Directed by Karyn Kusama
Paramount, in release
Hardly a stunnah: The pre-Matrix MTV-anime phenom known as Aeon Flux (by animator Peter Chung) converts to a cretinous post-Matrix franchise-wannabe, complete with torturous exposition, motivational speeches, and unnecessary cartwheel calisthenics frenzy-edited so as to insure that we see nothing actually happen. Gone are Chung's willfully irrational non sequitur surrealisms, vertiginous designs, dry humor, and physiological weirdness; now we have Charlize Theron trying to look icy, leaping about in resistance to a future dystopia that looks a lot like an overlandscaped European Union industrial park. The enormous, and probably impossible, amount of style and wit required to resuscitate the original cartoon into something with real faces, bodies, gravity, and locations is beyond Kusama, but a kneecapping should also go to whomever cast Frances McDormand as the stern rebel leader (glimpsed only in pill-induced mental meetings) and Hotel Rwanda's Sophie Okonedo as a combat gymnast with transplanted hands where her feet should be. (Holy 19th-century racial slur, Aeon.) The martial arts are scarcely martial, the plot makes too much sense, the dialogue is fit for military recruitment commercials. Then you run out of soda. Not screened before release, so be assured it'll evaporate once the word gets out.