Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Review: Charlie's Angels (2019)

Charlie's Angels (2019)
Cert: 12A / 118 mins / Dir. Elizabeth Banks / Trailer

Arriving like an early, unannounced Christmas present from a relative you'd forgotten existed, the new iteration of 70s classic Charlie's Angels bursts onto November screens, a movie so thoroughly bland and ineffectual that I don't even have the energy to be angry about it.


Haha, I'm just kidding; yes I do. I've got to hand it to actor / writer / producer / director Elizabeth Banks. She's taken a franchise about which I had no feelings either way and made me despise it. Working transparently through a list of checkboxes, this reboot seems to be aiming for a tonal point somewhere between Mission: Impossible and Austin Powers, but ends up at Baywatch instead. I say 'reboot', but there are in-movie nods to both the original TV series and the 2000/2003 movies suggesting a canonical continuity, which is a nice touch. But that's not enough.

Considering the star-wattage of the cast list, the dimness on display here is quite an achievement. This film fizzes like a bin bag full of dead animals. Like it's been assembled by someone who's heard of lighthearted action-comedies but has never seen one. Working from a script apparently consisting entirely of placeholder dialogue, Naomi Scott throws herself into the proceedings with admirable abandon, Ella Balinska appears to be reading her lines for the first time and Kristen Stewart is miscast as usual. Elsewhere, Sam Claflin manages to get his shrieking out through a look of mortifying embarrassment, Patrick Stewart spends two hours wearing a badge which reads For The Money and of course Elizabeth Banks is there because there's no show without punch*1. The action setpieces themselves are well choreographed and shot. But that's not enough.


The film loops through a drawn-out, patronising cycle of Action Sequence > Outfit Change > Plot-point Exposition > Soulless Needle-drop, like being locked in Primark after hours while hiding from a hen party that are doing Stella and absinthe. Charlie's Angels is as visually, emotionally and artistically rewarding as being strapped to a chair and forced to watch all of BBC3's output simultaneously. There are noticeable rhythmic gaps in the screenplay which seem to have been left for the audience to fill with laughter, the main problem with this being that they aren't preceded with any jokes. I didn't think we'd get a worthy companion-piece to The Hustle this soon. I may have to go and see that godawful firefighter comedy now just to get this taste out of my mouth.

Still, it's some consolation to know that even Elizabeth Banks herself is suffering some disquiet over the movie. So that makes all of us.

Hey, her heart's in the right place.
But that's not enough.

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Although it's not C.H.i.P.s., obviously

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
It is not.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
It is not.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
That's possible.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: Elizabeth Banks is in this and she was in those Hunger Games movies with Woody 'Beckett' Harrelson.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 You can call that catty but her name appears on the poster three times, she's hard enough to take the fall for this one. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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