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MTV Animation Comes to DVD

25 Oct, 2005 By: Brendan Howard

An animated, gun-shooting, acrobatic heroine before “Tomb Raider's” Lara Croft was out of diapers, Aeon Flux made mincemeat of enemies and died many brutal deaths in conflict with her rival and sometimes lover Trevor Goodchild during her career on MTV. Strange, then, that her skimpy clothes and action-packed assassinations were birthed as a critique of action films.

“Since being a young boy, I'd always enjoyed movies with a lot of action,” said creator Peter Chung. “But I was starting to feel guilty about it. During the 1980s and '90s, you had movies like Total Recall or Robocop. I felt the main character wasn't really good. They were portrayed as the hero, but they were going around killing people. I wanted to make something that required a lot of viewer participation to understand. It added to the moral ambiguity.”

To add to the ambiguity was the lack of dialogue. In the first shorts on Paramount Home Entertainment's Aeon Flux: The Complete Animated Collection (street Nov. 22; three-DVD set $39.99), viewers will see Aeon shoot, fight, duck and bear witness to a strange sci-fi world where her own motivations lead her on missions to kill and destroy — all wordlessly. Not expecting to be renewed on MTV's “Liquid Television” animation show, in the last episode, Chung also killed off his heroine.

When MTV asked him back to write more shorts for the second year, he had a new idea.“Another thing I'd always been dissatisfied with is how the death of a character is portrayed,” he said. “When you see someone actually die in a piece of live footage, it's completely different. It's much more brutal and sudden and happens very fast.”

So, Chung found ways in the second season to kill Aeon in violent ways (shooting) and embarrassing ways (slipping). He was playing with the audience's ideas of plot and heroes.

“She fails to accomplish what she sets out to do,” he said. “You build up a desire in the audience for a certain thing and then deprive the viewer of that through her death.”

MTV eventually asked Chung to create a 10-episode series, and he introduced dialogue. The entire story arc is remastered in the new set, with select redone dialogue, touches to the animation, and select commentaries from Chung and other creative talent from the show. All the “Aeon Flux” shorts, other works by Chung and two featurettes also are included.

Chung is working on a full-length animated “Aeon Flux” feature he hopes will be picked up.

Also in the works, but not involving Chung beyond consulting, is a comic book series and Paramount's live-action film Aeon Flux that opens Dec. 2 and stars Charlize Theron.

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