Charlie's Angels

The three female characters are meant to embody positive role models for women.

Based on the ’70s hit show and 2000s classic films, “Charlie’s Angels” was released in theaters Friday. While there were some differences between the original productions and the new movie, there are plenty of similar aspects as well such as Charlie recruiting specific women to work for him because he sees potential.

Elena (Naomi Scott) is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate working as tech support for a sustainable energy and technology company who feels like she’s underestimated because she’s a woman. In a programming error, she realizes the company’s newest invention can be used as a weapon. She reaches out to the Townsend Agency for help in keeping the product safe and out of the hands of evil. Elena must work with two of the “Angels” (Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska) to reprogram the technology before it’s used for murderous purposes.   

For those who’ve seen remakes of the “Charlie’s Angels” saga, this movie fits in perfectly. The series is known for being action-packed, so the audience may not be surprised to see the many fight scenes throughout. The writers stick with the theme of having the Angels do mostly hand-to-hand combat but did give the Townsend Agency more guns and gadgets than it’s had in the past. They’ve also kept the concept of the Angels going out in disguise. In one scene, Elena enters a room filled with costumes, wigs and adapted accessories to use in the field. This could be a nod to the spy film tradition — most notably in James Bond movies — of the presentation of powerful, yet handy gadgets. There was also a possible second nod to Bond by having a character named Mr. Fleming, to recognize Ian Fleming, who wrote the series. 

However, here are some differences. In older productions, the Angels always had a male sidekick nicknamed “Bosley.” Throughout the 70s’ television series, Tom Bosley was played by David Doyle. The Charlie’s Angels films released in 2000 and 2003 had Bill Murray and Bernie Mac play the role of Bosley. Over the years, it’s become a Townsend position rather than a specific character. This film kept the beloved title but chose Elizabeth Banks for the part and had her character be the first Angel to take the position.

The soundtrack is all original songs, but unfortunately, the movie doesn’t include the classic “Charlie’s Angels” theme song that previous productions included to make it more modern. Since there’s a 19-year difference between the three movies, the visual effects have dramatically improved, making the explosives and extreme action sequences seem more realistic. 

Plus, the Los Angeles Townsend headquarters’ interior design has been different in every movie. The latest design was the largest and most technologically advanced, which fans may find interesting. The newest installment of the Angels also brings their crime fighting to an international level for the first time.

The theme of the new “Charlie’s Angels” is female empowerment. The movie’s very first line is Stewart’s on an undercover date explaining that women are capable of doing anything they want. To go along with this theme, there’s less romance in this movie compared to the 2000s films. 

In an effort to help Elena, the two Angels are brought together from different globally located headquarters. They’d worked together briefly in the past but didn’t get along. By the end of the film, all three girls build a strong relationship as unlikely friends. There are subtle nods throughout the film to women helping women, such as when the Angels donate a van full of supplies to a person running a women’s shelter. 

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The theme is followed behind-the-scenes, as well. Joseph McGinty Nichol has directed the two previous “Charlie’s Angels” movies, and Allen Baron directed the show in the ’70s. This time, Banks directed, making her the first woman to direct any “Charlie’s Angels” production. This shows that the writers and producers stayed true to the idea of female inclusion and sisterhood.

Even though it probably won’t win any awards because it doesn’t have an Oscar worthy feel while watching, “Charlie’s Angels” is definitely worth a trip to the theater and is a great choice  girl’s night out. It’s action-packed, empowering and may have viewers on the edge of their seats. The film’s made up of several plot twists and famous cameos and includes some early end credit scenes. It carries on the “Charlie’s Angels” tradition that women are often underestimated by men.

Contact Gracie Brogowski at brogowsx@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.