In the 25th century, the Earths population has dwindled to a surviving five million following a devastating virus that almost resulted in the extinction of all human life 400 years earlier. Confined to one city-state, a group of rebels, led by Handler (Frances McDormand), seeks to destroy the oppressive government first, by assassinating a high-ranking chairman (Marton Csokas). Tasked with this mission, Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) must integrate herself in a world of deceit and mystery.
AEon Flux is a 2005 American science fiction spy action film directed by Karyn Kusama. The film is a loose adaptation of the animated science fiction television series of the same name, which was created by animator Peter Chung. It stars Charlize Theron as the title character. The film was released on December 2, 2005 by Paramount Pictures in the United States. The film was not positively received by critics. It was a box office failure, as it made $52.3 M in gross revenues, with a production budget of $62 million.
400 years into the future, disease has wiped out the majority of the world's population, except one walled city, Bregna, ruled by a congress of scientists. When Æon Flux, the top operative in the underground 'Monican' rebellion, is sent on a mission to kill a government leader, she uncovers a world of secrets.
In 2011, a deadly pathogenic virus has killed 99% of the Earths population, forcing the survivors to regroup and scatter across the Earth.
404 years later, in late 2415, all of the survivors inhabit Bregna, a walled futuristic city-state, which is ruled by a congress of scientists. Although Bregna is largely an idyllic place in the destroyed Earth, people routinely disappear and the population suffers from bad dreams.
A skilled warrior, named AEon Flux, is a member of the Monicans, an underground rebel organization who communicate through telepathy-enabling technology and are led by the Handler. After a mission to destroy a surveillance station, AEon comes home to find her sister Una has been mistaken for a Monican and killed. When AEon is sent on a mission to kill the governments leader, Trevor Goodchild, she discovers that both she and the Monicans are being manipulated by council members in a secret coup.
AEon questions the origins of everyone in Bregna, and in particular, her personal connection to Trevor. Everyone in Bregna is revealed to be a clone, grown from recycled DNA. With the dead constantly being reborn as new individuals and bearing partial memories of their previous lives, their troubling dreams have increased. Cloning was required because the antidote to the virus made humans infertile. Trevors ongoing experiments were attempts to reverse the infertility. His ancestors had also worked on this problem. AEon learns that she is a clone of the original Trevors wife Katherine, and is the first "Katherine" clone in over 400 years.
One of Trevors experiments, Una, was successful: she had become pregnant. However, in order to stay in power, Trevors brother, Oren Goodchild, had her killed along with the other members of the experimental group. He ordered all of Trevors research to be destroyed. In a confrontation with Trevor and AEon, Oren reveals that nature has corrected the infertility problem and that some women are becoming pregnant. Oren has had them all killed to maintain the Goodchild reign. AEon then goes against both her former allies, who want to kill Trevor, and Oren.
She convinces the other Monicans to ignore the Handler and to help her kill Oren and his men. AEon goes to destroy the Relical, the dirigible that stores the DNA for cloning. There she meets the old man who monitors everything. She discovers that he preserved Katherines DNA for years, although Oren had ordered it to be destroyed so "Katherine" could not influence Trevor in any way. The dirigible crashes into the city wall, breaking it down to reveal the surrounding land for the first time in centuries. It is lush and fertile, not a wasteland as they were taught.Charlize Theron as AEon Flux
Marton Csokas as Trevor Goodchild
Jonny Lee Miller as Oren Goodchild
Sophie Okonedo as Sithandra
Pete Postlethwaite as Keeper
Frances McDormand as Handler
Amelia Warner as Una Flux
Caroline Chikezie as Freya
Nikolai Kinski as Claudius
Paterson Joseph as Giroux
Yangzom Brauen as Inari
Ralph Herforth as Gardenar
The screenplay was written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, and directed by Karyn Kusama. It was based on the animated TV series by Peter Chung, who had a minor role in this film version of his work. The character of AEon Flux was played by Oscar-winner Charlize Theron. This film was produced by MTV Films.
In the early stages of production, actress Michelle Rodriguez was considered for the part of AEon. She had previously worked with Kusama in Girlfight.
Kusama had originally suggested filming in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, because the 20th-century modern architecture of that city fit with her vision of Bregna. The producers rejected the idea because Brasilia lacked the infrastructure and technical expertise to support a major film production. After several cities were scouted, Berlin and Potsdam in Germany were chosen for filming. Berlin had several locations that fit into the organic yet structured world of AEon Flux.
The crew gained permission to film in several locations that had never allowed such access before, including the Treptow Crematorium, the Adlershof Trudelturm and Windkanal wind tunnel facility, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt ("House of the Worlds Cultures"). Additional locations include the Bauhaus Archive and a dissection theatre built in 1790 to train veterinarians, part of the Berlin animal shelter. It was used as the Handler space.
Filming was temporarily suspended for a month during September 2004 while Theron recovered from a neck injury she suffered during stunt-work on the tenth day of shooting. She was hospitalized in Berlin for five days and required about six weeks of physiotherapy to recover.
Paramount chose not to screen AEon Flux for critics prior to its release. The film opened at number two at the U.S. box office, making $12,661,112 in its opening weekend, held off the top spot by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Aeon Flux suffered a decline of 63.97% in box office earnings, going down to number six the following week. On February 9, 2006, it completed its theatrical run, grossing a domestic take of $25,874,337 and a worldwide box office total of $52,304,001. Making it a write down and a Box office bust against its $62 million budget.
The critical reception was mainly negative. The film holds a 10% rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus stating "Aeon Flux lacks the gravity-defying pace of its animated predecessor, and, despite some flash, is largely a dull affair." With a score of 36 out of 100, the films reception is rated Generally unfavorable on Metacritic.
Although Peter Chung was initially optimistic about the film and was impressed with the sets, he ultimately described it as "a travesty," adding:
"I was unhappy when I read the script four years ago; seeing it projected larger than life in a crowded theatre made me feel helpless, humiliated, and sad. ...[The movies creators] claim to love the original version; yet they do not extend that faith to their audience. No, they will soften it for the public, which isnt hip enough to appreciate the raw, pure, unadulterated source like they do."
Chung primarily objected to the films portrayal of AEon and Trevor, and their re-imagined history and relationship. He said, "Ms. Flux does not actually appear in the movie."
Screenwriters Hay and Manfredi asserted in an interview that the film was re-cut by the studio prior to release. They said the original directors cut contains nearly 30 minutes of additional footage, which Chung acknowledged in his criticism.
Graeme Revell composed the score for AEon Flux; the soundtrack is available via Varese Sarabande as advertised on the films official website.
In late 2005, Dark Horse Comics published a four-issue comic book limited series tying in with the movie. The storyline serves as a prequel to the film and is a mixture of Chungs original TV series designs and characters, combined with the setting and story elements of the film; the comic book version of AEon loosely resembles Theron, while her colleague Sithandra, played by a black actress in the film, is depicted as white in the comic book. The first issue sets up Fluxs mission for the miniseries: sabotage the Bregnan governments plan to destroy the forest outside of Bregnas walls. The last two issues of the limited series were published after the film had been released. By the time the final issue was published, the film had already ended its run in most areas. Dark Horse has not announced if additional AEon Flux-based comics will be published.
On November 15, 2005, a video game tie-in prequel of the same name was released in North America for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox gaming consoles. The game takes place in eras before the films setting of 2030 to 2338. The likenesses and voices of actors from the film were used. To help add to the box office gross of the film and to sell more games, specially marked copies sold in the US came with a pass to see the AEon Flux film.
Sophie Okonedo appears in AEon Flux and After Earth. Charlize Theron appears in AEon Flux and Mad Max: Fury Road. Serenity (2005). Charlize Theron appears in AEon Flux and The Astronauts Wife. Transformers (2007).
AEon Flux was released on DVD on April 25, 2006. As of July 16, 2006, the DVD has grossed $31.80 million in rental sales.