Reviewed April 17th, 2001 by Brian White
Charlie's Angels is a big screen adaptation of the infamous 70's TV show. It is completely over the top and perfect. Barrymore stars and was involved in the production, which cast Cameron Diaz and eventually Lucy Liu as the other two angels. I suppose we are to assume that angels kept coming in and out of the agency, and that these three actresses play the current three. This is a genius setup for sequels, as if Liu gives them any more guff, it's certainly acceptable to have a different angel next time around. Bill Murray, by the way, plays Bosley. John Forsythe, the only carry-over from the 70s, voices Charlie... but who else could?
I may be in the minority here, but I loved everything about this movie. Director “McG” doesn't break any new ground, but gives you everything you love about other action movies, in a sugarcoated style. The editing style also has a lot to do with the success here. If you're like me, you'll find yourself smiling through the well-executed action sequences that incorporate the same techniques and technicians as those used in the Matrix. Is the inclusion of this wire/slow-motion style a rip-off of the Matrix, or just more of a good thing? I don't care. I just love it in this movie. Much credit must also be given to the cool selection of tunes used, and how they're mixed together with the film for great effect. Forgive me, but I hit Napster (which still works fine) after watching this movie.
How about the tongue-in-cheek-ness of the original? Well, I was too young to appreciate it at the time (I hope they didn't play it seriously). This movie is quite over the top in both its own narrative, and the occasional gratuitous butt shot; which is a tip of the hat to the aesthetic of the TV series. We also have Cameron Diaz' character conducting a phone conversation with a guy she “really likes” while participating in a Matrix-style fight scene.
The story line here, when compared to other action movies, is pretty good, and not too complex for those preoccupied with the boobies. The angels are dispatched to rescue a kidnapped software developer. Because the story takes some twists and turns, I'll not give anything else away. While certainly not Shakespeare, this movie gets a high score for plot, because the story isn't bad, and the film is executed as perfectly as it could have been. The filmmakers accomplished everything that they could have in adapting Charlie's Angels to the big screen. It's funny, and it's quite a good action flick. The movie is not exactly Thelma and Louise, but something must be said about female empowerment: the angels don't need guns, and anybody familiar with film theory will recognize what that means.
One more thing: Crispin Glover is almost as creepy here as when he tried to kick Letterman's head off.
So how's the DVD? This disc is a great example of everything that DVD does well. The 2.35:1, anamorphic transfer is as big and glossy as the movie itself. Big Hollywood action flick hits DVD in grand style. It's colorful, and full of bells and whistles.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is as impressive as the picture. All the stuff you love about action film soundtracks is here in spades. The cool selection of music is also well represented in the sound mix.
As for extras, there are all kinds of behind-the-scenes stuff about the three-month's worth of training (!) that the angels had to endure before they could perform the Matrix stunts. Also included are a director's and cinematographer's commentary track, deleted scenes, bloopers, music video, and the kitchen sink.
This is a great DVD, if you enjoyed the movie.
Please indulge me in two stories about this movie before I end: first, I've read on newsgroups at the company where I work that Charlie's Angels is the first big picture that people are boycotting as far as the theater goes. Like everywhere else, in Ottawa, it costs less to buy the DVD than it does to buy two tickets to see the movie. As a result, without even seeing the movie, many people are waiting for, and buying the disc, because then they have something, other than a lighter wallet. I wonder where this trend will go? Secondly, two of my friends, who attempted to see the film in the theater, went after its run and obviously couldn't see the picture. Admitting defeat, they went to a restaurant. Who was sitting beside them? Drew Barrymore and Tom Green, who spent the holidays in Ottawa. At least they got to see one angel.
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