Charlie’s Angels (2000/Sony Blu-ray)
Sound: B Extras: B- Film: B-
Remaking TV shows into movies in most cases is a disaster
and when one works, it is either a solid exception or an accident. The more I look at the first Charlie’s Angels films by the Music
Video director McG, the more I realize the only feature film with any kind of
narrative he’ll ever do that works is one that turned out as well as it did
because the studio jumped in to make sure it turned out well enough and because
those involved wanted to be part of a revival of a series that they enjoyed.
Now already 10 years old, the hit was produced by Drew
Barrymore, but helped establish Lucy Liu as a star and was one of the few peaks
of the big career that once belonged to Cameron Diaz before she made one too
many bad choices and the hits stopped.
However, she is really good here, was the highest paid of the three and
gets more noticeable as you watch this again.
Helping thing is Bill Murray as Bosley, a role he would not repeat and
villain turns by Tim Curry, Crispin Glover and the underrated Sam Rockwell (Moon, Frost/Nixon) and John Forsythe reprises his role as the voice of
Charlie from the original series.
The energy, good humor and pace of the film helped it
become a fun hit, but this turned out to be a fluke when an insanely bad sequel
that had no real or realistic connection to this release arrived in all of its
horror three years later. Still, this is
the kind of fun films the studios used to make when they cared and people
running them did not rely on formulas, committees and demographics. Too bad Murray
left and the sequel turned out to be as bad as everyone thought this would,
because this could have been a fun franchise, but it was good while it lasted.
The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image was shot is
Super 35mm film by Russell Carpenter (True
Lies) and is another reason this moves as well as it does. This is an older HD master and turns out to
be the one used for the SuperBit DVD edition Sony issued a good few years ago,
with the same flaws, grain, noise and imperfections, but that was one of their
best-ever newer releases in the series and plays much better here than it ever
could on any DVD. Still, this could look
a little better, but the digital effects have dated and the 35mm print I saw
then looked better. The DTS-HD Master
Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 track is better than the DTS on the older SuperBit DVD,
but this was originally a Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (SDDS) 8-track sound film
and that mix was always a tradedown, but this is not bad, if a little
limited. Down the line, Sony should try
a 7.1 DTS version of some kind (and NOT a 3-D edition), but this is not bad for
Extras include BD Live interactive features and movieIQ
interactive features, plus all the extras from the deluxe DVD editions,
including five making-of featurettes, scene deconstruction of the alley battle,
feature length audio commentary track with McG and cinematographer Carpenter,
outtakes/bloopers, deleted scenes and two Music Videos tied to the soundtrack, including
Independent Woman by Destiny’s Child.
- Nicholas Sheffo