thatcow

For a bikini waxer, you know an awful lot about bombs

I have to hand to John August, screenwriter of Charlie's Angels (and former Boulder resident). TV-to-movie remakes are a difficult proposition, because they are such different story mediums, and also people have such specific ideas about the details of their shows. And given the star power and expense involved, the studio is going to be hard to please. Working on this must have been an exercise in frustration, but perhaps a rewarding one, as the success of the movie has landed him the writing job on the sequel.

The approach of the entire movie can be summarized by the opening. After seeing the Columbia logo, we zoom slowly into the clouds in one corner, which take shape as actual three-dimension structures. After whisking through the first cloud bank, we see a plane approach. When it's close enough, we push through one of the passenger windows, past an impatient-looking man, and make our way all around the cabin, encountering a number of random folk from a gossiping flight attendant to a large African-dressed fellow who seats himself next to our original impatient fellow. The two start to speak secretively, apparently about some sort of illegal jewel deal. The first fellow reveals himself to be a human bomb, set to go off within the minute. We are then allowed to see that the in flight movie is to be "T.J. Hooker - the Movie", whereupon the large man gets up and forces the smaller out the door of the plane, and they tumble out end over end as the plane passes by.

That's the end of the first shot. Sure, you can tell a bit where certain things would have been spliced together, but the point is that narratively, they've created something that flows continually like that.

Before the actual plot starts, we finish this brief storyline. The bomb is separated from the bad man in mid-air by a skydiver, who then grabs onto him, and they land in a speedboat driven by Cameron Diaz. The skydiver turn out to be Lucy Liu. The African-dressed gentleman then finally lands, and is revealed to be Drew Barrymore. And then we are treated to a television-like intro reminiscent of the old show, but with a humorous twist to it - we even see our Angels playing music in a 70s glam-style video (this retro-concept isn't new, but it's certainly appropriate to make light of it here). And a snippet of Drew Barrymore as Harry Potter? And then we have some little character scenes to properly introduce our Angels - including a bit about Chinese Fighting Muffins - ending with all three and Bosley (Bill Murray) about to take the morning phone call from Charlie, which introduces the case that drives the remainder of the film.

The plot from here on is more or less moot. There's a bit of tech basis for what's going on, which is treated no better than any other mass marketed bit of culture - in other words, holes you could drive a truck through - but no matter, this is all about style and watching these tough, spunky females do cool things and get out of tight spots. The plot has some truck-sized holes in it too. Listing them would, I fear, invite ridicule on my behalf, as these holes would seem to be unimportant to the concept of having such a movie, which is driven so much by kick-ass images and an imaginative soundtrack.

Given that the film was directed by well-known music video director McG, it's not surprising that there is a distinctive music video feel to it. Rather than a score, the film is mostly set to recognizable songs, and there is quite a collection having "angel" somehow in their title.

For the most part, the characters aren't anything to swoon over, being just a vehicle for the action. The exception is Crispin Glover's Thin Man, who is a presence on screen without ever saying a word. Or maybe that's just innate to Crispin's being.

And here's to not seeing the Chad in the sequel.

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