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CHARLIE'S ANGELS

CHARLIE'S ANGELS ($28) is more fun than you can shake a stick at. How could you not like the big budget film version of the classic seventies TV series, especially when the movie pays homage to the jiggly original by having one of its leading ladies shake her scantily clad posterior at the camera in a gratuitous display of female sexuality. Of course, the movie version of CHARLIE'S ANGELS has a lot more going for it than three incredibly beautiful stars in skimpy outfits, but it's nice to see that the producers of this film haven't forgotten why viewers tuned into the original television series week after week, even if the approach is now totally tongue in cheek. However, the real strength of this revamped version of CHARLIE'S ANGELS lies in the fact that the movie offers spectacular stunt work, which is reminiscent of a James Bond adventure, as well as the same kind of gravity defying marital arts work that THE MATRIX borrowed from Hong Kong cinema.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu as Natalie, Dylan and Alex- three female operatives that work a high tech private investigations firm owned by the mysterious, reclusive Charles Townsend. Although his "angels" have never seen him, Charlie (voiced again by John Forsythe) maintains contact with the three women in his employ via telephone and through Bosley (Bill Murray), who manages the firm's day-to-day operations. Although the plot concerns a kidnapped computer software mogul and a high tech communications satellite, in actuality it is little more than a launching pad that moves the film from one action sequence to the next. Fortunately, the movie doesn't take itself too seriously, with the script producing good-natured laughs on a regular basis. The three leading actresses are an absolute delight and seem to be totally enjoying themselves during every sexy, action packed moment they are on the screen. Bill Murray does his usual shtick- adlibbing his way to some really big laughs. The cast of CHARLIE'S ANGELS also features Sam Rockwell, Kelly Lynch, Tim Curry, Crispin Glover, Matt Leblanc, LL Cool J, Tom Green, Luke Wilson and Sean Whalen.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made CHARLIE'S ANGELS available on DVD in a wide screen presentation that restores it 2.35:1 framing, as well as being enhanced for 16:9 displays. As you might have expected, this DVD is an absolute visual treat- and I'm not talking about the three beautiful actresses (at least not here). The image is super sharp and highly detailed, just like one would expect from any other new, big budget movie. Perhaps there are a handful of shots that appear somewhat softer, but the movie flies by so fast, I doubt most viewers will notice them. Colors are incredibly vibrant, and the flesh tones are very appealing. Even the most incendiary hues remain completely stable, without a hint of chromatic distortion or smearing. Blacks are dead on perfect and the picture produces tremendous shadow detail and depth. Digital compression artifacts are completely hidden on this cleanly authored DVD.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS features a kick-ass Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that is almost as much fun to listen to, as the movie is to watch. The soundtrack is aggressively mixed with plenty of split surround activity and good channel separation in the forward soundstage. Sound effects ping pong from front to back and from left to right without a hitch, inside the track's unified sonic environment. Dialogue reproduction is clean and never buried under the sonic assaults the track doles out. Although not quite Earth shaking, the bass channel is very solid, which enhances both the film's sound effects and music. Speaking of music, CHARLIE'S ANGELS features a lot of retro pop and rock music, which makes me want to rush out and get a copy of the soundtrack. English and French Dolby Surround soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound enhance the DVD's very cool interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection feature, as well as a nice complement of supplements. CHARLIE'S ANGELS includes a full running audio commentary with director McG (Joseph McGinty Nichol) and cinematographer Russell Carpenter. The participants impart a lot of detail on the production, plus their talk is energetic, interesting and completely enjoyable. Six short featurettes are included on the DVD and cover a range of production topics. Getting G'd Up focuses on the director and his work on set. The Master and the Angels shows the actresses preparing for the film's fight sequences with the help of martial arts chorographer Cheung-Yan Yuen. Welcome to Angel World takes a look at the film's production design. Angelic Attire: Dressing Cameron, Drew and Lucy covers the actresses' wardrobe, as well as that of Bill Murray. Angelic Effects looks at the film's extensive special effects work. Finally, Wired Angels shows a gravity defying martial arts fight sequence prior to having the wires digitally removed from the picture. Three deleted/extended scenes are also included on the DVD with a director's introduction. In addition to the deleted scenes, outtakes and bloopers are also present on the DVD. There are two music videos on the DVD, first is for the song Independent Women Part 1 by Destiny's Child and the second is for Charlie's Angels 2000 by Apollo Four Forty. Theatrical trailers and talent files close out the supplements.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS is an absolute blast! The movie is a hoot, plus the DVD looks and sounds incredible. Along with all the extras, this is a must own DVD for anyone looking to have a great time in their home theater. Highly recommended.

 
CHARLIE'S ANGELS 


Charlie's Angels

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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