A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the film, as it follows an assassin on her mission, includes violent, bloody scenes, in particular, repeated martial arts fights (with sounds of bones breaking), stabbings and shootings (with automatic weapons as well as sniper-style guns), a woman's murder by government agents (she opens the door, expecting someone else, and the film cuts from her surprised face to the next scene), explosions (of buildings and a floating blimp-like lab), and several on-screen deaths of recognizable characters (villains and seeming heroes). Characters wear form-fitting futuristic clothing, some resembling bondage gear (one character makes a brief, joking reference to bondage as sexual practice, a great reduction from the source anime). Aeon appears nude, rising from bed, her back to the camera, a couple kisses then has (implied) sex. Music is loud and pounding during chase and fight scenes. The film also includes some semi-complex conversations concerning the ethics of cloning humans.
What's the story?
In AEON FLUX, the "world" is reduced in 2415 to a single city. Based on the 1995 MTV animation series, the film posits a future where a super-virus has decimated the population, leaving only a small band of survivors who live in a walled environment called Bregna. Their activities are monitored and individuals frequently vanish, leaving behind grieving families and lots of questions about their corporate-totalitarian government. The seemingly dictatorial leader of this government is Trevor Goodchild (Marton Csokas), aided by his obviously scheming brother Oren (Jonny Lee Miller). When the beautiful Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) confronts Trevor, she has a sudden pang of recognition, and pauses. Together, they must find the villains who have thwarted Trevor's efforts to repopulate the city as well as efforts by Aeon and her secret rebel group to wrest daily social control from the Goodchilds.
Is it any good?
Aeon Flux follows a perfunctory plot while focusing its energies on stunning visuals, most notably Aeon. In her animated version, she has an impossible wasp waist and pointy features, not to mention famously bondage-style outfits. Theron softens this look, but brings a steely resolve to her performance, so that Aeon isn't quite so ambiguous as she was in 1995, more traditionally sympathetic.
As bizarre as the future world might appear, the film is stiffly structured, oddly conservative, and falls back on very familiar characterizations and morals. As the cartoon series used to air after 11pm, and included outré sexual allusions and body modifications that might best be described as macabre, the shift to PG-13 fundamentally alters the original effects. Where Aeon used to be strange, now she's just regular.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Aeon's decision to go off mission when she "feels" something is wrong. How does her questioning of authority show her independence, as well as her stubbornness? How do Aeon's memories (technically, a previous life) compel her present actions? How does the film weigh family (specifically, sisterly) loyalty against romance?
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