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Charlie's Angels
Superbit Deluxe

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rating: PG-13 (Action violence, innuendo and some sensuality/nudity)

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

Writteb by: Ryan Rowe & Ed Solomon and John August

Directed by: McG

 

Studio: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

Retail Price: $24.95

Features: Sneak Peek at "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," Getting G'd Up featurette, The Master And The Angels featurette, Welcome To Angel World featurette, Angelic Attire featurette, Angelic Effects featurette, Wired Angels, Deleted And Extended Scenes, Outtakes and Bloopers, Music Videos, Talent Files, Theatrical Trailers. DVD-ROM: Weblinks

Specs: 2.25:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chinese Subtitles, Korean Subtitles, Thai Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (28 Scenes), Two-Disc Set

Released: May 27th, 2003

 

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 now has a major franchise on their hands (this Superbit release is an obvious tie-in with the June 2003 sequel).

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 - Bill Murray is quite droll and the three actresses do share some strong chemistry. 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," definitely check it out. Again, I was really surprised how good it was. But if you own the original DVD, should you upgrade to this Superbit Deluxe edition? Read on...

 

"Charlie's Angels" is presented in 2.35: 1 anamorphic widescreen, and it seems to be improved just a little bit from the original release. If you own a standard television I'm not sure if you'll really notice the difference, but if you have a widescreen monitor or well-calibrated home theater setup, then you'll probably see some improvements. Just like the first release, colors are vibrant and very well saturated though sometimes look a bit overdone, not to mention some high contrast. There's good detail as well as strong black levels too. Textures are handled very well, while fleshtones look decent. The bright colors and tones of scenes look really good, there are accurate hues to behold in this transfer. The transfer is less grainy than I remember it, and is a bit more refined, pops out a little bit more and in all is a bit sharper. The only downside (which isn't that major) are the pieces of dirt, nicks and blemishes that pop up here and there. Those were on the last transfer too, and are just a little distracting. Nonetheless, this is one sharp and pretty image to be enjoyed.

 

This Superbit Deluxe release provides two high-kicking sound mixes: one in Dolby Digital 5.1 and the other in DTS 5.1. The Dolby Digital mix seems to be identical to the one that appeared on the special edition, but the important thing is that it still holds up remarkably well. This is an action movie after all, and both mixes are quite creative and nicely represent the film's sound design. The loud, high energy rock and hip-hop music sounds great through the speakers, plus the action packed scenes with explosions, crashes and what have you. Surrounds are plentiful and are excellent, with great imaging and overall they really get you into the epicenter of what's going on - the surrounds are pretty high octane and sound razor sharp. Dialogue is easy to understand and crisp in both tracks, while both tracks have terrific dynamics and high fidelity. Still, when it comes down to it, the DTS wins by a hair. I compared each track in the major action scenes, and the DTS sounds much fuller, offers more depth to the surrounds and is surprisingly a bit more discrete. Still both mixes will show off your sound system nicely as both are filled with great energy and substance. Also included are English closed captions, plus subtitles in Spanish, French, Korean, Thai, Chinese and English.

 

All confined to the second disc, most of the stuff here is ported over from the first special edition release of Charlie's Angels. The only thing missing are some of the theatrical trailers (for now older titles) and the commentary track. So what's new? Basically promotional stuff (blah). In the Theatrical Trailers section, we have trailers for the first "Charlie's Angels," the teaser for "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and "National Secuirity." All are in anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1.

The main new supplement here is the Sneak Peek at "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle". Promotional interviews from the set with Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, Bernie Mac, director McG and even Demi Moore are here to say how "exciting" the film is and how great it will be as well as what it will feature. The interviews are in full screen and so is the on-the-set footage, while the film clips are in non-anamorphic widescreen. There's nothing of substance here in this two-and-a-half minute clip and I guarantee when "Full Throtle" comes to DVD, interviews here will be recycled in some way.

On the DVD-ROM front, we have a few weblinks. You can "Shop The Scene" and order "Angels"-based items, you can check out the online "Charlie's Angels" game and of course, go to a few websites such as the one for the sequel. All promotional items here that seem to encourage you to spend more.

Now on to the old. 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 for Bill Murray, the three leading ladies and director McG; plus Music Videos in non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound. The videos are for the hit song "Independent Women Part 1" from Destiny's Child and "Charlie's Angels 2000" from Apollo Four-Forty.

 

"Charlie's Angels" is a delightful, fun film that perfectly defines what popcorn entertainment is all about. Even if it's pretty apparent this Superbit Deluxe release is to cash in on the theatrical release of the film's sequel ("Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle"), there's a lot to like here. Despite the strong commentary from the first release being dropped and the new supplements are strictly promotional in nature, the rest of the supplements from the first release are here and do hold up, plus you get a DTS track. While if you own the orignal DVD I wouldn't say to rush out and get this release, but if you really want that DTS track and need to get your fix for the sequel right away, than this will do. But if you're picking up the movie for the first time, it's your call. If you have a great home theater and couldn't care less for a commentary, than this is probably the place to go. Nonetheless, this Superbit Deluxe release of "Charlie's Angels" is pretty fantastic with its great transfer and superb sound mixes, not to mention a just right retail price. Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment's commitment and execution to the Superbit line is extraordinary, and this release is further proof of that.