Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: Charlie’s Angels

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Copyright: Sony Pictures Releasing

I didn’t really think we’d need another adaptation of the of the 1970s American action show Charlie’s Angels, but then again what do I know about trends? Apparently, there was a bloody high demand to reimagine the trio of Angels for the big screen, again. Not satisfied with the output of Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore, the latest Charlie’s Angels film looks to continue on the legacy of such filmmaking in an action-packed light comedy for newer audiences.

It could’ve been a lot worse than it is. I’m no fan of the 2000s edition of Charlie’s Angels or its sequel, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, which, while having John Cleese appear, isn’t all that great of a film. What little good can come from the newest rendition of the piece is found within its direction. Elizabeth Moss of Pitch Perfect 2 directing fame actually brings together a well-balanced piece that knows when to ramp up the action and when to fall back onto some good old-fashioned storytelling moments. Her direction is possibly the only strong aspect of the film, and it does get me rather excited to see what she’ll bring us next.

The real suffering for Charlie’s Angels is in its supporting characters. Patrick Stewart comes and goes more or less without care for his subplot, and the big reveal surrounding the characters within the film is predictable yet still comes out of absolutely nowhere. It’s bizarre, honestly. Moss does her best to hold all of this together but when you have a script that doesn’t manage to build upon the leading characters relationships with one another, or move past the cringe inducing one-liners that set up the action, the cracks begin to show rather rapidly. Ella Balinska in particular has some awful lines of dialogue and her poor delivery doesn’t help the proceedings much either.

After watching Underwater, I wasn’t really all that keen to enter into another Kristen Stewart vehicle so soon. Her performance in the Eubank directed disaster movie was, in itself, a disaster. It’s nice to see that Stewart can in fact act, and a handful of scenes within Charlie’s Angels do elicit some new found confidence in her ability to provide us with a tolerable performance. One key issue to highlight with all the characters littered throughout is that the conventional style of storytelling really does remove any chance at having something more than foundation levels of chemistry between the leading performers. Stewart and Balinska share some apparently emotive scenes that don’t work whatsoever because the only times we see them together on-screen is when they’re in the midst of a mission. There’s no build-up to their apparent friendship and care for one another’s wellbeing.

Reinventing a wave of female led action films as safely as it can, whilst also paying homage to the various adaptations of the Charlie’s Angels brand, the latest feature film from Elizabeth Banks is a surprisingly enjoyable time. It’s not a good film, but it’s a braindead action piece that has its brief moments in the spotlight. It’s light on content and a bit sparse in places, but absolutely harmless if you’re looking for some action-oriented entertainment. I’m not sure how many audience members will appreciate the Birdman of Alcatraz reference, but it’s a credit to the knowledge and enjoyable direction of Moss. Hopefully we can see her pair this consistency with some engaging storylines next time. Still, if your Charlie’s Angels film doesn’t have a Tom Green cameo, is it really worth watching?