New female forward "Charlie’s Angels" falls flat

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Courtesy IMDb | The Daily Wildcat Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart), Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott) and Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) star in “Charlie’s Angels” (2019).

If you’ve been looking for something to numb your brain for two hours, “Charlie’s Angels” might be for you. 

“Charlie’s Angels” is one of those movies that quite obviously has an agenda. Director Elizabeth Banks’ attempted to reinvent the misogynistic and stereotypical classic from the ‘70s into a more inclusive 2019 piece that was definitely not something to sneeze at. 

In terms of making a female-empowered reboot, Banks nailed it. The Angels are now an all-female organization that spans across the globe. Kristen Stewart’s character Sabina is LGBTQ+, and the main character is a female programmer. In terms of feminism and 2019 inclusivity, it checks all the boxes. 

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Ella Balinska is Jane Kano n “Charlie’s Angels” (2019).

Unfortunately, the movie was bogged down by clichés and predictability, and the female-forward message is clouded by the movie’s failures. 

Our main character Elena, played by Naomi Scott, is a programmer who graduated top of her class at MIT (female empowerment, check). Her dilemma? She knows her company’s product Calysto, a voice-controlled device that runs housing electrical systems, can be weaponized into an explosive device if put into the wrong hands. Oh, and her boss is an asshole. 

After she receives the good old “be a quiet, small woman, and do your job” with a side of workplace harassment, she ends up entangled with our two Angels  Jane (Ella Balinska) and Sabina.

I wish I had more to say about the plot, but the reality is you can probably predict the climax without even seeing it. It follows the formula of a Bond movie, but with the infused female flavor of scenes like a spy-weapon makeover. You can, however, expect to see some very cute spy glasses and handbags as well as tranquilizer mints.

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Though the dialogue left a lot to be desired, the acting fell short in places. Stewart’s one facial expression might have been enough for the “Twilight” series, but in a high-intensity film like “Charlie’s Angels,” she comes off as clunky and somewhat, well, annoying.

However, Stewart’s failures are almost made up for by Balinska’s performance as Jane, exactly the kind of mysterious, capable and badass female spy the movie deserves. If you just want to bask in the presence of beautiful women for two hours, get your tickets now; that’s one aspect of the ‘70’s classic that the revamp nailed. Being female myself, I left the theater with a vague jealousy of Balinska’s abs and a sudden urge to sign up for kick-boxing classes. 

The special effects need a heavy dose of suspension of belief, and the fight sequences are often nausea-inducing and way too long. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate the appearance of the ‘70s bowl cut utilized as a disguise for our three female leads — a true homage to the era of the original series. If you’re looking for ‘70s nostalgia, however, the bowl cuts are as far as you’ll get. 

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The feature soundtrack is one of the movie’s high points. I challenge you to not bob your head to at least one of the girl-power anthems. Across the 11 tracks, it’s hard to name one noteworthy female artist of the last five years that isn’t featured on this album. Are the songs fluffy and mindless? Yes, but songs like “Don’t Call Me Angel” and “How It’s Done” cranked up at full blast in the car are satisfying and saucy. 

Ultimately, the music is a good accompaniment to the feminist message the movie was trying to accomplish. Oh, and if you’re looking for a club-style remix of the iconic “Charlie’s Angels” original theme song for your next frat party, look no further. 

The bottom line is, Charlie’s Angels is exactly what you’d expect a reboot of this sort to be: predictable and corny in places, but isn’t that what we all need sometimes? 




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