CHARLIE’S ANGELS (DVD)

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2000
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 98 minutes
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Who would’ve thought that a campy big screen adaptation of a lightweight ’70s television series would be one of 2000’s most divisive films? Yet the big ball o’ froth that is Charlie’s Angels somehow inspired some of the most heated cinematic debates of last year. In one corner are those who thought it a pitch-perfect update/parody of the straight-faced female action series; in the other were those who thought it less tongue-in-cheek than tongue-lodged-in-brain. In between was a small group (that included myself) that got director McG and producer-star Drew Barrymore’s joke but found it only moderately successful.
If there is one area of non-contention about the film, it’s the film’s undeniable high spirits and abundant energy, which is echoed in Columbia TriStar’s impressive DVD for the box office hit. The candy color scheme designed by McG and cinematographer Russell Carpenter is even more vibrant and inviting on disc (and nicely duplicated on the flashy animated menus), and the 5.1 Dolby Surround mix captures all the various explosions and mayhem in all their boom-bastic glory. McG and Carpenter provide the disc’s one running commentary, and the track is fairly amusing and insightful even if there are sporadic slides into pretension (such as comparisons of the film’s fight scenes to far-superior Hong Kong films)–all courtesy of the excitable McG, who (intentionally or not) dominates the microphone.
Another look into the whirling dervish that is McG is provided by “Getting G’d Up,” one of the five behind-the-scenes featurettes included on the disc. Like many discs, much of the material in these segments is appropriated from the electronic press kit materials; in a refreshing change from most discs, however, the EPK footage was edited into specifically-for-DVD featurettes. One of the featurettes focuses on the martial arts fight choreography and wire stunts, which is further examined in a separate segment that shows the film’s first fight scene–which pits Angels Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu against bad guy Crispin Glover–without any sound work nor digital effects to erase the harnesses.
Other supplements are more of the let’s-just-throw-it-on-the disc variety. McG introduces a handful of deleted scenes that were wisely left out of the final cut, and you can learn more about him, the cast, and the film in general in the included production notes. The film’s two theatrical trailers (as well as those for other Columbia releases) are included, as are the music videos for Destiny’s Child’s #1 hit “Independent Women Part 1″ and Apollo Four Forty’s update of the classic Charlie’s Angels theme song. Rounding out the disc is an outtake reel–which in actuality the one that’s included at the end of the feature but with the credits removed. Call it a lazy excuse for an extra; call it a fittingly frothy capper to an appropriately glossy disc–the Charlie’s Angels debate rages on.
Specifications: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen; English 5.1 Surround; English and French Dolby Surround; English and French subtitles; English closed captioning.



Posted on July 9, 2000 in Reviews by
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