Friday, August 26, 2005

Tagline of the Week: Courtesy of Aeon Flux

A few years ago I met film director Karyn Kusama at the HBO Latino Film Festival. Her first feature film, Girlfight, starring Michelle Rodriguez, was premiering there, and at the time I was just a lowly intern tagging along with my boss, who was out scouting for new talent.
I was struck, not only by the subject matter of the script (Kusama wrote the film as well) but with the gritty and realistic style of her direction. Here was a female director who had chops, and who exhibited a talent to do film that wasn’t just a sappy romantic comedy or an anthem to anorexia. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Girlfight was a movie about a young woman who wanted to be a boxer. Kusama created a protagonist, who was complete and multi-facited, not just a characiture obsessed with men, beauty or money. Sure those things were all touched upon within the film, but Girlfight’s story really centered on a positive, balanced, feminine strength, and I liked that alot.

After the film when Kusama was talking to my boss, she mentioned that her next film was a science fiction film. That was back in 2000, and I remember keeping my eye out for her next feature.

Cut to Aeon Flux.

Aeon Flux is based on an original animated series that ran on MTV in ‘95, and was created by Peter Chung. Originally conceived as a series of short films, it gained such popularity that the creative team began to produce proper full length episodes, but were never picked up for a second season. I never saw the show myself, but I heard it had the appearence of a comic book come to life, with a very unique style of animation, defying catagorization as either Anime or other commercial 2-D that ran on TV at the time. The show took place in the future, and centered on title character, Aeon Flux, who was a towering spindly thing serving as a secret agent and doling out justice in the form of death.

Apparently in development for quite sometime, the trailer for the feature film release just hit the Apple website the other day. I must confess, I’m not sure what to make of it. On first glance I am definitely impressed by the minimalist, yet visually striking art direction. If reminds me a little of Julie Taymor’s desgin for the film Titus. IMDB does not have the full crew credits posted yet for Aeon Flux, but I’m really curious to see if they have some of the same art directors in common, because there’s something about the look of the two films that is synonymous. I really like that shot of that structure floating in the sky that looks like a dirigible, and I’m always a sucker for that futuristic, stark utopianesque architecture that the buildings shown in the trailer all have. But check out Charlize Theron’s voiceover, (she plays the title role of Aeon Flux).

“We are in the last city on earth, some call it the perfect society, but others know better.... Government control is total, people disappear as though they never existed. But there are rebels, that believe in freedom, and who fight in the name of the disappeared... I am one of them.”

So immediately I’m thinking --oh, its The Island meets V for Vendetta, with a little Matrix thrown in for good measure. I am always excited for the next sci-fi flick to come out, and I’m all for female assasins, but this story concept feels fairly tired. I mean, we’ve all seen some permutation of this before. Obviously all stories are just the same few themes and scenarios visited over and over again with different contexts, and it could just be unfortunate timing for the release of this movie. (Funny, how we’re so forgiving of recycling concepts, when its been a little while since the last one.) But even I, who would love to see a movie of the science fiction genre released every other weekend, am thinking, really? Another one? Maybe its that Charlize reeks a little bit too much of Trinity --(I don’t know how I feel about that black hair on her either --its bizarre looking, but maybe that’s the point.) or maybe its just that the trailer makes the plot seem impossibly vague -- but as much as I want to love this trailer, I’m, as they say, not feeling it.

It’s not anything in particular either. I am fairly indifferent to Charlize Theron as an actress, I never saw Monster, though I thought she was fine in the films I have seen her in, (The Astronaut’s Wife, The Cider House Rules, and The Legend of Bagger Vance --an eclectic assortment from her resume I realize). But besides the fact that I think she looks better as a blonde, I can’t really pin point any reason why she shouldn’t put forth another fine performance as assasin Aeon Flux. Frances McDormand is awesome, and seeing her on a cast list is always a good sign, though its hard to tell how big her role in the film actually is based off the trailer. Then there’s that Marton Csokas, who plays Trevor Goodchild, and appears to be the heavy in Aeon Flux, was a bit of a ham in Kingdom of Heaven, and there’s not really any indication that he will be any different in this pic.

Flying through the air, razor sharp blades of grass, and marbles that you can command at will to explode things? I’m game for all of those things, but there’s just nothing about this trailer that really pulls me in and sells me on it. Writing team Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay who wrote the screenplay based off Peter Chung’s characters, are fairly new on the scene, and this is their first science fiction film --their previous cedits are Crazy/Beautiful and The Tuxedo, neither of which I’ve seen. Most of my hopes for this film are riding on my admiration for director Karyn Kusama, I’d love it if this wasn’t just a sophmore slump for her.

As for the tagline, I get what they’re going for --but it doesn’t really make sense. I think what they mean is, the future is changing (fluctuating). But the phrase they chose is:

“The Future is Flux”



Anonymous Anonymous said...

unfortunately this was probably greenlit way before a lot of other similar sci-fi films were even written, so instead of it being fresh and new, it comes out looking like a clone...the scourge of Hollywood

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Akira said...

nice banner.. :)

8:30 AM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Yes it is unfortunate isn't it, so much of it seems to be in the timing...

3:35 PM  
Blogger Elliot said...

This looks pretty bloody awful - especially compared to the original cartoon.

3:36 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Yes, I never saw the original cartoon, though heard it looked quite fetching...

8:17 AM  

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