Sorry Charlie. So, So Sorry
The three writers credited to Charlie’s Angels were all men. That explains the awkward, inhuman flirting from the women and the uncomfortable fetishism. That’s peaked in Charlie’s Angels when Lucy Liu dresses as a dominatrix teacher, whipping the air in front of computer programmers. Drew Barrymore unzips her pit gear at an F1 track. Cameron Diaz dresses in a skin-tight body suit to infiltrate a high-grade security system.
Each scenario appears to have started with sex appeal. The plot wound around those ideas… awkwardly. From the dated ‘70s concept, Charlie’s Angels brings voyeurism to the front, the unseen Charlie (John Forsythe) keeping eyes on the trio. That makes the sexist routine creepier still.
Though released in 2000, Charlie’s Angel already embodied the decade. Countless action scenes draw on The Matrix, clumsy digital effects hardly seem passable even for 2000, and stunts favor extreme sports. Add in a techno soundtrack and dot com tech bubble plot to signal an impossibly dated story.
Society progressed since Charlie’s Angels
Society progressed since Charlie’s Angels
Charlie’s Angels finds itself trapped, aiming for camp, if never understanding camp happens, but is not created. In the opening scene, LL Cool J bemoans, “Another old TV show made into a movie,” then setting out to follow that same trend (nearing its end after flourishing in the ‘90s). That’s not self-aware so much as admitting fault.
When not dealing with their case, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu go on dates. Diaz jumps on stage at Soul Train to impress potential boyfriend Luke Wilson. That marks the low point. It’s embarrassing in showing, “Tough girls have fun too,” and bringing Charlie’s Angels to a total crawl.
Consider the wasted cast to further pile on this dud. Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Tim Curry, Crispin Glover; it’s stacked. Rather than utilizing them in memorable ways, Charlie’s Angels instead finds a method to expose cleavage, turning men into easily manipulated, melting rubber. Effectively, the story goes if women use their bodies – not smarts or brawn or class – they can do anything. Much as the trio DO use their kicks, each is backed (or started) by suggestive poses or close-ups.
Society progressed since Charlie’s Angels. Now, this movie reboot exists as the filmmakers “what not to do” lessons. Not only the sexist jumble, but also copying Matrix, and never, ever waste Tim Curry. That’s outright sinful.
Sony brings a new 4K scan to UHD. This comes from a Super35 source, naturally elevating grain and introducing a touch of chroma noise in spots. That’s not too severe. Sony’s encode handles the print with a mostly consistent touch.
Digital effects/compositing hampers sharpness. That’s expected. Anywhere else, and resolution firmly embeds itself. Facial texture stands out, while exteriors handle foliage and buildings with ease. This is a dynamic boost over the Blu-ray.
The real uptick comes from the HDR pass. Highlights receive a major kick, glistening as sunlight comes through windows, adding intensity to neon (or other lights), and embellishing fire. Where black levels appear, the disc does well to manage their density. Charlie’s Angels prefers light though.
Bold color choices benefit Charlie’s Angels two decades on. Flesh tones dazzle, and primaries keep coming in their variety. Costumes add to the palette, always perky and vibrant. There’s hardly a moment to rest.
Brought into the age of Dolby Atmos, the mix excels at keeping things active. With the expanded soundstage, kicks pan overhead and behind, bullets travel, and anything that flies makes its way to each channel. Although a few scenes focus too tightly on the soundstage’s right side, Charlie’s Angels, it’s otherwise notably expanded and energetic.
Low-end boosts explosions, giving some punch to the soundtrack too. A car chase leads to a few crashes that mark the deepest moments in this mix. Range extends, if not with the might of the best modern tracks.
On the UHD, only trailers, including an action scene preview from the upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot. The rest stays on the included Blu-ray, the same feature set as before. That includes a commentary from director McG and cinematographer Russell Carpenter. A slew of early DVD-era featurettes follow, with limited value. Some music videos bring things to their end.
A visible product of the 2000s, the Charlie’s Angels reboot suffers from a wasted cast, pitiful effects, and an addiction to exploiting women.
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Note: 4K screens shots will likely be available at a later date.