Published on November 20th, 2019 | by Kevin Given0
Movie Review – Charlie’s Angels: energetic yet pale
There are new Angels in this film, but it’s not a reboot. This is a continuation of the previous two movies with Drew Barrymore, Lucy Lui, and Cameron Diaz. In this film, the new Angels track down international smuggler Johnny Smith (Chris Pang) in Rio De Janeiro. Then the European division of the Townsend agency finds out that Elena Houghlin (Scott) wants to expose her superiors for covering up flaws in a new device that would revolutionize the power industry. It’s called the Calisto and can cause seizures in people.
There’s a lot to like about this movie. But it’s a mixed bag. First, it’s hard to get invested in the story since we don’t discover what the McGuffin is or why the villains want it for more than half of the film. Oh, we hear the word Calisto, but why is this device revolutionary to the power industry and what exactly will it be used for? Second, if this isn’t a reboot, what happened to the previous three Angels? We’re never told. By the time we know why the villains want the Calisto, which is about halfway through the film, I had lost interest. I will say that Elizabeth Banks is a good director. The action scenes are handled well, and the pacing is good. But it’s hard to get invested in right away since we barely know who the characters are. There’s an excellent chase scene at the beginning of the film, but we don’t know why the character is chasing the Angels until after the scene is over. There’s good chemistry between Stewart and Balinska, but we don’t get to know them as well as we did Diaz, Barrymore, and Lui. There’s some conversation about their past but it’s brief and we don’t really get into depth about why they joined the agency or what motivates them. They’re not as fleshed out as they should have been, which makes it difficult to relate to them or care what happens to them. The one character that we can get invested in is Elena, we see her motivation in wanting to expose her corrupt employers. And one of the things that makes this movie shine above its predecessors is Elena’s desire to become an Angel herself. This is something that we haven’t seen before.
All the Angels in previous incarnations are already trained agents. Here we see Elena on her first mission and it’s amusing to see her shortcomings. In one comedic scene, she uses a pellet to try and render one of the villain’s unconscious, only she uses it backward and winds up unconscious herself. Patrick Stewart is good as John Bosley, a role originated by Bill Murray in the first film. He is retiring from the Townsend agency and we get to see his retirement party. We also learn that Bosley is now a code name and that there are now many Bosley’s, who are all at the party. We get to see his past in pictures and Patrick Stewart’s image is included with the slide show in all the Angel’s incarnations, beginning with the original tv series.
The film is energetic but a pale comparison to its two predecessors. When we finally learn the truth about the McGuffin and the desires of those who want it, it falls flat. The twist ending isn’t that big of a twist kind of like what they did with the Liam Neeson character in Men in Black International. **1/2 (4.3 rating)
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Producer: Doug Belgrad, Elizabeth Cantillon, Max Handelman, Elizabeth Banks
Screenplay: Elizabeth Banks
Story: Evan Spiliotopoulos, David Auburn
Based on Charlie’s Angels by Ivan Goff, Ben Robert
Music: Brian Tyler
Cinematography: Bill Pope
Production companies: Columbia Pictures, Perfect World Pictures, 2.0 Entertainment, Brownstone Productions, Cantillon Company