Charlie's Angels is a franchise that started as a television show in 1976. From there, three films have been made as adaptations of the television show. The 2000 film starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu was generally more well-received than Elizabeth Banks's 2019 film, though both films have low ratings on a number of film sites.
In spite of these lower ratings, the flop at the box office, and Elizabeth Banks's controversial remarks regarding the flop, her film is generally a lot better than McG's 2000 film. However, there are some things that the latter film did that Elizabeth Banks's film could not possibly replicate. Here are the seven reasons Elizabeth Banks's film is better than the 2000 film, and 3 reasons the 2000 film is better.
10 Elizabeth Banks: Kristen Stewart's Performance
After her performance in the Twilight franchise, audiences love to hate Kristen Stewart. However, she has proved herself to be a talented actress, and her performance in the Charlie's Angels film is no different. In the film, she plays Sabina, who is rebellious and a little clumsy, but still a force to be reckoned with.
Stewart's character has several moments of comic relief, but she also is able to keep up with the seriousness of the action. While all three Angels in the film are played by very talented actresses, Stewart steals the show.
9 Elizabeth Banks: The Soundtrack
While the 2000 film does have a great soundtrack filled with 1980s and 1990s hits, Elizabeth Banks utilizes modern music to appeal to a modern audience. The 2000 film's soundtrack pales in comparison. The 2019 film soundtrack features artists such as Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Chaka Khan. The film even features an instrumental version of "Nobody Speak" by DJ Shadow and Run the Jewels, though that song is not listed on the soundtrack.
Furthermore, the soundtrack primarily features women artists. There are a few exceptions, but even the tracks that feature men artists are still collaborations with women artists.
8 2000 Film: Nostalgic Fight Scenes
While Elizabeth Banks's film also had good fight scenes, the 2000 film's fight scenes were better. The film utilized special effects that resembled effects from older and cheesy action films. For example, when Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore), and Alex (Lucy Liu) first fight the Thin Man, the women are able to float in the air for unreasonable amounts of time and their movements look choppy.
These scenes, especially for today's audiences, bring a feeling of nostalgia for such older films. Also, the cheesy effects in the scenes make for a good laugh, especially since it is so noticeable in comparison to today's more advanced special effects.
7 Elizabeth Banks: The Angels Are An Agency
In the 2000 film, it is implied that Natalie, Dylan, and Alex are the only Angels and Bosley is the only Bosley. Elizabeth Banks expanded on this and created an entire agency made up of Angels and Bosleys. Like any spy organization, they recruit people, namely women in this case, and send them on undercover missions.
Expanding the Angels to become an agency allows for Elizabeth Banks, and others, to tell their own stories within the Charlie's Angels Universe, which means audiences get to see more strong women do awesome things.
6 Elizabeth Banks: Angels Are Promoted To Bosleys
Along the same vein of the Angels being turned into an agency, Angels do not age out of the agency but rather get promoted to Bosleys and oversee other Angels. This aspect of Elizabeth Banks's film can be seen as her way of addressing the ageism that comes from Hollywood, particularly the spy genre. While Banks did not overtly say this, she did say in an interview with Stephen Colbert that she wanted former Angels to be seen as useful even if they were "too old" to be in the field.
Also, it provides former Angels, now-Bosleys to still work for the Agency and put their skills to good use, much like Elizabeth Banks's character in her film.
5 2000 Film: The Relationship Depicted Between The Angels
In Elizabeth Banks's film, in spite of each being welcoming to Elena (Naomi Scott), Sabina and Jane (Ella Ballinska) are initially hostile toward each other with no clear reason. The three eventually bond and become friends, but the initial hostility does not add to the positive depictions of women Banks says she was going for.
On the other hand, in the 2000 film, the Angels are friends from the start and never have a conflict with each other. Alex and Dylan even help Natalie flirt with a bartender (Luke Wilson) while they are on a mission. While there are many issues in the film's portrayal of women, the Angels' relationship with each other is not one of them.
4 Elizabeth Banks: Positive Queer Representation
In the 2000 film, the only depiction of an overtly queer character occurs in the beginning. One of the flight attendants is flamboyant, typical of an early 2000s film's depiction of a gay man. Aside from enforcing stereotypes, Dylan, disguised as an African man (which is also problematic) emphasizes the word "straight" to the flight attendant while ordering a drink, implying hostility.
In Elizabeth Banks's film, Sabina is depicted as queer. Sabina's queerness is not a big part of the plot, but adds some comic relief when Sabina wanted to hit on a woman at the gym, but could not because of the mission at hand. Even though her queerness was used for comic relief, it was done so in a way that did not degrade the character or her sexual orientation. Also, Laverne Cox was featured as a bomb instructor during a post-credits scene, adding to the inclusivity of the film.
3 Elizabeth Banks: The Women Aren't Fetishized
The 2000 film is filled with (clothed) boob and butt shots of the three Angels. Furthermore, there is a scene in which Alex, disguised as a masseuse, massages Roger Corwin's (Tim Curry) back by walking on him. In this scene, there is an approximately thirty-second sequence in which she rubs her foot on his face, and the camera is very focused on this action. The entire sequence is very unnecessary and adds nothing to the film.
While in Elizabeth Banks's film, the actresses who play the Angels are very beautiful and the characters use their looks to their advantage in missions, none of the women are overly sexualized.
2 2000 Film: The Office Scene
In the 2000 film, there is a scene in which the Angels go undercover as a motivational speaker and her subordinates in order to infiltrate the Redstar Headquarters. There, Alex, who is posing as the motivational speaker, gives a presentation to men who work in the technology department.
Alex is fetishized in this scene as she wears leather and acts similarly to a dominatrix, but, unlike the other instances of fetishization, the scene is comical. Elizabeth Banks's film, while funny, does not have a scene that compares to this one. This scene would likely have been impossible to recreate successfully.
1 Elizabeth Banks: It Was Written And Directed By A Woman
On top of starring in the film, Elizabeth Banks also wrote and directed the film. Having a woman direct the film gave way for an overall better depiction of strong women than most men, especially the 2000 film's director McG, can ever depict.
Even with the initial hostility discussed earlier, none of the women turn against each other by the film's climax, and the women are shown as eagerly working together to ensure their mutual success. The film overall is a celebration of women and their strengths, rather than an exploitation of them and their bodies.