By Tony Jin (Sydney)
It has been over 16 years since the last installment of Charlie’s Angels hit cinemas. Does the new and revamped version hold up to today’s audiences? The box office results point all signs to no while on a personal note; I believe it was perhaps the final major film for Elizabeth Banks as a director in a very long time. Performances from Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska, and Naomi Scott (the main cast) were at best lackluster and, at worst, as bland as sliced bread. I wouldn’t even recommend the movie to fans of the original series or films, a movie that is best forgotten and revisited by an entirely new crew in the distant future.
So where did it all go wrong? With A-list stars, a budget of around 50 million, and the legacy of successful previous installments, surely box office results would have been at least decent. The last two films were nowhere near critical acclaim, and I dare say just as poorly reviewed on Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and CinemaScore. Full Throttle (the second film) received over seven nominations for the worst film in the 24th Raspberry awards but still managed to make bank. So what was the difference? I believe it all points to how out of touch executive producers, directors, and, most importantly, Elizabeth Banks is. Although the Charlie’s Angles of the 2000s were atrocious movies, they still managed to make money, promote actors into A-list category projects, and are incredibly fun but mindless entertainment. The scene with Lucy Liu in her provocative suit attire whipping men into submission was undeniably hot. It sold on sex appeal, great choreography, and truly understood what men wanted, perhaps — scantily clad women in different roles sold to the request of a variety of men. People wanted sex appeal, and they got it.
Charlie’s Angels of 2019, however, tries to ride on the newfound wave of feminism, which, although a justly cause, doesn’t always sell on screen. People watch movies to escape reality, not to be grounded. If men wanted hot women slutting their way through a scenario, who’s to say they can’t enjoy that? Elizabeth Banks and her comment pointing blame on men for not wanting to watch women in action movies is just ignorant. Films such as Wonder Woman have proved otherwise, deflecting blame from the core issue that Elizabeth Banks doesn’t know what audiences want or is incapable as a director. From extremely poorly written scenes to just cringy forgettable one-liners, the movie is plagued from top to bottom.
The plot was outright confusing with poorly edited views clumped together like a child putting his assignment together 30mins before class started. One of the most confusing scenes is when *SPOILERS* Elizabeth Banks disappears from when things go wrong in the operation and leave the angels to die (she is however on their side). In Istanbul, Elizabeth Banks’s character drives around in an ambulance with no disguise and letting her blonde hair run wild, entirely out of style, just like Kristen Stewart playing as the only female jockey. The elements of espionage are not there; girls spying and using their skills in the deadly art of assassination or covert operations is something wholly thrown out. The original films had the girls dress up in over 20 outlandish costumes adding in an element of fun this film didn’t have.
The movie, like many others, lacked an understanding of what the audience wanted. The original two films were just fun to watch. Audiences came in knowing what they wanted, and it was delivered to them. This movie should have stuck to what made the originals successful as it completely disregards most elements, such as a decent script or bearable acting.
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