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5/21/09

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When it was first announced the internet fanboys went balistic that McG was directing a film in this beloved series. With everybody getting a chance to see Terminator Salvation today, I believe that everybody will be singing McG's praises tomorrow. He got written off early because of his goofy name and the cheesiness of his first film Charlie's Angels. But I'd like to be on the record to say that I've been down with the man since day one. I saw the potential in him as a director with Charlie's Angels and I've got the review to prove it. Here's my original review from 2000:

A producer's recipe for a Big Dumb Hollywood movie: Start by coating the pan liberally with a stale TV show. Drop in 1 over-written screenplay, add 3 parts sex-appeal, 2 parts of-the-moment trend, 1 part platinum selling soundtrack and 1 part top-notch special effects, then mix together with the latest video music / commercial director, and bake at 400 for 98 minutes. Finish it off with a nice glaze of high budget ad campaign. End product should yield an average opening gross of 25 million dollars. (Results may vary on subsequent weekends.)

A funny thing happened on the way to the box office for Charlie's Angels, this recipe for usually bland entertainment, turned out to be a delectable treat. Thank you's belong to director McG (short for Joseph McGinty Nichol), who actually knew exactly what kind of movie he was making. McG knew that he wasn't working on the next "Citizen Kane", that he was in-fact making a high budget remake of a cheesy 70's TV show. The movie equally spoofs and celebrates the show it was based on.

Charlie's Angels opens like a new age Scorsese film, with a tracking shot through the Colombia logo, into a jet, up and back down the aisles, then staying with a conversation for a moment, before finally jumping out of the plane with the talkers. Although broken up with camera tricks, it creates quite an impressive opening scene. McG manages to keep up this pace for most of the film. Each scene is a completely different world, we may be in a 50's musical or a back alley kung-fu fight, but we're almost guaranteed to be shown a good time. McG knows the rules of each of these genre's and shoots them accordingly. Unlike so many of the new wave of directors, he knows when to use funky camera angles and slow-motion shots, he doesn't abuse these tricks of the trade.

We're introduced to the Angels via a fun split-screen montage. Natalie (Cameron Diaz) is the fun, girl-next-door type, who kicks butt in an athletic manner. Alex (Lucy Liu) is the refined one, with an elegant fighting style. Dylan (Drew Barymore) is the smokin' in the bathroom, street fightin' babe. Every single scene they are in different clothes or costume. Each girl has their own scenes to shine in; Natalie on stage at Soul Train, Alex as a dominatrix / office efficiency expert, Dylan fights five guys with her hands tied behind her back, the film just goes on like this.

Another major bonus this movie has going for it, is that the important supporting roles are filled by great actors. Bill Murray, who has gone from leading man to character actor in the past few years, turns in a great comedic performance as Bosley, the middle-man between Charlie and the Angels. Alex Knox, the Angels' client is played by Sam Rockwell ("The Green Mile"), he's another character actor who has turned into a scene stealer, with great charisma that jumps off the screen. And without even saying a word Crispin Glover is the creepiest villain of the year, as "The Thin Man".

Story? What story? This film is an excuse to showcase the over-the-top action sequences with the gorgeous girls in their pretty clothes. Haven't you gotten that yet? If you haven't, then you probably won't enjoy this movie.

I've already said it, but I'll say it again, the real star of this film is director McG. Without him, Charlie's Angels would have been another bad TV show remake. He turns what appears to be a pretty weak screenplay, into one fun scene after another. Coming from a music video background, he knows how to set action to music, and the soundtrack turns into another wonderful character. It takes some kind of demented genius to be able to fit Baby Got Back and Turning Japanese into your film perfectly. I look forward with great anticipation to his next film. - Grade: B+


3 Responses to McG, Charlie's Angels & Terminator Salvation:

  1. Nice review, but it's too bad that Terminator Salvation was just absolutely god-awful. Easily one of the worst films of the year.

  1. Yeah, I'll admit I was wrong about Terminator Salvation... I don't think I've ever been so misled by the trailers. Usually I can tell just how good a film will be by the quality of the trailer, and I thought the trailers for Terminator kicked ass. But the movie was just ok at best.

    Once I get some time, I'll write a full review of the film and how it fits into the series.

  1. I agree Charlie's angels film was a huge success. Won numerous awards. I already have the Charlie's angels Complete DVD collection.

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