Yes, I know. Æon Flux is not a very popular film. It’s got a Metacritic score of 36, which – since they’ve now started rating people as well as things – drags down the score of Charlize Theron and Marton Csokas, neither of whom ought to be terribly worried since they have some high-scoring films under their belts. It will also ruin the reputations of Jonny Lee Miller and director Karyn Kasuma, who will probably be a bit more concerned given their patchier CVs. What’s really unfair is that Æon Flux isn’t a very bad film at all.
It’s no masterpiece by any stretch – the “Equilibrium – female version” comment on Youtube is a tad ambitious. It’s just a lot better than 3.6/10. It’s a thoroughly entertaining B-movie; an engaging sort of average.
Do you remember the old cartoon series?
That’s pretty much it, though it does of course take some liberties with its source material. I wouldn’t, like Peter Chung, call it a “travesty”, though – more like a typical Hollywood take on a cult item.
So it takes this very weird, slightly perverse Korean MTV animation and turns it into something that’s considerably better than Babylon AD but not quite as cheesily terrific as The Chronicles of Riddick. The top-knotch cast are all very able, of course (though purists will complain about Celeborn-from-LOTR‘s portrayal of Trevor), and the script and story are intriguing enough to stop you getting bored. I suppose it’s like Logan’s Run, only the sort of Logan’s Run that has Frances McDormand in it.
Inevitably, some of the action scenes are a tad anticlimactic, but I could say the same for Underworld, which is at least widely revered as a passably diverting bit of fluff. At least I don’t remember actually laughing out loud at the dialogue in this one.
If this all sounds like damning it with faint praise, that’s really not the intention. It just bewilders me that this gets 10% on Rotten Tomatoes when much worse films get much better ratings. “Aeon Flux is not that terrible,” writes David Edelstein for Slate. “It’s certainly more fun than a lot of films that get lovingly showcased.”
That’s the thing about aggregate sites: if you throw enough critics into the mix, you’ll eventually find one you agree with.