Charlie’s angels was a hit TV series in the 70’s. It was a detective/mystery show in which three girls, the ‘angels’ worked for a millionaire called Charlie whom they had never actually seen. It was very popular as it included sexy girls, the angels, with short skirts donning stylish clothes and hair. Although it can be said that for this reason it appealed to men; it also appealed to women as it made them yearn to be like these girls. The series was the first ever girl crime force and thus demonstrated feminism and ‘girl power’.
This would have been extremely popular among the women in that time. A remake was bound to be successful as women had earned more equality and were now very aware of what they could do with their new rights. Furthermore, the ‘girl power’ that came through on the TV series would come through with the film producing the same desired effect; permitting it to be very popular amid women, however now, to an even greater degree. Increasingly films and other various methods of girls and girl power were slowly diffusing into society. Examples of this are the Spice Girls and the film Independent woman.
The Old TV shows of Charlie’s Angels gained cult status. Stores that sell those videos or dvds would usually have a section dedicated to them. Also other TV remakes turned out to be very successful, like Mission Impossible. This gave more evidence to secure the theory of a remake of Charlie’s Angels being a success. Although Charlie’s Angels was assured to be a huge hit, a range of changes were made to make it relate to a modern day audience. The writers had to add aspects that people seek in films today; Comedy, special effects, action, suspense, sexy women and girl power.
Some features were already installed into Charlie’s Angels in the 70’s and these were the main foundations of the show. Nonetheless there was a huge difference in style. Comedy was added in an effort to attract the younger viewers and additionally special effects were added that could not have been added in the 70’s due to the technology. They thus had to change to provide for a modern day audience. The target audience is a vast scope and range of people expecting various things. The audience would initially expect sexy woman, action, suspense, special effects and glamour.
Fans of the 70’s TV show would be drawn to the film. As would girls and woman specifically due to the ‘girl power’ aspect. All the conventions mentioned above would attract mainly men as these are the qualities that they would look at in a film. These would appeal to men as they would be attracted to the sexy women as ‘Angels’ and in a modern day society would enjoy the action and fighting. In an effort to attract more men, the same people as the very successful film ‘The Matrix’ choreographed the fighting scenes. This would make the fighting scenes more intense and of which could include special effects.
Comedy would attract the younger viewers like teenagers. The glamour would most be recognised in the teenager section as well because of the fast cars and glamorous clothing which will affect fashion. A great contributing factor to the eventual success of Charlie’s Angels was the vast scope for its target audience. Firstly, the film starts with a camera rushing through clouds and into a plane. This is the establishing shot. As we now know the film is going to start on a plane,0 it infers and prepare the audience as whatever is happening is likely to be daring as well as dangerous.
This allows the stunt to be more action packed and exciting. This can additionally reveal more about the characters. Just as the camera rushes in the window it slows down and shows a long shot. This establishes the setting in reality, so it is in first person point of view and allows it to seem like you are there. During this music is played at an average pace and rhythm. This normal speed music combined with the talking in the background makes the whole thing seem more real. It feels like it the beginning of a song that is about to speed up and thus the film get more intense and exciting.
This indicates the film will become more interesting. The interior of the plane is all red which is very peculiar for an aeroplane. Red signifies danger so it specifies that things are going to become more interesting. The camera then has a close up of LL cool J. LL is a famous actor which gives the audience a hint that there may be more famous actors or actresses. The camera then starts to track him. This gives the sense of reality and realism. LL cool J sits down next to a man. He sees and old TV show called ‘TJ Hooker’ and makes a comment about how he hates the old TV shows.
This is also very ironic and comical as Charlie’s Angels also is a remake of an old TV show. This prepares the audience for comedy in the rest of the movie. the man eventually pulls out a bomb, the camera performs a fast zoom in on the bomb. The timer reads just less than a minute; at this point the music cleverly speeds up adding to the drama. These two things make the entire thing more enticing and exciting as the audience are left in suspense and do not know what is happening so are left pondering.
This allows the audience wanting many questions to be answered, for example, ‘how are they all going to survive’ ‘will they all die? . The fact that they are on an aeroplane, it leaves the methods of saving the aircraft and people on it very thin and thus the audience do not know what to expect. As there is less than a minute left on the timer, this means that the plane will never land on time so the only way is for the bomb, or the man with the bomb to jump or be thrown off the travelling aeroplane, this sets up the audience for immediate action this early on and thus lead to believe that there will be more later in the film. At this point the audience is primed for action.
LL stands up and grabs the bomber, he pulls the bomber off the plane, they spiral past the tail fin as the camera remains stationary. Fast dramatic rock music is played here. This has the effect of speed and the pace that the film is now going at. The audience become enthralled in the film and want to know what is going to happen next. The camera then starts to track them as they make their decent. As they fall, the camera zooms out and shows a long shot of them, This builds drama and is moreover to show the audience everything that is happening so they can witness how far up they are and what speed they are travelling at.
A shot from below is then executed and we subsequently see a black helicopter. During this, fast rock music is being played. This signifies action and makes the scene more exciting. A skydiver leaps out of the helicopter. We now have been introduced to two main characters and the bomber. The audience hence now get an idea about the characteristics of these characters and what their personalities are going to be like. Once they have landed on a boat, we see Cameron Diaz wearing a gold bikini. This represents the glamour in the film. She looks sexy and the make up has made her look near perfect.
This signifies one of the main elements of the film, glamour and sexy women and thus shows the audience that there is going to be plenty of it during the film. The comedy here is when LL turns into Drew Barrymore. This infers to the audience that there is going to be a comical theme to the film. There is a final three shot of the Angels riding away in the boat. The audience now get the impression that the three angels are very close and work as a team. As they speed off, heavenly music is played, this infers the angels angelic ways and again contributes in showing the angels personalities.
When the Angels are introduced, the silhouettes of the Angels move onto the screen. These silhouettes remind the viewers of the old TV series; as this was the same picture silhouette that was used at the beginning of the old TV series. While this goes on, and 80’s era music plays. This again reminds and draws the people who used to watch the old TV series. Reds, oranges and yellows are displayed on the screen. These were the main colours used at the beginning of Charlie’s Angels and represent the era of the time. This will entice the audience to expect that it will have the main foundation of the old TV series.
The camera illustrates a split screen. All the Angels are captured within a three shot with different colours, red, orange or yellow in the background of each. This represents danger and action. Charlie introduces them. By Charlie introducing them it shows he has power over them. Natalie is shown to be in a car driving rather comically on its side. It is quite ‘silly’ humour. This tells the audience that there is a comical nature to her. This facilitates her ‘clumsiness’. The audience could place her as a ‘baby’ type figure within the film. Alex is shown riding a horse. A song playing “I want money” is playing in the background.
It signifies that she is rich and comes from a somewhat wealthy family. It tells the audience that she might be the intelligence of the team. As the horse jumps, the camera moves under the horse showing a shot from below. This makes the horse look big and powerful, the fact that Alex is in control of the horse represents that she knows what she is doing and is very daring and ambitious. The camera diverts to her winning a trophy. This is a great achievement, it shows her doing great thing. This might indicate to the audience that she is very confident in herself and knows what she is doing.
Dylan is smoking and has a cast on her arm. This demonstrates that she is a rebel. Rebel, rock n’ roll music plays through this. This tells the audience a lot about the nature of her personality. The audience can then see that she has nerve and is not just a pretty face. She represents at this stage to the audience that she is the rebel of the team. The clips are like a snapshot into each of their personalities and helps the audience understand the characters. It illustrates that they have individual characteristics and additionally keeps the action going. The name and genre of the movie is reinforced.
Further clips of them are revealed when they are older. Dylan punches her senior in the army. This again reinforces what we already know about her character and that she has not changed much since her school days. The music played throughout this is less radical than her music when smoking. It expresses to the audience that she has grown up a bit but still maintains the foundations of her personality. Natalie is shown winning a quiz. This shows the audience that although shown to be a bit ‘silly’ earlier on, she is intelligent and has other qualities to her.
Alex is an astronaut. The audience would track their main belief previously about Alex, that she is very intelligent and learned. By revealing her in an astronaut outfit, it not only demonstrates that she went into space, but that she has accomplished plenty and is a risk taker. Music is played through this which keeps the action going. These combined effects prepares the audience for their individual characteristics that they will later use in their missions so the audience will get an insight into the figure they play within their missions.
In the titles, fire is raging in the surroundings. ‘Charlie’s Angels’ in words hastens onto the screen. There is a montage of shots from the old TV series. They continually show things from the old TV show as by doing this they infer what is going to be in the movie and thus prepares the audience for what they are likely to expect. After this initial opening, there is a triptych, which has a long shot of the Angels. This shows that the angels are strong and makes them look powerful. The Angels are shown in the old TV series story lines.
During this the theme of the old TV series is played. This incorporates the old and the new together to attract more attention and viewers. It furthermore helps the audience understand the characters taken from the old TV show. There is again a lot of reds, oranges and yellows. This for a second time demonstrates danger and action. An explosion occurs and the theme tune to the old series of Charlie’s Angels commences to play. This shows that even with all this new things that have been added and that the audience just witnessed, the foundations of the old TV show are still there.
As we have already seen ironical comments made by LL cool J and we see him to reveal himself as Drew Barrymore; the audience acknowledge that the film is going to contain humour.. Natalie also adds to the comical aspect of the film and we now know that her character is going to be amusing. Although it is going to be comical, they additionally know that the film is going to contain plenty of action due to the opening action scenes, the colours of red, oranges and yellows combined with fire and metal. As well as the triptych of the three angels fighting.
If they are a fighting force than the audience know that there must be something that they have to fighting against. Throughout the film, there are various action and stunt scenes. These stunt scenes make sure that the audience are still engrossed in the movie and that the do not let the audience drift of by having perfectly timed each stunt and action scene during the film. The Angels are often shown close up. This is perhaps to capture the sexiness of them via hair-flicks and smiles. The hair-flicks furthermore create the theme of ‘girl power’, they are sexy and very feminine.
Moreover they can fight and are powerful. The camera sometimes shows a close up so that you can see true emotions. If there is a tense scene than the camera may perhaps show a close up of each of them generating suspense. There is humour later in the film but not as much as it demonstrates in the beginning sequences. The humour that is produced throughout is ‘dry’ humour and is wholly incorporated into the story line which gives little leeway for reality and humour as it is supposed to be an action/detective film.
In the opening sequence of Charlie’s Angels we see some of the conventions of the original Charlie’s Angels. These are firstly, the action and danger we see in the triptych and the fire with various colours in relation to reds and oranges. Charlie being the powerful leader of the Angels. He is again the one who is looked upon with respect and is thought by the audience to be all powerful. The conventions of the three sexy girls and girl power prevail also. We see them undertaking fighting moves before the triptych and thus see girl power.
A mixture of techniques are used to demonstrate their sexy nature. Hair-flicks are used most commonly and a sly grin afterward. This shows that they are not only sexy but enjoy being sexy and powerful. I think the director has been most successful in building up tension, excitement and entertainment in the audience by combining the sexy woman with action and special effects. With this combination it makes the audiences feel good when the three Angels are ‘defeating’ people but feel sorry for them when they are being ‘beaten up’ because they are women.
It gives a entirely different outlook on a action and detective film when it is starring sexy women. Nobody has ever done it before in a film, it was a new experience. In conclusion, I think that no one reason can be singled out to be more largely accused of helping Charlie’s Angels successful. It was released at the right time, with the right ‘ingredients’ and with famous actors. All reasons are just as important as the others and possibly if you lost any of the ‘ingredients’ of the film than it might not have been such a hit.