The Angels are back and better than ever. If the first two movies are any indication, this film franchise could continue into infinity. The trio of heroines are infinitely charming, and the film is full of sparkling pop-culture energy that is impossible to resist. It took until June 27th but we've finally get our first real summer movie: Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.
When a pair of rings encoded with the identities and addresses of everyone in the witness protection program are stolen from the Justice Department, the Angels are called in to retrieve them. With every international mafia family is after the rings, the Angels must employ quick wits and sharp outfits to succeed.
Charlie's Angels does three major things right: first, it's extremely self-aware and absolves the audience of any inclination to take the film seriously. Charlie's Angels doesn't want to win an Oscar, it wants you to have a good time. From jokes about the number of screenwriters needed to make an action movie, to cameos by the Olsen Twins as next generation angels, to innumerable film references, the movie revels in its roots. Secondly, there is a lot of variety in the action sequences, which keeps things from ever getting boring. Where most action films are all gun battles and car chases, Charlie's Angels has surfing, motorcross, street luge, martial arts, gun fights, and they do it all in high heels! Finally, and most importantly, the Angels inspire the audience. Who wants to be an angry Hulk or wear that funny-looking Daredevil outfit? Without the liability of a serious comic book behind it, Charlie's Angels can toss aside the introspective melodrama and get back to action movie basics: having fun and kicking butt.
Does it look like a music video at times? Of course it does. There's also a constant wind blowing around everyone's hair and the general rules of physics don't apply. The good news is: you don't have to endure seizure-enduing editing techniques. The movie is paced very well, not the least bit exhausting, and the action scenes are easy to follow. One scene in particular, involving a helicopter plummeting off a dam, is very well executed. Considering there are three main characters to keep track of, there is never a moment where you lose track of what character is where in the fall. Granted, the scene is in extended slow-motion, but it's nice the filmmakers opted for clarity when they could have opted for parodied chaos.
...and then there's Demi Moore. Dear Lord. The 41-year-old mother of three looks absolutely stunning and holds her own in the film. She's perfectly snooty and evil and, rumor has it that's how she was on the set as well. Although, in Moore's defense, the trio of Barrymore, Liu, and Diaz ooze cliquishness. Their best-friends-forever chemistry works great in the film, it's like watching the behind-the-scenes moments of the most popular girls in school, but just like those cliques, it was probably not much fun to be around.
There were a handful of drawbacks to the film which will probably be attended to in future installments. Bernie Mac was entertaining as Bosley, but clearly holding back. Additionally, Alex (Lucy Liu) could benefit from having her character flushed out a little more. Dylan (Drew Barrymore) is the most well-established angel (and has the funniest moment in the entire film as a Bowie-themed submission wrestler), and Cameron Diaz's Natalie assumes the persona of all previous goofy-get-glamorous Diaz roles. Lucy Liu, is the other hand, is just the angel who gets the bad dialogue.
All in all, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle had me grinning from start to finish. I was so inspired by the movie I even had a dream about wearing a short skirt and kicking bad guys in the butt. Go! Angels! Go!
-Megan A. Denny