Aeon Flux
The Complete Animated Series Box Set

Starring (voice): Denise Poirier and John Rafter Lee
Paramount Home Entertainment
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 13 February 2006

Four hundred years in the future and the world has changed for the worst, oppression is everywhere and only a few stand against it. Aeon Flux is a leather clad babe with all the reflexes of a panther and the dress code of a BDSM fetishist. Alone, she fights against the system and injustice wherever she finds it. She fights and she dies...

There is little doubt that Peter Chung's Aeon Flux was an important show, it allowed a whole generation of both viewers and animators to move away from previous animated shows more traditional constraints. Without the ground breaking visuals of Aeon, it's less likely that we would have seen other great shows like Tartakovsky's Clone Wars. If you haven't seen this show before (and why not, where have you been?), then you might initially be surprised as to just how graphically it's been stripped down. There is limited light and shadow and very often detail is barely hinted at, stylistically, with its cleanliness of line work, it remains very reminiscent of Moebius's work in the French magazine Metal Hurlant.

This three disc box set will come as a godsend to any fans of the show, or anyone who missed it on the first run. Sure its been released to cash in on the new movie, but I would suggest that if you really want to know how Aeon Flux should be presented then you invest in the animated show before going to see the feature. The discs display, full on, Aeon's sinewy sensuality to the max in all of the ten half-hour shows. Whilst there is a kind of story arc over the various episodes, they are really there to be enjoyed individually. Some fans of the original shorts may bemoan the lessening of the bloody violence that so epitomised Aeon, however this has been replaced with a more detailed look at the sensuality of the character, and that can't be a bad think for a leather bound babe.

The three DVD's in this collection have pretty much everything that a fan could hope for. The first two discs contain all of the half-hour shows which followed on from the visually impressive but plot obscured shorts which had originally appeared on MTV. They have been fully restored and nearly all come with commentaries from the shows creators. Audio is 2.1 which made the old boom box happy, though a 5.1 treatment would have been the icing on the cake. You get a plethora of choices for subtitles, some of the languages I didn't even recognise so there must just about be one of everyone out there. The third disc is where all the goodies hide.

First off you get the original pilot show with a commentary by Peter Chung and Drew Neumann with commentary subtitle in English or French; this is enlightening as it has them looking back at the genesis of the show. Quickly following on from this is the original five shorts that were created for MTV's Liquid Television, though in this case as the shows are so short (no pun intended) they tend to be much more of a case of style over story telling. For fans of the original they are priceless as this is Aeon with all the blood and killing that you could ever want.

To finish off the extras disc they have kindly included other work by Peter Chung though I guess for contractual reasons there is no Rugrats episodes, shame, I loved that show, but what you do get is the MTV loaded promo, the Aeon Flux CD-ROM commercial and the Honda Coupe mission advert. Rounding the disc off is a selection of Liquid Television shorts, which whilst interesting are of variable quality.

Visually, I can't see any fans of the show being disappointed, the animation has had the full digitally re-mastered treatment, so will never look as good again on television. The colours are vibrant and sharp with a high level of detail but no colour bleed or artefacts.

All in all, a must have box set for fans of animation, Sci-Fi and leather clad babes with attitude.

Charles Packer

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