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The world of Aeon flux is amazingly and beautifully constructed. The city looks like a modern metropolis with essences of beauty. The lights and colours that are shown, particularly during the night sequences are absolutely beautiful, when you watch this film, you sometimes need to look in the corner of your eye or screen to enjoy them, but it’s worth it. If it was a real city, I would love to visit it. Other areas of the world such as the style of clothing look more like regal dresses from Victorian times; just more advanced in years. The technology of the world is another point as its smaller showing the advancement of technology as time passes, but it still has that appealing look of it, so it’s not alien despite its curiosity. There is also an element of nature about it all, such as the use of raindrops as surveillance, and, trees with pods as turrets.

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It is interesting to see how the civilization is run. The government is a group of scientists, so they are taking things seriously as to how they survive and talk with reason (or some where Oren is concerned). It looks a lot like the Ancient Japanese Emperor God system where the leaders of the country were revered by the people, but hardly (if at all) seen. The Relico is a nice touch, it has this curios appeal about it, but as the people are suppressed into what it really is, the mystery evaporates, but you sort of know that there is more to it than that.

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Aeon Flux’s cast are a mix of almost hit and misses with some people standing out and others feeling more like fillers. Those that do stand out, and stand out well are brilliant in the parts they play. Paterson Joseph for instance leads a strong part and when he is on-screen, you get a brilliantly played part, which is a character you wish you could see more of. His character is that of more of a voice of reason for the integrity of the society, and while he does have his own strong opinions as to the current situation, he has great respect and understanding for Trevor Goodchild. In a perfect world, it should be him in charge instead of Oren when he takes over. Sithandra meanwhile, is an interesting character as in she is an assassin much like Aeon, but seems to be more wild in her approach if somewhat single-minded. Una, in my opinion, should have had more of a part in the film. While she is necessary to die for the drive of Aeon, there should have been more of an appearance to begin with so that the audience could connect more with both Aeon and Una’s death. It’s also great to see Pete Postlethwaite in action. While his part in this is very odd to say the least, he plays it well and is an example of how diverse an actor he was.

Pete Postlethwaite, Sophie Okonedo, Amelia Warner and Paterson Joseph

Charlize Theron is a great Action Hero. Her part suffers from the death of her sister, but is still able to do her duty. She takes a third person view of the world, seeing it as she sees it and as a result can tell that everything isn’t as it seems, while others would probably not see it. it is due to this that makes her mind vulnerable to Trevor, as she gets repeated flashbacks to him. While the athleticism part of the role can be overdone in some sections, it is different to what others might do such as maybe James Bond who doesn’t have that kind of athleticism, she still has gadgets though. Her dark look is also one of her more key points as it makes her stand out to the viewer as to what she is, she has a dark demeanour but this could be related to something in her past perhaps, something yet to be explored, but is good at keeping it and herself hidden, like a true assassin. I look forward to the possibility of her playing roles like this in the future (maybe a part in a possible sequel to SALT).

Charlize Theron

Marton Csokas is one of the finest and most diverse actors of the last decade, easily one of the best around today. His character is seen by the Monicans as the harsh ruler, but generally he is a nice person with his mind focused on what needs to be done for the world to continue. He can see the problems, and he tries to raise the issue to the others but finds it hard not to be swayed by his brother. His love for Aeon though keeps him going, gives him hope, and that keeps his drive going, the hope that he might see her again. An enjoyable character played by an amazing actor.

Marton Csokas

Aeon Flux’s soundtrack (produced by Graeme Revell) is a bizarre mix of ballads and techno. During some of the faster sequences such as action or a chase, you would have this fast paced techno style of music. The music works for those scenes, but it’s weird that the pieces change from them to these sweeping, sometime romping but pleasant ballads. While some of these rack up the tension as they go, most of the time you don’t notice them, well, until the end of the film during the credits. Some of The Prodigy wouldn’t go a miss though.

While the film does find itself hard to get going in the beginning, once you get to about halfway through, it keeps going at a pace that works well. I do think though that Trevor Goodchild is revealed a bit too soon, and should be first seen when Aeon finds him, gives a sense of surprise as to who he is instead of going behind the scenes. Some of the film also feels a bit rushed going from point A to point G in a short amount of time. If the film was just a little bit longer it could compensate this quite easily meaning that it would be more of an enjoyable experience for everyone, enjoying the scenario, setting and characters that little bit more. One of its more confusing parts is, it’s spread of time, as Una is killed but instead of taking nine months to be born, is born the next day, seemingly. While I have heard people describe this film of being mad, to which it is in some places, it is a thoroughly enjoyable action film with essences of conspiracy throughout, and when these are revealed, it’s only just a scratch, and the amount of chaos that ensues because of this is well presented as in, this is what will most likely happen if Anarchy suddenly ensued in a perfect society. So while to the eye it may look very bizarre, Aeon Flux is an amazing action film, with a good cast, interesting music, and a beautiful setting.

GENEPOOL

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