Plot: What’s it about?
Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Alex (Lucy Liu), and Dylan (Drew Barrymore) are beautiful women, but these chicks don’t just stand around and look good, that’s for sure. These three lovelies are a special task force that answers to Charlie (John Forsythe), a wealthy man who commands the girls to combat criminal activities. This newest mission could be their toughest ever, as the girls and their sidekick Bosley (Bill Murray) need to uncover the whereabouts of Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell), a software mogul who was kidnapped. The three beauties use their skills to disguise themselves well and enter the life of Knox’s rival, Roger Corwin (Tim Curry). It seems as though Corwin is the logical suspect and soon enough, the girls end up in a rumble with a mysterious thin man (Crispin Glover) and rescue Knox from a hidden location. The mission is not over yet however, as some voice software was taken and unless the ladies can regain it, the new owners can invade everyone’s private phone calls. But can even these three ass kicking females break this case, which could involve espionage, fist fights, double agents, and of course, all sorts of high tech traps and gizmos?
Charlie’s Angels knows that it is one of the most hollow films ever made, but it promises cool fight scenes, wild adventures, lots of laughs, and of course, beautiful women. I liked about the first half hour of Charlie’s Angels and was impressed with the level of energy up to that point, but then it all just sort of ran out of gas on me. I don’t think this stall comes from the writers, as the flow seems to want to come through the material, but no one is there to steer the ship through the rough waters. So the main flaw I see with this film is the direction, but since Joseph McGinty Nichol is a first timer from the music video business, this was to be expected. McGinty starts off strong and lives up his the hype, but he is unable to sustain that level until the end, which leads me to think a return to the small screen is in order, at least for now. But of course, profits mean more than anything, so I’m sure he’ll lessen another film with his lack of talent soon. This is a movie I wanted to like, it seems to have all the elements, but without competent direction, this train slams on the brakes toward the end and that really hampers the film. Even so, this is a decent enough little flick with some terrific moments, too bad it just didn’t have the element of consistency it needed.
This film marks the feature film debut of music video director Joseph McGinty Nichol, who prefers to, as most music video directors do, be called by a single word, McG. Like most of the music video helmers before him, McGinty has tons of visual spark, but nothing under the hood to make it all come together. I understand that this film is supposed to brainless and fun, but McGinty supplies no substance here whatsoever, which leaves me very let down. The three and a half minute sequences (hmmm…about the length of a music video) are the longest McGinty can sustain before falling apart, and that happens often here. I think the real eye candy comes from the costumers and the girls themselves, not from McGinty’s simplified method of direction. I just hope he returns to music videos, or at least sticks with movies that just need a cardboard man in the director’s chair. The cast of Charlie’s Angels includes Cameron Diaz (The Mask, Any Given Sunday), Lucy Liu (Shanghai Noon, Payback), Drew Barrymore (Ever After, Mad Love), Bill Murray (Caddyshack, Rushmore), Crispin Glover (River’s Edge, Back to the Future), Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile, Galaxy Quest), Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Clue), and Kelly Lynch (Road House, Mr. Magoo).
Video: How does it look?
Charlie’s Angels is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This transfer has some small flaws, but not enough to lessen the experience and in the end, it rakes in some very high scores. The film’s lush, pastel color scheme is well presented here, with vivid and bold hues at all times, but no signs of smears or oversaturation. Also in fine form are the flesh tones, which look natural and consistent, no problems in the least. I saw no errors in terms of contrast either, as black levels are dead on and no detail loss is to be found, impressive work all around. I did see some imperfections with the source print, but not enough to knock the score more than a shade.
Audio: How does it sound?
I was also very pleased with the audio here, as the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track packs a real punch. The surrounds are used almost all the time, whether via sound effects or the film’s musical soundtrack. Even with all this action going on however, I never noticed any evidence of volume imbalances, as all the elements seemed in fine form. So while the surrounds were being powered with sound effects and music, the vocals still came across in crisp, easy to understand shape. This disc also includes 2.0 surround tracks and subtitles in English & French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Columbia/Tristar has issued Charlie’s Angels as a full fledged special edition, so you know the extras have been loaded onto this disc. An audio commentary with director McGinty and cinematographer Russell Carpenter is included, which proves to be worth a listen and has minimal silent spaces to contend with. I was pleased with the variance of information to be found, such as humorous anecdotes, McGinty’s experiences as a first time director, and other topics are discussed within this track. Next is a selection of five brief featurettes, which offer minimal insight, but are still fun to watch. These pieces cover the set design, special effects work, fashions seen in the film, martial arts and stunts sequences, and a closer look at the director, Mr. McGinty. You can also view the first battle with The Thin Man in Wired Angels, which shows what the scene looked like before digital enhancements were made, very cool indeed. A selection of deleted and extended scenes also surface, with a brief introduction from McGinty as to why they were trimmed from the final cut of the picture. This disc also houses talent files, some outtakes, and teaser & theatrical trailers for this movie.