Charlie's Angels: Special Edition
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 23, 2001
E - M A I L
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Graphical Version
The Movie:

I don't think I've seen the press follow any major motion picture as I did with "Charlie's Angels", where there were often updates with details about the latest on-set fight or walk-out. For once in feature film coverage, that actually seemed to not be the case and, at the end of the day, the Angels won, taking in enough at the box office to easily justify a second picture.

As for the picture itself, I think that it rightfully takes it place within the genre of the "event picture". Certainly, the film seeks to be basic entertainment, and on that level, it delivers. Drew Barryore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu play Natalie, Dylan and Alex, three secret agents who work for millionaire Charlie and his second-in-command Bosley(Bill Murray).

"CA" energetically seems to just want to have fun, and it's able to sell itself well enough so that I thought its weaknesses in plot and storytelling were able to be overlooked in way that enough of it is enjoyably well-staged and fun - the actresses seem to be having a great time - so why shouldn't we? It also helps that the film seems to have a sense of humor about itself. Still, although the story is rather thin at times, I found the dialogue to contain some witty one-liners, as I would expect from a talented group of writers like John August, whose "Go" was one of my favorite films of 1999, as well as Ed Solomon, who wrote "Men In Black". Their combined plot though, is simply a backbone for the film's many impressive action sequences.

The film has the Angels looking for a kidnapped computer executive whose software could take away the privacy of the world if it falls into the wrong hands. Is a rival named Roger Corwin (Tim Curry), the bad guy? It's up to the angels to find out. And, thus, we are launched into the picture, with the angels kicking butt with "Matrix"-style martial-arts moves, helped by fight choreographer Cheung-Yan Yuen (who is the brother of Woo-Ping Yuen (who choreographed the fight scenes of "The Matrix" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). Technically, the angels are also captured well by the wonderful cinematography of Russell Carpenter and moved along by the rapid, strong editing of Peter Teschner, who has also worked with "Angels" producer Betty Thomas on the film's that she's directed recently such as "Dr. Dolittle".

They picked the right actresses, as well. Barrymore, Diaz and Liu have their own little showcase sequences, but do have nice chemistry together. Murray also turns in his usual Murray greatness. Even Barrymore's significant other Tom Green gets a cameo with a couple of good laughs. Matt Leblanc and Luke Wilson also have very minor cameos.

All-in-all "Charlie's Angels" certainly isn't high-art, but it's high-fun and enjoyable with spirited performances from its leads.


VIDEO: Although there are a few minor flaws occasionally appearing throughout the movie, the majority of Tristar's presentation of "Charlie's Angels" is nothing short of stunning. Sharpness throughout is nearly 100% perfect, with excellent clarity and a strong sense of depth to the image on nearly every sequence of the 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer.

The only problem that I noticed throughout the movie was, literally, just a couple of minor marks on the print used. These were hardly noticable, and were very minimal in size. Pixelation and shimmering don't appear throughout for a picture that makes for a very enjoyable viewing experience. I'd be suprised if it looked this good in most theaters.

Colors are easily the most stunning element of the presentation. The film is practically washed in waves of almost a rainbow of colors for nearly every sequence. This is a gorgeous presentation that really is top-notch work from Columbia/Tristar.

SOUND: Although maybe not quite the most agressive presentation that I've listened to in the past couple of months, "Charlie's Angels" still offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation with plenty of activity and a solid presence for the soundtrack full of pop and rock songs.

Although there are a few quieter moments, the majority of the film boasts a high-energy mixture of strong, effective surround use and deep, solid bass. Again, music has a nice presence throughout the picture as the pop soundtrack fills the listening space quite well, often being re-inforced by the surrounds. Audio quality is excellent, as would be expected from a major-budget new feature, with both music and general sound effects having a smooth, crisp sound that is comfortable and enjoyable to listen to. Last, but not least, dialogue sounds clear and easily understood, never getting lost in the noisy action sequences. Certainly one of the more exciting sound presentations I've heard lately.

MENUS:: Tristar provides a great animated main menu with clips from the movie in the background, as well as animated transitions between the main menu and the sub-menus. Sub-menus aren't animated, but as with the majority of Tristar menus, use film-themed images nicely and are easily navigated.


Commentary: This is a great commentary with director McG and cinematographer Russell Carpenter. Although McG is a first-time director, you might be familiar with Carpenter's outstanding recent work on such films as "The Negotiator" and "Titanic". The two very energetically jump in from moment one to share the challenges and tricks that went into nearly every scene in the picture. The two discuss working with the angels and, as with any first-time director going into such a major first film, there are certainly plenty of obstacles and stories to discuss. The two occasionally go on in their praise for those who worked on the movie, but they seem so genuinely happy with the end result that these short periods certainly never drag. Overall, definitely provides all the general information one could want about the making of the film.

Getting G'd Up: This is a short featurette that talks about the first-time director McG, and generally has everyone involved in the picture discussing how much they enjoyed working with him between shots of the director bouncing around the set. Sort of like the feature that New Line included for a similarly one-named, first-time director called Tarsem for their "The Cell" DVD.

The Master and The Angels: This is a more interesting featurette that shows the girls of "Charlie's Angels" working with the martial arts choreographers and co-cordinators to condition themselves physically to have to do the heavy stunt-work involved in the picture. There's some great behind-the-scenes footage of the girls attempting to do some of the stunts and having a bit of trouble early on, but getting better.

Welcome To Angel's World: This is a short featurette that takes a look at the task of creating the look of "Charlie's Angels" as the set/art decorators discuss their work throughout the picture.

Angelic Attire: A short featurette that discusses the style of (usually) revealing clothing that play a role in "Charlie's Angels". Some fun behind-the-scenes information as the crew has to attempt to capture the style and personality of the characters.

Angelic Effects: Obviously, a great deal of effects had to go into the the film, and "Angelic Effects" does a fine job taking the viewer behind-the-scenes to show the computer-effects and physical-effects work that went into many sequences in the picture.

Wired Angels: As with many recent pictures involving martial arts, there is "wire-work"(having the actors on wires) to be done. This featurette, after a brief introduction by McG, shows a scene with the wires before they were removed.

Deleted Scenes: There are three deleted scenes included, all of which have a brief introduction by director McG. The first sequence "Marco Polo" is slightly funny, but, like the other two scenes (which aren't as funny), all three were rightly taken out of the picture as they would have slowed the pace and simply aren't needed.

Outtakes and Bloopers: This is just the end credit sequence with the gags without the credits text.

Music Videos: "Independent Women Part 1" by Destiny's Child and "Charlie's Angels 2000" by Apollo Four Forty.

Trailers: "Charlie's Angels" theatrical and teaser trailers (Dolby Digital 5.1), as well as trailers for "My Best Friend's Wedding"(Dolby 2.0), "Vertical Limit"(which sounds great in 5.1), "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"(Dolby 2.0), the upcoming David Spade flick "The Adventures Of Joe Dirt"(Dolby Digital 5.1) and the upcoming sony animated event picture "Final Fantasy"(Dolby Digital 5.1).

Also: Talent Files.

Final Thoughts: "Charlie's Angels" is a silly, fun picture that is simply well-done entertainment. Tristar's effort here is also "well-done DVD", with fantastic audio and video quality and a handful of strong extras. Highly Recommended.

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