In Brief: A predictable reboot and a total mess.
Charlie’s Angels is based on the TV series that ran from 1976 to 1981. It’s a fourth incarnation. More on that in a sec. This one stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott (Aladdin), Ella Balinska and the often very funny Elisabeth Banks who also writes and directs. Her movie, and first attempt at a screenplay also manages to be funny.
Sometimes. Just not enough.
Stewart and Balinska are angels. Scott is a corporate engineer and develops a new energy system. It has a fatal flaw that actually can be fatal. The people she’s working for know it and move forward anyway. The ulterior motive — of course — is a new weapon of war worth billions to the possessor of the technology.
Banks’ version of Charlie’s Angels — similar to the 2000 movie — finds them using James Bondian techniques to get the job done. What Banks doesn’t seem to be able to decide whether she wants to do a light drama or a heavy comedy. As a result, it’s neither.
Teen girls and younger women, and moms and grandmoms who grew up with the original series are the target audience. That’s obviously not me. I’ve never been a fan of the concept. In the 1970s I heard a lot about the original TV show. Never watched it but saw plenty of the photos of glitzed-up actresses Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson and later Cheryl Ladd and Tanya Roberts.
Frankly, I didn’t see the appeal.
There was another TV series in 2011. I wasn’t aware of its existence. Apparently no one else was either because it starred unknowns and lasted just a season.
The first feature about Charlie and his angels was released in 2000. It starred the very well known Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Lu. Decked out in high fashion the three actresses totally kicked butt. The movie didn’t but they did.
Other than some great lines from Stewart, this movie doesn’t kick butt either, isn’t all that funny, has no real identity and ends up as a predictable — and way too long — action movie.
Going by the less is more theory, chop 30 unnecessary minutes from its bloated two-hours and Banks might have given us a movie that is a lot more fun and a lot more interesting.
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks, Patrick Stewart. Djimon Nounsou, Sam Claflin. Jonathan Tucker, Nat Faxon, Chris Pang, Luis Gerardo Mendez, Noah Centineo, David Stutter, Hannah Hoekstra, Robert Clotsworthy, Danika Patrick, Ronda Rousey
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and some violence. The series began back in 1976. It ran until 1981 and then there was a movie in 2000 and one now. Not much has changed and it’s still as bad an idea as it was in 1976. Give this a 2 on the Friday Flicks with Gary 0 t0 5 scale.
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Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.