Peter Chung. He’s the kinda guy that thinks out of the box. The guy who does stuff that has ‘unmarketable’ written all over it. Okay, I was kidding about that last bit. But honestly, did anybody besides Peter Chung fans enjoy the extremely underrated Animatrix’ animated feature ‘Matriculated’? (Animatrix is the animated tie-in to the Matrix Trilogy franchise)

Well, I liked it. At first, I thought it was the weakest (or weirdest) of all the features in the Animatrix series, but I realized it was the one with the most… depth. Multiple viewings afforded me a better understanding and appreciation with the characters and the setting. That’s the beauty of this whole ‘multi-layered’ narrative. If done right, you get achieve mainstream hits like Robotech (the original 1985 animation) and Half-Life. Works like Matriculated are of the same narrative fold, but in my opinion have a more acquired taste.

So lets talk a look a look at Peter Chung. His career started way,waaay back in the 1990’s, with his breakout hit ‘Aeon Flux’, but like his works, the story is much deeper than that.

A brief background about Peter, straight from the horses’ mouth.

Peter Chung:
"I was always into animation. I studied animation at CalArts [California Institute of the Arts]. I've actually been making animated films since I was 16. It was always what I wanted to do and I got my first job when I was 20 and I've been doing it ever since. I always knew that what I wanted to do was to create characters and write stories - do the whole thing, you know, write, design and direct. It took a while. It took about ten years of working in the industry doing other things like learning the craft, doing storyboards and designing characters, before I finally got to write and direct my own character which was Aeon Flux."

Wow. And I’m 22 and I have a career that is nowhere near art-related, and I continuously talk about modern visual culture in a place where... err… moving on.

Peter Chung's has had a long, successful, though frustrating career. Based on what little I could read about the guy, it almost seems as if he hasn't worked on anything he really enjoyed since his breakout hit Aeon Flux. Oh sure, he's done the occasional commercial work and animation jobs for big Hollywood and Animation studios, but I wonder if, given the opportunity, he could create something as amazing as Aeon Flux.

Alrighty then, what the hell is Aeon Flux? Is it some character played by Charlize Theron? (Hell, no) I'm assuming you don't know, reader person. While I would be glad to reference Wikipedia again, as I always had in the past, I want you, dear... person... to experience it. What is Aeon Flux? Aside from being a show back in the 1990's, what exactly was it? Here's the intro:

Now do you know what Aeon Flux is all about? Hah! I thought so. I don't get it either. Okay, here's a brief background: Aeon Flux is a... freelance agent, who episode after episode, tries to complete various missions ranging from stealing eggs, setting a populace free from a dictator, to trying to escape from an off-shore base facility. Fantastic, huh? It's one of those things that just sounds crazy when you explain it! Watch this, and tell me, if you don't fall in love with Aeon, then I'm gonna... Ah, what can I do? I don't even know you.

Crunchy... erm...

When was the last time you saw a scantily-clad vixen in an animated show aimed for kids? They really don't make cartoons like this anymore. That's why its crucial for American animated programs to inject that sexuality, that intelligent approach to storytelling, rather than all this cynical merchandise-centric crap they keep coming up with. Screw that sort of Ben 10 mentality!

So now that least you've got to experience what I've been blabbering about for a while now, I want you to know more about Aeon's world, and see where this demented yet delectable character spawned from. This is an incredibly detailed video that will surely bring you up to speed. I couldn't link it here, but I want you to watch this. Hey, you've stuck it out with me this long, you've got to at least trust me on these things.

Amazing, huh? Take note that Season Two of the show moved towards stand-alone stories. It is unique in that it takes the regular speaking characters of the earlier episodes like that bleached-hair guy in the First Season (the video above shows this) and twists them and their relationship to Aeon. This show is really one of a kind!

In an interview a long, long time ago, Peter Chung explained the effect of multiple viewings, which would lead to a newfound understanding in what the heck is going on.

"It's a delicate balance to get, because you can turn people off by confusing them, and just get them to disengage totally, which is not what I want. The strategy really is to get them to feel encouraged to pay closer attention. So far the response has been pretty good, but we'll have to see... I mean, the idea with the new series was that MTV wanted to reach more of a mass audience as opposed to sort of the cult following that the shorts had had. But I wasn't really interested in doing something formulaic in the way most shows are..."

It is interesting to note that this is the sort of narrative technique Mr. Chung has been trying to let people approach and appreciate for years. His article sort of dealt with that hope that people would love this type of storytelling.

I will delve into Peter Chung's mind a little more in a future post. I just wanted you to be acquainted with Aeon Flux, and how big an impact it had, at least to this blogger. I'll also post a few more interesting crap that you might find relevant to your life. So stay tuned.

I close another... wonderful episode of Aeon Flux.

She's a well-built little thing, but honestly, I do pity the girl.

1 Responses to A Beautiful Mind: Peter Chung Special

  1. GBH Says:
  2. Check out this - hand drawn cut outs

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