Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Aeon Flux (1995)

“Aeon Flux.” It’s an animated show, created by MTV in the mid-nineties, and stars Aeon Flux. If you have watched the movie of the same name, also created by MTV, you might think you know what to expect – a stylish movie with little substance behind it. However, the television series is somewhat different. It attempts to be intelligent, but most of these attempts come of as nothing more than pretentious and incoherent ramblings. However, several times in the series, put forward something both original and surprising. Yes, I wrote the words original and surprising for an MTV show. I’ll be getting to that in a moment.

Aeon Flux is a terrorist capable of performing superhuman feats, such as long-distance sharpshooting, aerobatic tricks, or whatever is required to progress the story forward. Why she is capable of all of these things, like much of the rest of the show, is not really explained or examined. It’s mainly an excuse for Aeon to do cool things, wear a variety of cool leather outfits that leave little to the imagination, and get into a variety of fights. Against Aeon is Trevor Goodchild, the evil fellow of the series. He’s bent on forcing the rest of the world to be good, using a variety of contrived artificial means to do so. Aeon wants everyone to be able to make their own choices. The entire series is about the conflict between the two, and the over-arching conflict between being forced to be good, and choice, even if this choice is not beneficial. However, there is little that is new nothing new in this regard.

There are a plethora of problems that deserve discussion. When the stories attempt to be anything more than the contrived conflict between Aeon and Trevor, make little sense. It’s odd to say the least; I don’t see why an MTV show would be unclear in what it is saying, and I don’t think it is because it is a show trying to be subtle or multi-faceted. Some of the episodes lack clarity in their resolution, too - one episode has Aeon trapped in some paralysing goo, unable to move, yet is completely free of this problem without any explanation as to how she escaped in the next episode. Consistency and logic are both major problems for this series. The love-hate relationship between Trevor Goodchild and Aeon Flux makes no sense whatsoever. Trevor is either coming up with some dastardly complex scheme to capture Aeon Flux, fighting her, or attempt to make out with her, and a somewhat similar trio of thoughts are on Aeon’s mind. Their feelings towards each other are somewhat confused, but not as confused as I was when trying to figure out some of the shows in the series.

However, it’s not a complete loss as a series. The animation is not overly bad, although it lacks the artistry and detail of some of the better animated shows that I have seen. In a superficial manner, it is somewhat exciting – there are plenty of fights waged in a variety of ways, lots of gunfire, lots of explosions, and all of that silliness. And, if animated soft porn appeals, Aeon usually manages to sleep with at least one character in each episode.

At the start of the review, I said that occasionally, “Aeon Flux” actually does something surprising and original. I’m not joking. “Episode 2: Thanatophobia” had an excellent ending – quite a few seemingly irrelevant scenes in the show had built up to the conclusion. In fact, after watching that show, I had wondered if my dismissive initial impressions of the show were correct. “Episode 6: Demiurge” had eternal villain Trevor Goodchild trying to use the powers of a God to control people’s behaviour. It’s a good idea, although it was not particularly well-delivered. “Episode 9: Chronophasia” has Aeon Flux continually looping back to a particular point in time, trying to tackle a difficult situation. The story was quite difficult to follow, like every other show in the series, but the confusion felt that it actually belonged to this episode. Although the occurrence of these good ideas warrant discussion, they are poorly delivered, poorly executed, and far too sporadic to save the series from being rubbish, for the most part.

For the most part, “Aeon Flux” looks cool, but there’s little inside – MTV apparently knows something about style over substance. In spite of the occasional attempt towards intelligent ideas, for the most part, the series fails. I can’t recommend the series at all, which is sad to say when it seems that with more work (a lot more), it could have been both an intelligent and exciting show. 1.5/5.


Wow Gold said...

Interesting blog. I liked it.

Taco said...

You completely missed most of the points and story of Aeon flux

Anonymous said...

The ambiguity of the show is an example of substance. Your characterization of MTV shows posits that they leave little room for thought to be applied to the material. Aeon Flux is the opposite. It would be a typical MTV if everything was overly clear and left no room for speculation. Also, Peter Chung's animation is spectacular, especially in its reflection of the work of Egon Schiele.