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Ten years out, the movie version of CHARLIE'S ANGELS ($20) is still more fun than you can shake a stick at. After all, how could you not like the big budget film version of the classic seventies TV series, especially when the movie pays homage to the jiggly original by having one of its leading ladies shake her scantily clad posterior at the camera in a gratuitous display of female sexuality. Of course, the movie version of CHARLIE'S ANGELS has a lot more going for it than three incredibly beautiful stars in skimpy outfits, but it's nice to see that the producers of this film haven't forgotten why viewers tuned into the original television series week after week, even if the movie’s approach is totally tongue in cheek. However, the real strength of this revamped version of CHARLIE'S ANGELS remains the fact that the movie offers spectacular stunt work, which is reminiscent of a James Bond adventure, as well as utilizing the same kind of gravity defying marital arts work that THE MATRIX borrowed from Hong Kong cinema.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu as Natalie, Dylan and Alex- three female operatives that work a high tech private investigations firm owned by the mysterious, reclusive Charles Townsend. Although his "angels" have never seen him, Charlie (voiced again by John Forsythe) maintains contact with the three women in his employ via telephone, and through Bosley (Bill Murray), who manages the firm's day-to-day operations. Although the plot concerns a kidnapped computer software mogul and a high tech communications satellite, in actuality it is little more than a launching pad that springs the film from one action sequence to the next. Fortunately, the movie doesn't take itself too seriously, with the script producing good-natured laughs on a regular basis. The three leading actresses are an absolute delight and seem to be totally enjoying themselves during every sexy, action packed moment they are on the screen. Bill Murray does his usual shtick- adlibbing his way to some really big laughs. The cast of CHARLIE'S ANGELS also features Sam Rockwell, Kelly Lynch, Tim Curry, Crispin Glover, Matt Leblanc, LL Cool J, Tom Green, Luke Wilson and Sean Whalen.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made CHARLIE'S ANGELS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. CHARLIE'S ANGELS features a truly knockout 1080p presentation that is bright, glossy, colorful and richly detailed. Image sharpness and dimensionality get top marks. Plus the picture is wonderfully well textured. Sure, there some odd shots that appear a tiny bit soft, but there is really nothing here that detracts from the good time presentation. Colors really tend to pop, while favoring the warmer end of the spectrum. Additionally, flesh tones look terrific. Blacks are dead on perfect and the whites are crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are generally excellent. The elements from which CHARLIE'S ANGELS has been mastered are virtually free from flaws. Modest grain is noticeable, and helps to maintain an organic quality for the presentation.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Like I said about the DVD, CHARLIE'S ANGELS features a kick-ass soundtrack, only now it is made even better thanks to the lossless encode. This is a dizzying, aggressively mixed action movie sound design, with plenty of split surround activity and good channel separation in the forward soundstage. Bottom line… sound effects ping pong from front to back and from left to right, then whip, pan and ricochet all over the sound field. Fidelity is quite excellent; the sound effects sound terrific, but the numerous retro pop and rock music tracks are the true highlight of this track. The bass channel is deep, percussive and provides all the bang the soundtrack requires. French and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks are also encoded onto the disc, as is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been ported from previous DVD releases. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director McG (Joseph McGinty Nichol) and cinematographer Russell Carpenter. The participants impart a lot of detail on the production, plus their talk is energetic, interesting and completely enjoyable. Featurettes and other programs include: Getting G'd Up focuses on the director and his work on set. The Master and the Angels shows the actresses preparing for the film's fight sequences with the help of martial arts chorographer Cheung-Yan Yuen. Welcome to Angel World takes a look at the film's production design. Angelic Attire: Dressing Cameron, Drew and Lucy covers the actresses' wardrobe, as well as that of Bill Murray. Angelic Effects looks at the film's extensive special effects work. Finally, Wired Angels shows a gravity defying martial arts fight sequence prior to having the wires digitally removed from the picture. Three Deleted/Extended Scenes are also included with a director's introduction. In addition to the deleted scenes, Outtakes and Bloopers are also present. Closing out the standard supplements are two Music Videos; first is for the song Independent Women Part 1 by Destiny's Child and the second is for Charlie's Angels 2000 by Apollo Four Forty. CHARLIE'S ANGELS is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Sony’s MovieIQ feature is available through BD-Live, which provides the viewer access to a continuously updated database of additional information about the film, its cast, crew and soundtrack, as well as other trivia.

Ten years later, the movie version of CHARLIE'S ANGELS remains an absolute blast! The Blu-ray presentation is a knockout and a worthwhile upgrade. Highly recommended.


Charlie's Angels [Blu-ray] (2000)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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