Oct 5, 2012

[Movies] Charlie's Angels (2000)

While we've seen a lot of old TV shows find new life as movie remakes in recent years, the quality of said remakes has been quite the mixed bag at best. And as we go back through the years and see how things progressed (or perhaps degenerated), we eventually come back to the Charlie's Angels movies.

The McG Charlie's Angels movies are like a major guilty pleasure for a wide variety of viewers for even more diverse reasons. I can imagine how the heterosexual male demographic was game for an action movie involving rather attractive women. And on the flip side women were relatively pleased to see strong female characters take charge in an action movie. And of course we members of the gay male segment enjoyed it for its camp value and for a mix of the prior reasons and even more than I won't get into right now.

More than what the movie theoretically represented, ultimately it was fun - and that's a tricky mix of elements to bring together in one movie and balance decently enough. And I felt that was generally achieved here.

Synopsis: Charlie's Angels is the 2000 action comedy movie directed by McG as based on the 1970's television series of the same name. The screenplay was developed by Ryan Rowe, Ed Solomon, and John August. The movie is probably one of the more notable releases from Flower Films, the film production company founded by Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen.

The movie begins by introducing us to the titular Angels - Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore) and Alex (Lucy Liu), who are rather kick ass private investigators who work for a mysterious benefactor known as Charlie (John Forsythe). The only way the Angels get to communicate with Charlie is via a speakerbox at their headquarters and the occasional message passed along via his assistant Bosley (Bill Murray).

This time around, the Angels have been tasked to locate missing software genius Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell), who may have been kidnapped by his business rival Roger Corwin (Tim Curry). Their only lead is a creepy thin man (Crispin Glover) spotted in the surveillance video from Knox's kidnapping and thus the Angels set out to find the missing Knox. And thus this means clever costumes, stealthy infiltrations and of course a lot of female powered action!

Now the movie is definitely carried by the ensemble of Diaz, Barrymore and Liu without question. The chemistry between the girls is rather dynamite in all the sequences and they certainly play off one another well while in character. And this is considering that each is pretty strong in her own right, especially personality-wise. Thus normally you'd think they would have butt heads more when brought together, and the final result remains largely entertaining and a heck of a lot of fun! And I totally appreciated how we skipped going through the origin story and instead focussed on them already being Angels so we could jump right into the action!

I loved Sam Rockwell here. His character ends up being expected to present a wide range of emotion and characterization despite the seemingly limited setup of the premise and that was a good thing. When you compare this movie with his later projects like Moon, you can definitely see that the skills were fundamentally there and already at work - he just needed to get the right opportunities to demonstrate his acting prowess. And he is quite the memorable character in this movie indeed.

Outside the characters, the movie has all the trappings of a music video, which makes sense given McG's background at the time. Thus we have very bright and vibrant colors, pretty cool songs accompanying each sequence and nicely dynamic camera work. And there's more than a few zippy one-liners that really zing between the characters that are just begging to be repeated at just the right moment.

And the action sequences - good grief, this is just total indulgence. Sure, we know the sequences are often physically impossible. But they're still crazy fun and the end result is just great entertainment. Leave your understanding of physics at the door and just sit back, relax and enjoy the craziness.

Charlie's Angels does not set out to be the smartest or the most accurate movie. Instead it's quite the popcorn flick - one that you'll more likely find yourself re-watching at the end of a stressful day. And I cannot stress enough how fun these movies are. Thus I rate it a campy 4 irrelevant dance sequences worked into the movie out of a possible 5.

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