Aeon Flux (Blu-Ray)

Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
The image of Aeon Flux (aka Charlize Theron) on the cover, twisted sexily in her tight fitting superheroesque apparatus, is a cool photo, no doubt. It’s not very exciting though. It’s simple and eye catching, that’s about it. If I had more testosterone in my body I’m sure I would appreciate it even more, but I don’t, so I don’t. I would like to have seen a bit more of the amazing artistic design that fills every frame of the movie. A sexy leading lady is nice eye candy, but with a film as visually decadent as Aeon Flux it would be nice to have seen that reflected on the cover. Especially on the Blu-Ray cover a nod to commemorate this new advance in home theater film watching would have been nice.

The HD menu is ok, but doesn’t have much personality. The basic blue futuristic slick looking design is functional, but lacking a certain pizzazz I’m looking for in this age of new fangled Blu-Ray Disc. The possibilities are there, ready and waiting. The HD format is so cool and has such potential. You can pull up the menu at any time during the movie as it glides and slides the way we are used to now with so many flashy websites and computer applications that take advantage of more dynamic interfaces. This movie is so over the top with groovy architecture and shapes and over all design, it would have been nice to have that same feisty attitude in the menu. Better luck next time.

Features: 8/10

  • Commentary By Producer Gale Anne Hurd & Charlize Theron – You’re gonna have to listen to these commentaries to find out what they are all about. I didn’t have a chance to listen to them. I’m glad they are added to the disc, and I appreciate the effort. I will listen next time I watch the movie, I promise.
  • Commentary By Co-writers Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi – Ditto to the above 😛
  • Creating a world Featurette – These are all fairly detailed extras that are highly produced for sure, but even with the kind of commercial quality they do show a lot of how this exciting little flick was made. This feature covers how they took the cult favorite Aeon Flux animation and converted it to a live action film. You get to see brief interviews with the creator of Aeon Flux, along with the writers and director. It’s a good bit of information crammed into such a small short. Well done.
  • The Locations Featurette – This one is pretty much like the first feature, but it covers the process of finding a country to film in, along with how they translated all the amazing art from the animated series into “real life” locations. After they decided on Germany as their filming location, they rewrote scenes and even story elements to work around the incredible locations they found.
  • The Stunts Featurette – How did Ms. Theron learn to do all those moves? Three months of training and lots of hanging around on ropes and cables, that’s how. She does 95% of her stunts, which is pretty cool considering that about every 7 seconds in the film there’s another jump, fight, or extreme body movement that has to be done. No wonder movies cost to much to make, they have to pay for all that training. Why not just PRETEND you can do all that stuff like they did in the olden days? That’s why they call it acting folks.
  • The Costume Design Featurette – Every DVD should have a costume extra. I really enjoy seeing the people behind all those clothes. With a story like Aeon Flux the clothes set a certain tone, put us in a time frame, make us believe in what we are seeing. The lead costume designer gives us a tour and explains why and how the look came to be what it is in the film. Making the world of a future utopian city look familiar yet removed from current fashion trends was a challenge met with a simple plan. They went back to the 40’s and gave that era’s look a twist. We also learn how they had to adapt the stylings of the original animation into a more practical look and function for live action. Unfortunately, the details of costume design are often lost while you are watching a movie. When you see how they did small things like drape stockings over period shoes to give them a bizarre but more convincingly future look, and the true craftsmanship behind each stitch, you will have a new appreciation for all the effort and work that goes into this important ingredient in movie making. So, when you watch the movie again you will notice those details. A lot of costume extras are not so interesting or well produced, but I give credit where credit is due and this is a good one.
  • The Craft Of The Set Photographer Featurette – I kind of did my normal pissing and moaning about how boring and blasé the cover is, but how not-so-stunning the image might have been, I have more appreciation for it now that I’ve seen this little DVD extras. I’ve been brainwashed into almost liking the cover. They introduce the set photographer showing just how many photos he takes during production. He doesn’t just take boring old shots of the stars looking pretty. He has an artist’s eye using the elements of the sets and trying more innovative points of view than just standing behind the cinematographer. He’s in love with his equipment (eh hem, camera, lenses and stuff like that) and that’s a cool thing to learn about someone like an on set photographer. He’s one more person in the movie making process we don’t usually have access to.
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD) – I should stop saying that trailers are not real extras, but I can’t. They are not an EXTRA. It’s nice to have trailers archived on DVD’s, yes. I like seeing ones I haven’t seen before, but it’s not an EXTRA any more than the movie is.

Video & Audio (By Ascully): 8/10
As with last weeks HD DVD review the picture quality on Aeon Flux is simply breathtaking. Sourced from the original film stock and converted to a 1080P image, Aeon is one of the best showcases for this new format. Some of the scenes literally pop off the screen. Take the scene with Aeon and friend traversing the evil garden that separates the two parts of the city. Once the razor sharp blades of grass appear you see the detail on each blade.

Audio is also handled with style as the new DTS track is mixed with high end sound systems in mind, and like Sky Captain, features a whole lot of LFE. (watch ya bass bins I’m tellin ya) Obscure techno tune references aside, this is a movie you will want to turn up loud.

The Movie: 7/10
400 years in the future and women still wear high heels and tight vinyl body suits. Progress. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying. This vision of the future is a mix of ultra slick polished perfection with a comfy cozy idealized memory of our past. The story is set in a city, THE only city left on the planet after a devastating virus wipes out 95% of the population. It’s a city build with an ideal plan. Every is happy and beautiful. They live in a utopia. The problem with a man made utopia is that somewhere lurking in the shadows, one man controls it all.

Aeon is a member of a faction of folks who want to bring the whole thing tumbling down. They want to crack through the unbreakable façade that hides something, something that’s wrong but no one can figure out what it is. It has a hint of that old rinky dink flick called The Matrix. You know, that on the surface all is well, but just beneath the smiles and the everyday happenings, there is some kind of secret that’s holding us all hostage. I’m not saying this movie is a copy cat, not at all. I’m not comparing them in any way shape or form, other than the idea of everyone living a lie.

We meet Ms. Flux, or do you think they will be using the term “Ms.” In the future? Do you think women in black spandex body suits who can leap several yards and bring down several heavily armed men with a few chops and kicks should be referred to as Ms.? Hmmm more questions to ponder. But on with the review. Aeon is a tough fighting machine, as we learn quite quickly. She has skills, mad skills. She has a friend with four hands, with whom she traverses a dangerous garden, a garden that grows weapons and killer blades of grass. This is just one of many many action scenes that’s riddled with stunt jumps, grunts and groans, and lots of “swish” “thwap” “shacha” sound effects. It’s fun to watch, as long as you have dropped your left brain at the door and can give up on your need to make everything realistic. This ain’t the movie for that.

Flux is enlisted to assassinate one of the big boys in charge, but something goes wrong and that’s when all the twists and turns start kicking in. Why does everyone feel strange, sad, confused? Why do they all have dreams of things they have never seen? The answer isn’t terribly original, but it’s clever enough to make the whole story work. Along with uncovering the big secret, finding love, and kicking several asses along the way, our heroine has time to be as smart as she is lovely to look at. This isn’t a rough and tumble sci-fi kind of thriller where you get a boatload of lame one liners and catch phrases to move things along. The dialogue is good, the performances are genuine with no quirkiness that often comes with this genre.

The writing covers different aspects of the human psyche, like true love, life and death, mostly death. They stuck in a few profound lines that give some weight to it beyond just a good time flick. But don’t worry it’s not too deep. If you’re worried you might start thinking or something crazy like that, just look at the bod on that woman flipping around on the screen and your brain will be the last part of your body concentrating on the movie J (please excuse any and all sexist comments that may appear in this review)

The sets and locations are amazing. You will think you’re looking at CGI backdrops and fake interiors, but they are real places, real locations used to keep the look and feel of the movie as believable and out of the realm of total science fiction as possible. Almost every shot is framed to look like a piece of art, a photograph that can be set aside on its own, not just part of a moving picture. The colors are often vivid, even if it seems a bit grey and muted, there is always some touch of color that keeps your eye entertained.

I enjoyed Aeon Flux as a one time, fun time, action event. I don’t want to see sequels. Some stories should end when they end.

Value: 6/10
Right now you have to pay around 23 bucks for this Blu-Ray Disc, and only a couple dollars less for the standard DVD version. It’s a fun exciting movie, but it’s more of a rental. It’s a great action adventure and for $5 you can watch it, enjoy the extras, and afford snacks to go with it. The extras are good, but not amazing enough to make this DVD a collector must have.

Overall Score 7/10