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What should one expect from a Hollywood film directed by a man whose name seems ripped from the headboard at McDonalds? Well, with one look at the trailer showing Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz flying through the air in form fitting outfits should tell you this is not Best Picture Material...and maybe that is the point. This is Saturday night film going, and it is some of the best of that form I have seen in awhile.
Sure Charlie's Angels may not fulfill all possible levels of action for the hardcore bullets & blood fan but at the same time it comes nowhere close to failing in it's endeavour.
Charlie's Angels is a snappy film from frame one with no real lapses in pace (though several leaps in logic) it is just a colourful action ride. One must realize the reason the film moves as well as it does is the fact that logic takes a back seat to the fun. In several cases I still have no idea where Bosley (Bill Murray) finds a jeep necessary for a chase, or where a bow and arrow set complete with grappling claws necessary to scale a rope magically appears from...these things just appear as they are needed, and really, who cares?
Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore ) and Alex (Lucy Liu), with the slightly bumbling Bosley (Bill Murray), are hired to find kidnapped Computer Guru and multi-millionaire Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell). Knox has designed a voice-identification software program that works more accurately than current fingerprinting techniques - a scientific breakthrough that would mean disaster in the wrong hands. The prime suspect is Roger Corwin (Tim Curry) who could use his global positioning satellites alongside this new technology to end privacy as we know it.
This information along with many comic scenarios for the actresses are all conveyed in a scant 98 minute film. What with the tongue-in-cheek opening credits that spoof the TV version of past episodes also cunningly provie a few brief flashes of the Angel's background. One, Cameron Diaz with headgear is just an image that is hard to shake.
But three women leading action sequences...sure it's P.C. but does it work? Well, Lucy Liu, whom I am not a fan of, does kick ass throughout the film. I'm assuming it's due to her training in martial arts and her stint with Jackie Chan in Shanghai Noon. Cameron Diaz brings a truly physical form to the piece, almost seeming gazelle like with her movements but the length of her limbs still make some of the moves seem awkward.
The true surprise of the film is Drew Barrymore. I honestly believe she has a great gift for comedy, something I only clued into after watching the Wedding Singer. Once more she displays her knack for getting and giving the joke. However, as smart as her portrayal of an Angel is, the real brilliance of Lady Barrymore lies in this being her second film produced by her production company Flow Films. Good business eye, no more drugs and turning into a real talent to contend with...aside from her marriage to Tom Green one would think she has left all false steps behind her.
One last thing. It would be remiss of me to skip on Bill Murray. Not a lot of screen time is alotted to one of my favourite comedians out there (Steve Martin tieing for first with him) and though not a hysterical performance it has some stellar moments. One scene in particular of Bill slowly going mad from being locked up by the bad guys almost stands out as a day of improv, and I look forward to hearing a commentary from director McG to see if I was right.
The basic facts when all is said and done, go in expecting a cheerful Hollywood reality and be please. Go in expecting the next James Cameron/True Lies action style film and you may be a touch bitter...but such is life.
Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul
Director and Cinematographer Commentary
Set Design, Fashion, Martial Arts and Stunts, Special Effects and Director McG Featurettes
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Wired Angels Scene Deconstruction
Outtakes and Bloopers
Music Videos - Destiny's Child and Apollo Four Forty
Direct Weblink To Official Website
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround [CC]
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo
The DVD Review:
For a single disc edition the distribution company did a great thing. One version, a collector's edition with miles of perks and released at a sane price. This leaves me without feeling like a complete ass fearing that they may release a second version at half the price of the original like some titles. (Remember A Bug's Life?)
Director's Commentary: The director, McG and his cinematographer take some time to go over the work involved with making Charlie's Angels. The standard slap on the back, your so marvelous tripe is her but so are some great insights into the behind the scenes set design and actor's tales that don't make the many featurette's on this disc. Not the best commentary ever but worth the one listen through.
"Angels is a fun, Ode to Joy, Pop-A-Wheelie kind of movie." - McG on Charlie's Angels.
Call me a fool but I have a demented sort of love for anybody who still uses the term pop-a-wheelie, so I can't hate McG just yet.
Getting G'd Up: A six minute trek that mainly highlights the energy of the aforementioned director, McG. Some great interview clips of Bill Murray trying to recall McG's real name.
Welcome To Angel World: Four minutes and forty-five seconds, a glimpse into the world of set/production design and what was needed to give the Angel's movie a different look.
Wired Angels: My favourite of the featurette's on this disc. It shows the entire alley fight between the Angels and Crispin Glover sans wire removal and effects. It's interesting to see how this scenario looks and sounds without all the Hollywood cover up. Worth a look for anyone who wnats to learn about shooting and composing an action sequence in film.
Angelic Effects: A look at the digital effects. Originally surmised to be around 100 to 125, when production was finally over the were over 600 visual effects. It also takes a quick look at the opening 'one' shot, the race car sequence and the 'magic bullet' sequence.
Three deleted sequences here and for the most part one can see why they were hacked from the film though I did enjoy watching Bill Murray and Tim Curry playing Marco Polo, it really isn't necessary in the film.
Finally, they have included two music videos on the disc, one of the oft played Destiny's Child video 'Independent Women' and the other is the remix of the Charlie's Angel theme by Apollo Four Forty. Very loud, very flashy but not very interesting to watch, but a fun listen.
EASTER EGG ALERT:
Nothing overly exciting here but some nice treats if you have the time to search.
1) Go into the special features screen, on the first page highlight 'getting g'd up' and push right, cameron diaz's stomach should be highlighted now. Press enter to see a clip of the girls flippping their hair in slow-mo...not a lot but thereif you are into slo-motion hair.
2) On the second page of special features highlight the 'wired angels' selection and then push left. Bill Murray's shoulder should now have a highlight. Press enter to see Drew Barrymore having her head cast made made for the film.
and 3) On the third page of special features, highlight the < symbol and push right to highlight the mans eyes, again enter to see some more of the crew behind the scenes fooling around.