Aeon Flux (1993)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 12/14/05

Peter Chung's breakthrough animated series about a leather clad super spy and her mind-bending sci-fi adventures. The animation is raw, edgy, extreme, and completely over the top, perfectly complementing the insane action and heady themes of the material. And if everything gets too weird for you, there's always the aesthetic appeal of the sexy operative herself. After a jaw dropping twelve minute pilot episode, several animated shorts followed that were featured on MTV's late night "Liquid Television" program. The popularity of the series eventually allowed it to be turned into an animated mini-series of ten half hour episodes, which expanded on the mythology by adding additional characters, background histories, and the most difficult job of all - dialog. While the TV episodes were solidly enjoyable as action oriented science fiction, they lacked the kinetic frenzy and puzzling incomprehensibility of the animated shorts. It was impossible to maintain the same level of intensity and weirdness for twenty minutes without completely frustrating, boring, and/or losing the audience.

If one good thing can be said about the live action "Aeon Flux" (2005) movie, it's that it FINALLY gave MTV Films the motivation to release the entire animated series on DVD. Up until now, bits and pieces have only been randomly available on VHS with "Mission Infinite," "Operative Terminus," and "The Best Of Liquid Television." In 1996 a lame DVD came out collecting four episodes of the TV series and several animated shorts. While it claimed to contain ALL of the animated shorts, it was sadly missing the all-important "Mirror" episode. The DVD was one of first DVDs to ever come out, so the compression was terrible and it unbelievably lacked a menu to choose which episodes you wanted to watch. The new "Complete Animated Series" DVD takes care of all these problems, and thankfully even preserves the chronology of the series. However, don't throw away those old tapes yet, because series creator Peter Chung made the unfortunate decision to remaster and re-edit the material, with unpleasant results. Many of the enhancements are subtle and not overly distracting, but the re-coloring of the original pilot is hideously ugly and ruins the entire tone of the piece. Very disappointing. Another sad example of an artist not being able to leave his own work alone (which I admit is a problem that I understand all too well).