In this year of non-stop movie reboots we are still far from free. With the recent trailer release for Charlie’s Angels reminding us that Hollywood is refusing to give up on recycling our favorite stories. Actually, this new film is said to be a sequel not a reboot, but let’s be real these terms are just technicalities used to try and control our anxieties about reboots. Yet, while I think it’s safe to say most of these revivals have been disappointments, we can still hold out hope that the coming features are at least entertaining.
The almost three-minute preview gives us a speedy rundown of this new updated version of the story as the trio of lady spies still work for the mysterious Charles Townsend, who has expanded his agency onto a global scale, recruiting the bravest and most skilled women and assigning them the most difficult security cases internationally. The Angels in question, Jane (Ella Balinska), Sabina (Kristen Stewart), and Elena (Naomi Scott), are tasked with protecting a programmer who blew the whistle on some dangerous technology which could be weaponized if put into the wrong hands. Right off the bat, this scientist-with-dangerous-information plot, an idea which dates back to films in the 1940s, is so over-done it’s hard to even get into the trailer from that point on. But I digress.
Brushing past this underwhelming story line, there seems to be plenty of worthwhile action sequences that could potentially keep things interesting. But that might even be enough to save it. When the original Charlie’s Angels tv show premiered in 1976 it was revolutionary and attention-grabbing to show women being these dangerous spies and fighting men, but it’s been over forty years since then and we’ve had plenty of other girl-power fighting sequences flooding our feeds and it isn’t enough to build a series on anymore. Even the two reboot films in 2000 and 2003 felt a little played out with that theme, but they were the definition of kitsch fun and they had a killer Destiny’s Child soundtrack to fall back on. “Don’t Call Me Angel” is catchy but there’s no same guarantee here.
In an earlier interview, Kristen Stewart describes the new film as a “woke” version of the past series, one that will feature more scenes of women being inventive instead of the traditional bikini shots Charlie’s Angels are known for. Now that’s encouraging to hear, but this is the post #MeToo era and feminism has gone just a little further than that. It’s hard to sell us on another installment of the Angels when real-life women are out here trying to be Charlie instead.
Ultimately, much like it’s sister-series, James Bond, this drama is struggling against it’s dated origins to produce a fresh take on a story line that is less and less interesting as the years pass. It doesn’t help that the trailer featured a wardrobe scene, a dance sequence, and a flirtatious relationship, all of which are tell-tale signs of the past productions in which they awkwardly attempt to cross a classic action movie with a rom-com instead of just letting women be regular action heroes. A lot of red flags here guys.
That being said, Elizabeth Banks did write, produce, and features in the film as one of the Bosleys’, and being as talented as she is, there is still reason for good faith. The film is well cast, with Kristen Stewart definitely delivering as an ever-adapting and inventive spy in a performance that could just make the whole movie. Really, all we can do is just hold out and hope the writers did right by them.
Overall, from the trailer, we can guess that if you are a previous Charlie’s Angels fan, the new film probably won’t deviate too far from its current brand and you will probably be pleased with this new movie. If you’re not already a fan and you’re just looking to watch a movie, this does look like a fun, sort of wacky, action movie to get wrapped up in. But if you were hoping for some modern feminist rebrand of the trio, or some daring new adventures that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you will probably be disappointed. However, we will suspend all final verdicts until the Charlie’s Angels movie is officially released this November 15th. Keep your fingers crossed.