Charlie’s Angels appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with an erratic transfer.
Few aspects of the image remained consistent, and sharpness was one of the up and down elements. Some shots delivered the expected crisp definition, but more than a few seemed a bit soft and tentative. The distinctive shots dominated, but not to the degree typical of Blu-ray; I wondered if the soft shots were stylistic choices, but I detected no rhyme or reason. At least jaggies and shimmering created no concerns, and the movie lacked source defects.
Colors tended to be erratic. The movie featured a broad palette, and at times, the hues appeared vivid and dynamic. Some sequences suffered from moderately runny, messy tones, though. As with the sharpness, I noticed more good colors than bad, but the inconsistency became a distraction. Blacks were pretty deep and dark, and shadows were perfectly adequate, without excessive opacity. This certainly wasn’t a bad presentation, and I thought it improved as it progressed, but the ups and downs left it as a “C+”.
On the other hand, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Charlie’s Angels offered a consistently strong presentation. The soundfield offered a solid environment that kept the action flying hot and heavy throughout most of the movie. The front spectrum contributed good stereo separation for the music plus realistic and engaging localization for effects, all of which blended together very cleanly.
I also heard occasional bits of dialogue from the sides, and these were integrated well. The rear channels contributed lots of discrete audio of their own, as they used both effects and music to keep me involved in the action.
Actually, although the effects seemed loud and engaging, the music really functioned as the star of the auditory show. Angels provides an almost non-stop array of score and pop songs; the credit list at the film’s end seemed to run for hours. Though the presentation can be over the top, the use of music usually worked well for the movie, and the manner in which all five channels blasted the songs made them even more effective.
Audio quality seemed terrific. Dialogue appeared crisp and natural, with no problems related to intelligibility or edginess. Effects sounded realistic and accurate; they portrayed fairly good depth and lacked any distortion. Music appeared clear and bright, with clean highs and acceptably rich lows.
If I have one complaint about the soundtrack, it stems from bass response. Low-end seemed positive, but it didn’t come across quite as deep as I expected. Clearly the film offered good bass, but I thought this aspect should have been stronger. In any case, the overall impression offered by the soundtrack of Charlie’s Angels was very pleasing, as the mix worked well for the material.
When we head to the extras, we start with a running audio commentary from director McG and cinematographer Russell Carpenter. Both men were recorded together for this screen-specific affair, a situation that seems unfortunate for Carpenter; McG is such a spaz that Carpenter rarely is able to get a word in edgewise. Often when Carpenter starts to speak, McG will cut him off to insert his own thoughts. Someone get that boy some Ritalin!
As a whole, the commentary offered a few good tidbits about the film, and it seemed generally entertaining, but I thought too much of it focused on the usual “happy talk” that weighs down many of these kinds of tracks. McG especially tended to lavish excessive praise on the actors and other participants. While that bodes well for his future employment, it doesn’t create a fascinating commentary. We hear enough interesting details to make the track worth a listen for fans of the film, but I still thought it was a pretty mediocre presentation.
(For the record, McG does touch upon some of the alleged feuds that took place on the set. However, don’t expect a graphic retelling. He offers a brief and superficial discussion of a disagreement between Bill Murray and Lucy Liu, but it becomes “G”-rated in his happy hands. No, I didn’t expect any gory details, but it probably would have been best for him to totally ignore the subject. If you’re not gonna give us the dirt, buddy, just leave the whole thing alone!)
We also discover a slew of featurettes. Rather than provide one all-encompassing documentary, the extras nibble away at a wide variety of smaller subjects in these short and fluffy programs. Probably the most superficial of the bunch is the first, Getting G’d Up, which discusses hyperactive director McG. This six-minute, 32-second piece features sound bites with a variety of cast and crewmembers plus some shots from the set. Almost invariably, the comments tend toward excessive praise, which is what makes a few more irreverent remarks from Bill Murray more enjoyable. It’s not much of a featurette, but Murray’s riffing helps make it more compelling.
Much better is the next program, The Master and the Angels. The seven-minute and 25-second featurette focuses on the work of fight choreographer Cheung-Yan Yuen and provides a nice look at those elements of the process. Especially interesting are all of the solid behind the scenes shots available in this featurette.
The next few programs each focus on different areas of the film. Welcome to Angel World (4:48) concentrates on production design, while Angelic Attire: Dressing Cameron, Drew and Lucy (3:25) looks at costuming for the main characters and a few others as well. Angelic Effects (6:45) provides a discussion of the film’s special effects. All are superficial but entertaining and interesting pieces.
More fun is Wired Angels, a raw look at the movie’s alley fight sequence. In this two-minute, 35-second piece, we see that scene prior to wire removal and with the natural production sound. It’s a cool way to view this aspect of the movie-making process.
Next up are three Deleted and Extended Scenes that last a total of four minutes, 42 seconds. We get a cut segment in which Bosley plays Marco Polo with Corwin (1:23), plus another edited sequence in which Dylan and Natalie are dressed as men; they toy with Corwin in a men’s room (1:33). The final scene is the only extended one; it shows additional romance between Dylan and Knox (1:46). Each of these includes an introduction from McG, and he provides some closing comments as well.
Outtakes and Bloopers prove to be a disappointment. All this two minute and 39 second clip offers is the same material found in the closing credits sans the actual text; even the song that runs over the credits remains the same, and it prevents us from hearing any additional audio snippets. Unfortunately, we find nothing new here, so I’m not sure what the point of this piece was.
Two music videos appear on this disc. We get a clip for “Independent Woman Part 1” from Destiny’s Child, and “Charlie’s Angels 2000” from Apollo Four Forty. Both videos follow the usual “clip-synch” formula; they combine shots of the respective acts performing the songs with snippets from the movie.
Both tunes and videos were pretty lame. The DC clip was probably better, as it at least showed a little creativity; we find some shots of the singers at “Angels Training Camp”. Nonetheless, the song was tired and grating, and the video showed no great flair. The A440 bit was a total loss. The tune is just an annoying update of the show’s theme, and the video just made the band members look like obnoxious imbeciles. By the way, these are the same guys who did the theme song update for Lost In Space - do they ever produce music that isn’t related to a movie based on a TV show?
Finally, we get a collection of Previews. We find ads for Stomp the Yard: Homecoming, The Back-Up Plan, Beastly, The Runaways and Damages. No trailer for Angels pops up here.
Ultimately, Charlie’s Angels provides a pretty entertaining experience. At times it tries too hard to be clever or witty, but for the most part it obtains a nice balance between over-the-top campiness and fun action. The Blu-ray offers terrific audio and a decent array of supplements, but the erratic picture quality disappoints. This ends up as a lackluster reissue simply because the transfer seems mediocre.
To rate this film visit the Superbit Deluxe review of CHARLIE'S ANGELS