Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Most of the time, I felt the movie looked pretty good, but the picture displayed a mix of moderate concerns I didn’t expect in a brand-new flick.
Much of the movie seemed nicely detailed and crisp, but more than a few exceptions occurred. At times, the film appeared somewhat soft and ill defined. Those tendencies weren’t extreme, but they caused some mild distractions. No issues connected to jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, but some edge enhancement appeared along the way. The amount of EE seemed tough to define because at least a few of the haloes showed up in the source material. For example, those outlines were noticeable during theatrical screenings of the film in the bike race sequence and seemed to be an artifact of the filmmaking process. Obviously I can’t criticize the transfer for those, but other examples seemed to be more obvious representations of actual edge enhancement.
While the movie lacked any signs of print flaws, some DVD-related concerns did appear. The image looked a little noisy at times, especially during some of the murkier shots. The scene in which the Angels investigate the Caufield murder presented some of the biggest problems. It came in heavy red lighting, and that demonstrated some artifacting pretty clearly.
Colors seemed generally positive, though Throttle lacked the vivacity of the original. The palette remained just as broad and varied, but the tones often seemed a little pale at times. As noted, the red lighting at the murder scene was a bit heavy and messy. Most of the hues were vivid and distinct, but they didn’t quite leap off the screen like I expected. Blacks were effectively dense and deep, though, and low-light shots seemed well developed. Ultimately, my complaints about Full Throttle were fairly minor. Enough of them occurred for me to know my grade down to a “B”, but it still looked pretty good.
On the other hand, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Full Throttle presented a more consistently satisfying affair. As one might anticipate, the flick offered a consistently lively and active soundfield. Given the dominance of the action sequences, we got many opportunities for the use of all five channels, and the movie mostly took good advantage of these. Elements seemed accurately placed within the environment, and they melded together neatly. The surrounds kicked in with a lot of effective audio. Bullets whizzed by cleanly, explosions filled all the speakers naturally, and the track generally kicked the movie to life well.
Audio quality was perfectly fine. Speech always came across as natural and crisp, and I noticed no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess. Music seemed dynamic and taut. Some of the rock songs sounded a little compressed, but the score was always bright and vibrant, and the music generally presented a satisfying punch. Effects blasted nicely. Those elements were accurate and clean, and they showed solid bass response when appropriate. Ultimately, the audio of Full Throttle delivered a powerful and involving soundtrack.
One audio-related note: the movie uses a lot of subtitles, but the DVD replaces the burned-in text with ugly superimposed subtitles.
This special edition release of Full Throttle packs a fairly extensive set of extras. We open with a telestrator commentary from director McG. We’ve seen this format used sporadically in the past for flicks such as Men In Black. It didn’t add much to that presentation, and it doesn’t do much for Full Throttle either. The telestrator remains a gimmick, and a fairly pointless one at that.
As a straight commentary, McG presents a decent affair. He talks almost non-stop, which is a move in the right direction. He covers many topics connected to the movie such as its visual look, working with the actors, issues on the set, effects, stunts, and story decisions. Unfortunately, he peppers this with a higher than average amount of happy talk, as McG frequently lavishes praise on the film and all involved. He also often tends to simply narrate the story. Enough good information appears here to make it a decent listen, but it’s generally a pretty average commentary.
A more traditional audio commentary comes from writers John August, Cormac Wibberley, and Marianne Wibberley. All three sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. This proves to be a surprisingly interesting and entertaining track. They talk about all the permutations through which the script meant, which means we learn a lot about abandoned concepts and variations. They also relate some general behind the scenes information, and those points occasionally repeat notes from McG’s track. The piece periodically sags a bit as well, especially during the film’s second half. Nonetheless, there’s more good than bad to be found here, and the writer’s commentary is mostly a good one. (By the way, you’ll want to stick it out through the end credits, as the speakers include a surprising amount of useful material at the film’s conclusion.)
Another option to accompany the movie appears. The Angel-Vision Trivia Track presents a slew of factoids related to the film via the subtitle stream. This works like most others in the genre as it provides information about the cast, crew, and different elements. For example, we get notes about the history of Sex Wax and the Witness Protection Program. It’s a pretty mediocre affair, especially because the information peters out as the movie progresses and only pops up infrequently.
“Angel-Vision” also adds an interactive option; when a speakerphone icon appears on screen, hit “enter” to watch short pieces about the flick. Each of these five clips focuses on location work. We see shots from the CSI house, the Playboy Mansion, San Pedro Harbor, the El Carmen Restaurant, and the Griffith Park Observatory. The snippets last between 50 seconds and 110 seconds for a total of six minutes, 45 seconds of footage. The El Carmen one’s good because it elaborates on a guest appearance, but otherwise, these aren’t terribly illuminating.
After this we receive a slew of featurettes. Turning Angels Into Pussycat Dolls runs four minutes, 54 seconds as it shows movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. (All of the featurettes use the same format.) We hear from McG, actors Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Autin, and Carmen Electra. We learn a little about the origins of the Dolls and their use in the movie. It doesn’t give us a great deal of info, but it’s pretty sexy, so who cares?
In Rolling With the Punches, we find a six-minute and six-second clip that focuses on the flick’s stunts. We get notes from McG, Liu, Diaz, Barrymore, Demi Moore, Crispin Glover, Justin Theroux, martial arts specialist Cheung-Yan Yuen, and producer Nancy Juvonen. It tends to be somewhat puffy, as we hear how much work the actors put into their stunts, but it adds some good insight into the procedures, and the material from the set offers interesting glimpses of the processes.
Next we find XXX-Treme Angels, a nine-minute and four-second look at the flick’s motocross sequence. We hear remarks from McG, Liu, Diaz, Barrymore, Juvonen, production designer J. Michael Riva, executive producer Patrick Crowley, second unit director/stunt coordinator Mic Rodgers, motocross stunts/camera Rich Taylor, stunts Trevor Vines and Ryan Hughes, doubles Mike Metzger, Chris Gosselaar, second unit stunt coordinator Chris Tuck, “XXX-Treme” looks at how they selected the location, different forms of motocross, and bringing the scene to life. It’s a good examination of the methods used for the scene and it adds to our understanding of the work.
The DVD’s longest program, Full Throttle: The Cars of Charlie’s Angels runs 17 minutes and 49 seconds as it examines the flick’s vehicles. It includes statements from McG, Moore, Mic Rodgers, picture car coordinator Cyril O’Neil, transportation coordinator John Orlebeck, Beverly Hills Maserati president Giacomo Mattioli, first assistant director Mark Cotone, special effects supervisor Matt Sweeney, “Miss Bigfoot” driver Dan Runte, It covers the variety of vehicles and their use in the flick in a concise and entertaining manner.
After this comes Designing Angels: The Look of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, a seven-minute and 25-second look at the flick’s visuals. McG, Liu, Theroux, director of photography Russell Carpenter, visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson, production designer Riva, costume designer Joseph G. Aulisi, and location manager Kenneth Lavet. It gets into costumes, cinematography, locations and other visual elements. It’s a bit too short to be very useful, but it tosses out a few decent notes.
For details on some day-to-day work, we go to Learn Why: There’s No Such Thing As a ‘Short Shot’, Only an Overworked Producer. The eight-minute and 49-second piece involves information from McG, production designer Riva, executive producer Patrick Crowley, location manager Lavet, visual effects supervisor Stetson, and first assistant director Cotone. They discuss logistics, scheduling, and budget concerns for a large-scale flick like this. It’s another unspectacular but generally interesting program.
Angels Makeover: Hansen Dam goes into the work done for the film’s big opening sequence stunt. In the four-minute and five-second piece, we hear from Riva, Stetson, lead matte painter Ivo Horvat, matte painter Joshua Geisler-Amhowitz, and computer graphics supervisor Daniel Eaton. They get into the challenges involved in fabricating a Mongolian dam in California along with some computer work. It’s a decent little examination but it lacks much detail.
The final featurette, Dream Duds: Costuming an Angel gives us a four-minute and 10-second look at the flick’s outfits. Unlike the other programs, it includes no interviews. Instead, it shows clothes from the final movie along with conceptual sketches and some behind the scenes pictures. It’s moderately interesting but nothing special.
Up next is a Music Video for “Feel Good Time” by Pink Featuring William Orbit. The clip mostly uses the standard mix of movie clips and lip-synch material, but it does so in a slightly more creative than usual manner to create an alternate storyline that involves the singer. It’s not great, but it’s a little more interesting than most in the genre.
A form of chapter search appears via Full Throttle Jukebox. This displays the 13 pop songs that show up in the movie and lets you jump straight to those tracks. The Cameo-Graphy follows suit and allows you to led immediately to any of the 13 guest stars.
The DVD includes a slew of trailers. We find ads for Full Throttle, the first Angels flick, Bad Boys II, Mona Lisa Smile, Something Gotta Give, and S.W.A.T.. After this come filmographies for director McG, writers John August, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley, and actors Diaz, Barrymore, Liu, Moore, Mac and Glover.
Lastly, we find some DVD-ROM materials. We find a link to some “Animated Webisodes”; these cartoon Angels adventures. We also get connections to the Full Throttle website plus “Shop the Scene”, where they peddle Angels merchandise. A final ink sends us to an “exclusive” demo for an online game called “Angel X”. None of these features adds much to the set.
After a surprisingly lively and amusing original, I had high hopes for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Unfortunately, the flick provides only sporadic entertainment at best, as its charms become overwhelmed with bombast and flash. The DVD presents decent but unexceptional picture along with excellent sound and a nicely engaging set of supplements. Full Throttle might merit a rental from fans of the first movie, but I can’t recommend more than that for this disappointing offering.