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Charlie's Angels
Special Edition

review by Zach B.

Rated PG-13

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

Running Time: 99 minutes

Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murrary, Tim Curry, Kelly Lunch, Sam Rockwell, Crispin Glover and the voice of John Forsythe

Written by Ryan Rowe & Ed Solomon and John August

Directed by McG (Joseph McGinity Nichol)

Retail Price: $27.98

Features: Commentary With Director McG and Director Of Photography Russell Carpenter, Getting G'd Up Featurette, The Master And The Angels Featurette, Welcome To Angel World Featurette, Angelic Attire Featurette, Angelic Effects Featurette, Wired Angels Scene, Deleted And Extended Scenes, Outtakes and Bloopers, Music Videos, Talent Files, Theatrical Trailers

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Chapter Search (28 Chapters)

It's pretty fair to say that Sony Pictures (who owns Columbia and Tri-Star) is laughing at most of us now. And you know what? They deserve too. After rumors and rumors about the production of "Charlie's Angels", many thought the movie would be a giant bomb. From the rumors of the on set cat fights to the constant rewrites and the film going over budget, "Charlie's Angels" seemed to have "stinker" written all over it. But after everything (and the stars saying most of what was reported was not true), it turned out to be a giant hit, and Sony believes they have a new franchise on their hands.

I personally thought the movie was going to bomb after all what I heard. And also considering the fact how many TV shows are made into movies, and how nearly all of them are terrible, "Charlie's Angels" just didn't seem to have what it takes despite hot stars and a huge budget. Were people really going to catch on to a remake of a popular 70s and 80s TV show without the original cast members?

Well, people did catch on. It's also a good example of how you may think something to be very true, and it turns out to go the opposite way. "Charlie's Angels" was a domestic smash during November 2000, and critics actually did like the movie, thinking it was good old, somewhat campy fun. I have to admit I saw this movie in the theater with a friend, and while I was not looking foward to it, I ended up really enjoying it. Simply put, it's a perfect example of what a movie should be: to have a good time.

Yet within all the popcorn entertainment, there is an actual plot to the film. Mysterious millionare Charlie owns a private detective agency with three female agents. Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore) and Alex (Lucy Liu). You also have Bill Murrary as Bosley (who's role is minor, but still very enjoyable). So within all of this, the angels are asked to get back from stolen technology that could mean the end of privacy. So there action sequences, fun moments and predictiable twists and turns. The twist and turns are supposed to be shockers, but you really just know what's going to happen (well, I did at least from the way things seemed).

The movie is very fun. It's campy and mocks itself with some cheesy slow motion effects and shots we've seen over and over before. Still, I was really impressed with the movie altogether. There are some fantastic action sequences and stunts, including a really well filmed climax/finale. They're a blast to watch and are very entertaining.

The film also has some really good editing and some great style, thanks to director McG, who has directed dozens of music videos and some TV commercials. I give a lot of credit to him, because it seems in part of him the movie works really well. McG seems to have a future in the industry, and this is a good showcase. He's young and hip, and he really fits the job for the movie.

The acting is fun and silly yet it works, and there are some fun, kooky moments too. Again, it's just a fun movie. It's not deep, it's not a masterpiece, but it's what audiences love. It's very entertaining. If you have had the slighest interest in "Charlie's Angels", definently check it out. Again, I was really surprised how good it was.

"Charlie's Angels" is presented in 2.35: 1 anamorphic widescreen, and it looks excellent. Colors are vibrant and very well saturated though sometimes a bit oversaturated. There's good detail as well as strong black levels. Textures are handled very well, resulting in no artifacting where one may think there may be. The bright colors and tones of scenes look really good, there are accurate hues to behold in this transfer. The only downside to this transfer is a good amount of grain and dirt on the transfer. Still, this is a fantastic image that everyone should be really pleased with.

Since this is an action movie, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that there's a strong Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The loud and high energy rock and hip-hop music are well mixed, making this a very discreete track. Also, the crashes, explosions and zooms sound excellent, with fabulous surrounds and sidewall imaging. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. This is a very nice movie to show off your sound system. It's not way over the top, but very well recorded and it suits the movie quite well. Be sure to crank your speakers up! French and English Dolby Surround tracks are included with English and French subtitles.

This Special Edition will not disappoint (McG himself said he was going to be highly involved with the disc), starting with a Commentary with McG and Russell Carpenter. This is a very good track, as the two have a lot of praise for the actors and the film itself. They discuss very interesting behind the scenes stories, and there's a lot of insightful information on the film's techniques and shots, which really interested me. If you enjoyed the movie, listen to this commentary.

Getting G'd Up is a short featurette about the movie's director, McG. Interviews from the cast and crew are included (and McG), as well as some cool behind the scenes clips and movie clips. There's no denying that McG is very energetic and enthusiastic (all the interviews say that too). Oh yeah... McG also likes to clap a lot. This featurette is in full frame, two channel sound and lasts just a little over six and a half minutes.

The Master And The Angels is another featurette that lasts a little over seven minutes and has clips, interviews and some good behind the scenes clips. It's a very interesting featurette about the fight training and fight sequences, and it seemed to be a really intense process. Definently check this out. Also in full frame and two channel sound.

Welcome To Angel World is a five minute featurette that is in two channel sound and full frame, and focuses on the production aspects of the movie such as the sets. While I'm not really into this sort of thing, I found it to be pretty interesting on what was used exactly, the whole style and how.

Angelic Attire: Dressing Cameron, Drew and Lucy focuses on the wardrobe of the movie and what the Angels wear during what scenes and what. It's pretty insightful actually as far as the scenes of the movie go. It's also pretty in-depth and features interviews and clips from the movie. It 's full frame, two channel and lasts a little over three minutes.

Angelic Effects lasts seven minutes (and yes, it's full frame and two channel) and has a load of interviews, behind the scenes clips and shows how the effects were done. The opening shot is discussed and explained in-depth as well as the car scene, the "Magic Bullet", the helicopter scene, explosions and "making swiss cheese", an action gun shot. I found this to be very interesting and intriguing, so be sure to watch it if you're curious about the sequences.

Wired Angels is an uncut version of the alley scene. Basically, rough footage with quick cuts and wires... an uncompleted scene. There are some sound effects and noises, but it's pretty interesting to see the shot in it's original form before computer effects. McG introduces it and it's in full frame. It lasts two minutes and thirty-three seconds.

Deleted And Extended Scenes has three scenes in non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound. Each also is introduced by McG. It's pretty obvious why they were cut, but they could fit back in and are fun.

Outtakes And Bloopers is basically what's shown at the end credits... without the credits burned in. So if you can't stand the words blocking them at the end, here they are in their full, clear anamorphic two channel glory.

Talent Files are included as well as Production Notes in the keep case insert, plus Music Videos in non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound. The videos are the hit "Independent Women Part 1" from Destiny's Child and "Charlie's Angels 2000" from Apollo Four-Forty. Finally, you have a load of Theatrical Trailers. You get the teaser and full Charlie's Angels trailers in anamorphic widescreen and 5.1. While the movie is 2.35:1, the trailers for it are in 1.85:1. My Best Friend's Wedding is anamorphic but in 2.0, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is 2.0 and full frame, Vertical Limit is 1.85:1 anamorphic and 5.1, The Adventures Of Joe Dirt is also in 1.85:1 anamorphic and 5.1, and rounding it out is Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital. I'm a huge fan of the game series and the movie looks incredible. On a side note, the animated menus are really well done, loud and are very nice.

I was really surprised how much I enjoyed the movie. This is sure to be a big seller. If you liked the movie or wanted to check it out, now's your chance. Excellent supplements and fantastic audio and video make "Charlie's Angels" another fantastic Columbia special edition.

(3.5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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