It’s an odd thing how the nostalgia train always makes its rounds through the theatres. Pop culture from the 60’s and 70’s became hot films 30 years later and here we are in 2019 with the franchises of The Addams Family and Charlie’s Angels getting new iterations. It’s always fascinating to see how general audiences react to these reboots. Charlie’s Angels is a weird anomaly as it became a lightning rod of conversation. Let’s dig into this film and see what we can take away from the opening weekend gross.
The plot is pretty standard for the franchise: Sabina (Kristen Stewart) and Jane (Ella Balinska) team up with Elena (Naomi Scott) to track down a piece of technology Elena invented that could be weaponized with deadly consequences. At their side is Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) to help guide the operations and help out in the field when needed. For your typical action film this all works fine. We have our leads working together and there’s personal stakes as well. And let’s face it, action films don’t need to have heavy plots. So long as the story is coherent and integrates the action scenes it does the job. The plot is nothing special, but it works.
“I run a covert group of exceptional women.”
With the cast there are some major pluses and a few issues. The best of the cast are Balinska and Scott as both are charismatic and extremely likable. Stewart is fine, but out of the main trio she is the weak link. This was a huge disappointment as she has been killing it on the indie scene with films like Personal Shopper and Camp X-Ray. For some reason she was given some comedic moments and almost all of them go over like lead balloons. Banks was perfectly adequate in her mentor/ leader role, but the multiple Bosley idea (We’ll get to that shortly) felt unnecessary. Amongst the supporting cast are some great actors. I really dug both Sam Clafin and Luis Gerardo Mendez in their limited screentime. I was letdown by Djimon Hounsou’s extremely underused role while Patrick Stewart does the best with what he’s given.
Before I warp this up I did want to touch on the film’s very underwhelming box office performance. And while people including Banks herself have given their two cents for the films failure. I personally do not think it was one factor, but numerous that contributed to the $8.6 million opening. So let’s dig in.
“We work outside the rules.”
MARKETING: The film had some pretty bland trailers and not a whole lot of tie-in promotion.
RELEASE DATE: Pre-Thanksgiving is not a great place to open a film and has lead to some films not getting the gross they probably could have in on another weekend.
CAST: While the actresses are talented none of them have box office draw. Even Stewart (arguably the biggest name in the film) hasn’t had a huge hit since 2012.
FANBASE: Unlike other franchises from the 60’s and 70’s that have thrived and lived on I just don’t think Charlie’s Angels has fans to keep it going. The TV series reboot in 2011 lasted one season and only aired 7 episodes.
FANBASE #2: This was something that I found a bit annoying. Portraying Bosley as a codename could’ve been an interesting idea, but the reveal that Stewart was the original Bosley and in fact the main villain felt like a betrayal of the roots of the series. Maybe that’s a minor nitpick, but I’m sure some fans would be pissed.
“You are in the presence of angels.”
I look forward to what Elizabeth Banks does for her next film, but her sophomore directorial effort in spite of some fun moments was pretty average. In the end I’m sure a decade or so from now we’ll see Charlie’s Angels get another reboot and the cycle will continue.
Overall Score 2.5/5.