Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by Elizabeth Banks
Written by Elizabeth Banks, Evan Spiliotopoulos, and David Auburn
Charlie’s Angels was a successful TV series back in the late 70’s. Then in 2000 we got a film with Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu. That film had a decent balance of action and comedy, and never took itself too seriously. Yet today we get a film that can’t seem to make up it’s mind so it falter son both fronts. Comedy is quite often difficult to manage for any film, and here we see many missed opportunities to really capitalize on some scenes instead of trying hard to be “mysterious” that it was just a mystery how such a mess became a film.
Here comes the spoilers.
The film opens with an establishing scene showing us Kristen Stewart seduce and entangle a bad guy who just constantly flirts with her even after she reveals herself to be a spy. We then get introduced to Ella Balinska’s character who is a former British spy who now works for the Townsend Agency. Patrick Stewart plays John Bosley is next seen retiring form the agency. Of course his turn as a bad guy is easily seen here. The film worked too hard to portray Elizabeth Bank’s character as the bad guy that you immediately know that a reversal is coming. First of many of the film’s mistakes. The use of a double twist would be best served if Patrick Stewart came to all the angels aid and convinced them that Bank’s character was the bad guy and had them put up a fight against her and the agency. The film should have had the angels fight against other angels in the final mansion scene. Adding in the complexity of the angels fighting against each other as well as the three angels trying to make sure the henchmen don’t kill anyone would be. Fine balancing act and allow time to showcase some humor and team action between the three instead of isolated member sequel yes which we get too many of. This alone should have been addressed better to show them all working as a team.
The film’s title opening is filled with a strong girl power message, but I felt it should have waited until later in the film. It felt somewhat out of place. I think when the film ended it should have shown girls from around the world doing amazing feats and accomplishments and transition to these images to close out to credits. Just a nitpick there, but having this in the beginning feels like they are trying hard to ingratiate themselves to the audience without the film building to it.
I personally would like to see the franchise try their hand at balancing comedy a bit better like the film “The Spy Who Dumped Me”. That is perhaps the closest film I could compare and contrast this film with that is recent. I personally think the idea of having the angels captured and Charlie having to reopen an old program called “Charlie’s Demons”. Would be an instant hit. Cast Dave Bautista, Chadwick Boseman, and Tony Jaa. Bautista plays a violent fighter and explosives expert who after years of battles has taken to a vow of non-violence and cuddles bunnies. Boseman plays a ladies man who is suave like James Bond, but now wants to settle down and have a family with his girlfriend. Jaa is a silent hacker and surveillance agent who has taken a vow of silence and the film recurring gag is the team trying to guess what happened. They get recruited to go in and save the day in spite of their issues. Boseman doesn’t want to cheat on his girlfriend , Bautista doesn’t want to kill anybody, and Jaa doesn’t speak. The characters issues would drive the comedy in such a film. So back to this Charlie’s Angels you didn’t have characters with distinctive enough backstories to make them compelling or humorous. This is how you can setup comedy in an action film. The writers here just couldn’t overcome these shortcomings of character development.
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