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PHOTOGRAPHY

AEON FLUX The Complete Animated Collection

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 224 minutes, 3 discs, 10 episodes, episode commentaries, Aeon Flux pilot, Aeon Flux shorts, featruettes, production art, Liquid Television shorts, and Aeon Flux movie trailer

STUDIO: MTV/ Paramount

RELEASE DATE: 11-22-2005

DISC 1- UTOPIA OR DEUTERANOPIA/ THANATOPHOBIA/ A LAST TIME FOR EVERYTHING/ETHER DRIFT THEORY/ THE PURGE (episodes directed by Peter Chung)

DISC 2- THE DEMUIRGE/ ISTHMUS CRYPTICUS/ RERAIZURE/ HRONOPHASIA/ END SINISTER (episodes directed by Howard Baker)

DISC 3- AEON FLUX pilot/ AEON FLUX shorts/ featurettes/ production art/ other animated work by Peter Chung/ Liquid Television shorts

AEON FLUX is a unique animated short divided into two minute segments that caught my eye during the early 1990s as part of MTV's innovative animated series LIQUID TELEVISION. It eventually lead to more Aeon Flux shorts for season 2 of LIQUID TELEVEISION and a ten episode AEON FLUX series in 1995. I watched the episodes and shorts over and over again when they aired on MTV. It was a strange sci-fi show with intelligent writing and plenty of action. AEON FLUX made you think or watch it again if you didn't understand what the hell was going on.

AEON FLUX is an assassin trying to bring down or stop anything Trevor Goodchild does. Trevor runs this governement state in the future on a world that isn't Earth. Aeon and Trevor have a love/hate relationship as they tangle with each other. Aeon died in every animated short and the pilot. The animated series played in shades of gray as Aeon and Trevor danced around each other and played against each other. AEON FLUX is as complex as the best Japanese animation series. Don't forget Aeon is a leather clad anti-hero with sarcasm, intelligence, and beauty.

VIDEO: 1.33:1 (Full Frame)

The episodes have been digitally remastered and the animation never looked better for the most part. Episodes like RERAIZURE have differences in some sequences which have different brightness of colors (a few seconds here and there have faded colors). Peter Chung even had some of the material from his personal archives during the clean-up of the original camera negatives. They were matched to the original running times of the video masters and many episodes are even longer than their broadcast versions.

AUDIO: English 51. Dolby Surround, English 2.0 DS

Subtitles: None (not even close captioned)

Dialogue, music, and sound effects come in sharp. You can hear the episodes in 5.1 or 2.0. Also some dialogue have been rewritten and recorded for UTOPIA OR DEUTERANOPIA?, THE DEMIURGE, RERAIZURE, and END SINISTER to bring the characterization into better continuity with the whole series. Too bad they didn't include a close captioning or subtitle option for any of the episodes.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc 3 has plenty of extras in the form of the AEON FLUX pilot and shorts, other animated works by Peter Chung (a LOADED MTV promo, an AEON FLUX CD-ROM spot, and a Honda TV spot), two featurettes (INVESTIGATION: THE HISTORY OF AEON FLUX and THE DEVIANT DEVICES OF AEON FLUX), LIQUID TELEVISION shorts from one of the first season episodes (too bad they haven't released LIQUID TELEVISION to DVD yet), and several production art galleries ranging from storyboards to Model Sheets to Color Stills to Pencil Tests for MIRROR and WAR shorts.

Other than the AEON FLUX pilot and the five AEON FLUX shorts from season two (of LIQUID TV), the INVESTIGATION: THE HISTORY OF AEON FLUX is one of the better extras on disc three which chronicles the history of the animated series from it's creation to the shorts on LIQUID TELEVISION to the series to the remastering work done for the 2005 DVD release with interviews from the producers, creator, writers, and voice actors. Too bad they didn't include a promo featurette on the making of the AEON FLUX live action film (due in theaters on December 2nd) on disc 3 (but you do get the theatrical trailer on disc 1).

Several AEON FLUX episodes (and the pilot and shorts) have audio commentaries (four episode commentaries on disc one and three on disc two). Peter Chung is featured on every commentary with several others joining (mostly producers, directors, writer Mark Mars, and the voice of Aeon Flux (for UTOPIA OR DEUTERANOPIA)). They mostly talk about the stories and characters, but THE DEMIURGE was the episode that Peter Chung wanted to start the series with until MTV told him to do a different episode to start the series with.

Also don't forget to read the production note from creator Peter Chung which is included with this collection explaining what has been done for this set.

CASE and DVD ART/DESIGN: I like the art on the box and cases for the discs. I do wish they had the art as inserts for thinkpak cases instead of cardboard cases with plastic trays glued in each one.

FINAL ANALYSIS: AEON FLUX is a well put together collection for fans of this unique intelligent sci-fi animated series.  If you love the live action theatrical film, you should check this animated collection out.

this DVD Review is (c)11-20-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com