DVD Review: Aeon Flux - The Complete Animated Collection
Release Date: November 22, 2005
· Peter Chung
· Denise Poirier as Aeon Flux
by Jonathan Baylis
Published: November 28, 2005
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My first industry job was at a production company that created channel IDs for MTV and Nickelodeon. And most of those IDs were animated. American Animation was becoming a bit more cutting edge at that time, breaking away from the same ol' same ol' Warner Bros, Disney, or Hanna-Barbera styles. Anime was creeping in and taking hold. And more than just Battle of the Planets (hello, Gatchaman fans!) and Robotech.
MTV aired an anthology showcase of progressive animated shorts called Liquid Television. One of these shorts was Aeon Flux. A cybersexual, sci-fi adventure that some say was highly anime influenced and occasionally credit it as such, but I'd say they're incorrect. (Liquid Television actually showcased Yoshiaki Kawajiri's true anime “Running Man”.) Aeon Flux had a unique look all its own. If I had to come close to describing its style, I'd say it looked to be influenced by a combination of Egon Schiele and the Pander Bros. (read Matt Wagner's Grendel). It was easily my favorite segment.
So I was looking forward to revisiting those shorts when I volunteered to review The Complete Animated Collection. But when I received this edition, there were 3 discs! What could possibly fill 3 discs? I had completely forgotten that MTV attempted to turn these perfect shorts into a series of ten half-hour episodes. I think I remember catching one episode and never another.
But back to the shorts. About all you need to know is that Aeon Flux is an assassin and very good at what she does. The shorts are as fun, cool, and exciting as ever. We get to see the original 12-minute piece that was chopped up into 2-minute bite-sized pieces over the first season of Liquid Television, as well as the few-minute shorts that aired second season, each ending with Aeon's death. What I loved about these shorts then and now was that the visual storytelling was superb and had to be, because the characters never spoke (save for one Aeon Flux “Plop!”) The camera angles were extreme, the bodies sexy and lithe. Who wouldn't want to be as slick as Aeon? (Except for the death bits and all.)
Unfortunately, the 10 episode series, for me, was mostly incomprehensible and uninteresting. What succeeds in short form, fails and stumbles in its expanded length. There are a few moments here and there, but I felt they never captured the energy of the original shorts. And furthermore, I just wasn't a fan of the voice-casting. A bit of the character was lost to me once she opened her mouth and words came out. I think fans of the original shorts might be disappointed.
Seven of the ten episodes have commentaries that include Aeon creator Peter Chung, as well as voice talent, producers, writers and other production folk. These had to be among the worst edited commentaries I've ever had to sit though. The amount of times I had to hear “Umm…” was astounding and mind-numbing. It was a chore and a half to get through and the content wasn't worth it.
- A couple of featurettes and some production art, including some pencil tests that might be of interest to some animators.
- Trailers for an MTV Jackass box set, as well as two other Jackass-related shows (who knew?)
- A nice bonus is an assortment of other shorts from Liquid Television. Unfortunately, none of my other favorite segments, but LT fans will be happy to see a couple of familiar animated faces.
I give the original shorts an A, the series a D, so that makes it a what? C+?