'Charlie's Angels' is one of the most defining movies of the 2000s. It's remembered for its iconic quotes, butt-kicking action and independent women. But why is this reboot so fondly remembered alongside other big 2000s franchises like 'X-Men: 20th Anniversary', 'The Lord Of The Rings' and 'Spider-Man'? Grab a coconut and flip your god-damn hair, because we are breaking down these feminist icons.
This worked, with both 'Angels' adaptations making the top 10 films of their respective years. If we go back to 2000 and look at the top fifty films of the year, we can see those "name-brand titles" starting to creep in, and if you go forward year by year, you see fewer and fewer original titles in the top 10. 2016 was the last year to have an original film crack the top 10, with all subsequent years being film adaptations. We'll touch on the 2019 'Charlie's Angels' later, but it's also a victim of both the 20-year rule and box office trends. However, the 2000s 'Angels' was its on its own 20-year cycle with the original TV series ending in 1981.
The 2000s 'Angels' wasn't made with a feminist angle like the '19 one. It was created with the idea of making a female 'Mission: Impossible', but the intention wasn't the same as modern female action films. Natalie, Dylan and Alex were just here to kick ass. This is part of why the 2000s 'Angels' works so much stronger, and inadvertently is more empowering, because it's not trying to elevate one gender, the Angels just got out and did what they had to do. We don't have male characters telling them "But you're girls!" or not taking them seriously; they are spies for a reason. The TV show 'Schitt's Creek' is often talked about as depicting positive LGBTQ+ representation, and it does this by removing homophobia and just letting people live their lives. 2000's 'Charlie's Angels' is similar by letting the Angels simply kick ass and not question their gender. It removes any kind of discrimination and, in turn, is more empowering.
2000's 'Charlie's Angels' was really the first time females weren't shamed for enjoying something stupid, and these movies are very, very stupid. The male gaze is all over these movies and while there is a lot, it's part of the reason these films where so successful, but I want to this to be a positive throwback piece and don't want to give that more time or attention. With 'Charlie's Angels', Barrymore produced all three films through her production company Flower Films, and Liu and Diaz did have a decent amount of say over certain things. From interviews, it does seem that they all just earnestly wanted to look hot, kick butt and have a blast - and I think they were highly successful with that.
For 'Charlie's Angels' to exist and be as successful as it was in the 2000 environment is something of a landmark. Even in 2020, any kind of female-led entertainment is rare.
Creation: The '76 'Angels' series was created as 'Jiggle Television", where TV shows were created to use women for their sexuality and see them "jiggle" - shows like 'Wonder Woman' and 'Baywatch' fall into this category too. Still, the show did actually create some form of empowerment for women at the time but also came with criticism. The show was syndicated after its run, and a lot of young children would catch episodes over the 80s and 90s, thus it became nostalgic and more and more culturally relevant.
Success: The next version of the 'Angels' is the 2000s film, which is easily the most successful and profitable. From doll lines, toy cars and the PlayStation 2 game, these Angels where everywhere - plus the film and its sequel both came in twelfth at the box office.
Failure: After 'Full Throttle', two more where films were in production, but quickly cancelled the following the year. While there was a 'Futurama' parody in 2007 with Lui reprising her role, the next version of 'Angels' wouldn't come till 2011 with a reboot series. It was met with terrible reviews and bad ratings - only seven of the eight filmed episodes aired in the U.S. and it made absolutely no impact (I'm sure this is the first time many of you are hearing about this series). After years of working out what to do next with the Angels, 2019 would be their next outing with a new line-up of girls: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska, with director Elizabeth Banks also playing Bosley. The film suffered, with the soundtrack being shoved down people's throats more than the film, and while audiences who saw it seemed to enjoy it - especially Stewart - it was a box office bomb. Like other 2019 ventures 'Men in Black: International', 'Terminator: Dark Fate' and 'Dark Phoenix', the film was another franchise that audiences didn't want more from. As for the future of the Angels, all sequels have been cancelled to 2019 film, which was set to be the start of a new franchise. 'The Drew Barrymore Show', held a reunion with the 2000s girls, and that has gone viral. Maybe one day we will get a reunion movie or even a big reboot - but for now, it's time for the Angels to rest.
Now that's kicking your ass.