"Once upon a time, there were three very different little girls who grew up to be three very different women. But they have three things in common: They're brilliant, they're beautiful, and they work for me. My name is Charlie."
Once upon a time there was a very successful TV series
about three female private detectives. They worked for a mysterious man called Charlie who was never seen, and who called them his "Angels". Almost 20 years after the last episode aired, the franchise was revived as a pair of theatrical films
, set in the early 2000's
, with a new set of Angels.
It is worth noting that the movie series is not
a Continuity Reboot
of the series, but a continuation. These movies star Cameron Diaz
, Lucy Liu
and Drew Barrymore
as the Angels, with John Forsythe returning as the voice of Charlie. The first movie opened in the United States on October 22 2000. It grossed more than $125 million at the U.S. box office and grossed over $260 million worldwide. The sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
opened in the United States on June 27, 2003, and was number one at the box office for that weekend and made a worldwide total of more than $259 million.
The movies provide examples of:
- Absolute Cleavage: Some of Natalie's outfits.
- Action Girl: Well, obviously.
- Adorkable: Eric Knox is a "warm, fuzzy" kind of guy. It's all an act.
- Natalie also falls into this.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: It is somewhat of a Running Gag throughout the movies that Dylan always falls for the bad guy. Example: Eric Knox (who she sleeps with, although this is before she knows that he's the Big Bad) and the Thin Man (who was originally going to kiss Alex, according to the filmmakers, but they changed it to Dylan, in keeping with her lust for bad boys). In the second film, she also lusts after one of the villainous henchmen, and it is later revealed that, in her past, she was in a relationship with Seamus O'Grady.
- Amazon Brigade: The Angels
- Ass Kicking Pose: The second film is the Trope Namer.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: The Thin Man.
- Badass Biker: Natalie, Thin Man, Max, Randy Emmers, and Pink's cameo character.
- Big Bad: Eric Knox in the first movie, and Madison Lee in the second movie.
- The Cameo: In the second movie, rapper Eve and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen make cameo appearances (presumably as themselves) in Dylan's imagination (in which she imagines a future with an ever-changing Angel line-up). Other celebrities, playing different characters, also pop up for cameo appearances (LL Cool J, Pink and Carey Hart to name a few).
- Car Skiing: The first movie shows a flashback in which Natalie pulls one off during her driving exam. Establishing Character Moment for her Badass Driver and Improbable Piloting Skills.
- Call Back: Heaven, Must Be Filled With Angels plays at the start and end.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The three angels - Alex is often in black, Dylan in red and Natalie in White. Goes with them being a Blonde, Brunette, Redhead trio.
- Combat Stilettos: Mandatory equipment for any Action Girl or Dark Action Girl in these flicks.
- Continuity Nod: Kelly Garrett from the original series appears in the second movie, still being played by Jaclyn Smith.
- Dark Action Girl: Madison Lee and Vivian Wood.
- Depraved Bi Sexual: Eric Knox. It is Sam Rockwell, after all.
- The Ditz: Natalie has her moments.
- Doesn't Like Guns: The Angels never use firearms. This was on Drew Barrymore's insistence, because she was uncomfortable around firearms. Is given a continuity nod in the sequel when the Big Bad chuckles at their ass-kicking pose and remarks that back in her day, Angels used guns. Cue Dual Wielding golden Desert Eagles.
- Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: This happens a lot to Jason.
- Double Entendre: Natalie loves these (although she seems to make them unintentionally).
- The Dragon: The Thin Man is this for Eric Knox in the first movie.
- Dramatic Shattering: When Dylan encounters Seamus again for the first time in years, she drops the champagne bottle she's holding in shock and fear, causing it to shatter to pieces.
- Embarrassing First Name: Well, sort of — more like the entire name is embarrassing: in the second movie, it is revealed that Dylan Sanders used to be named Helen Zass (just say it out loud...), but had to change it after being placed in the Witness Protection Program.
- Endangered Soufflé: Alex tries to maintain a souffle while bad guys riddle her trailer with bullets. She fails.
- Face-Heel Turn: Madison Lee prior to the events of Full Throttle
- Fanservice: Very prominent, as it was in the original TV shows.
- Fetish: The Thin Man has a rather enthusiastic (and creepy) one for hair.
- GPS Evidence: Natalie is able to tell where the bad guys are by a bird's chirp in the background of a recording.
- Guns Akimbo: Taken up to downright ridiculous amounts in the second movie with Madison dual-wielding Desert Eagles (.50 Action Express for sure) and the Mongolian with two machine guns (not assault rifles or SMGs but one PKM and one MG42). See also Law of Inverse Recoil.
- Hair Flip: Used very often and very intentionally, to the point of parody.
- Heel-Face Turn: The Thin Man in Full Throttle.
- Hollywood Skydiving: The opening action scene of the first film.
- Jiggle Show: The original series was the Trope Maker, and the movies followed in its footsteps.
- Latex Perfection:
You crazy bastard! LL Cool J:
I think you mean 'crazy bitch
'. (Takes off mask to reveal Dylan)
- Lean and Mean: The Thin Man, hence the name.
- Lethal Chef: Alex. Her blueberry muffins are so rock hard that one of them ends up embedded in a door.
- Made of Explodium: Every bike that gets shot or falls over in the second film's dirt bike race scene.
- Male Gaze: The movies never shy away from booty focus. So much that the cast actually spoofed it in this video.
- The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Averted. Pete and Jason still stay with with Natalie and Alex respectively in spite of them having to constantly disappear on missions. By the time of the second film, both Pete and Jason are fully aware of their girlfriends' real jobs.
- Moonwalk Dance: When a number of Knox's goons attempt to take out Dylan, whose tied to a chair, Dylan describes to them, step-by-step, how she's going to knock each and every one of them out, and finish by moonwalking out of the room. Guess what follows?
- Motor Mouth: Lucy Liu's character.
- Mysterious Employer: Charlie. Pretty much the premise.
- Naked on Arrival: The Angels in Full Throttle.
- No Name Given: The Thin Man is only ever referred to as this (either that, or "Creepy Thin Man") for the first movie - the second movie, however, reveals that his real name is Anthony (his surname is not given, however).
- Precision F-Strike: When Natalie finds out that Vivian Wood is trying to kill the Angels, she calls her "an all-around bitch''. While there is plenty of mild swearing throughout the movie, having this particular one come out of Natalie's mouth shows just how shocked and angry she is. (The director even admits to wanting to tone it down to "brat".)
- Rare Guns: Handguns in both movies are Desert Eagles rather than not, including one that Bosley carves from a block of soap with his teeth in the first movie (never mind the Desert Eagle being more than twice as large as any piece of soap out there). Oh, and Madison has got two gold-plated ones.
- Redemption Equals Death: The Thin Man in the second movie (although, given what he was able to survive in the first movie, there is a lot of speculation that he may actually still be alive).
- Rule of Cool / Rule of Funny: Generally the tone of both films. Also, it's the only reason Bosley is able to make a gun out of soap.
- Sequel Non-Entity: Bosley is conspiciously absent (save for a photo on his family's wall) in the sequel, having been replaced by his adoptive brother. Despite the fact that Bosley appeared to be beloved by the Angels in the first film, here they never seem to miss him for even a moment — nor is his absence (and current whereabouts) ever explained.
- Although he was seen eating puffer fish in the first film...
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Although initial rumors persisted of Bill Murray not returning because of his friction with Lucy Liu during the first film, he actually turned the film down in favor of filming Lost in Translation.
- Shout-Out: In the first movie, the scene where Bosley is kept prisoner in the tower contains references to The Great Escape and Birdman Of Alcatraz. The "soap gun" is also a reference to John Dillinger's famous escape.
- Also, when Dylan falls into the garden of the house where two kids are playing games, it is actually the same house from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which starred a very young Drew Barrymore. Not only that, but an E.T. poster can also be found in this scene.
- Additionally in the second movie, Natalie's boyfriend, Pete, attended his high school reunion. At Rydell High.
- When the Angels visit the abbey in the second movie, "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music can be heard in the background.
- Slow Motion: Baywatch style.
- The Speechless: The Thin Man doesn't speak a word throughout the movie series. In the second film, it is revealed that he has been a mute since childhood (it is implied to be due to the trauma of losing his parents at a young age). He does make a valiant attempt to speak later on, but he doesn't manage to get the words out... and is stabbed before Dylan (and the audience) get to find out if he can.
- Tattooed Crook: Seamus.
- Troperiffic: Full Throttle. (Probably completely intentional.)
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers and marketing for Full Throttle played up Madison Lee's status as the Big Bad despite it being presented in the film as a surprise twist.
- The Voice: Charlie.
- With My Hands Tied: Dylan knocks out five bad guys (after describing in detail what she would do) while tied to a broken chair. Not that she wanted to, but her lighter failed to break her ropes while she was talking them up.
- You Killed My Father: In the first movie, Eric Knox wants to kill Charlie, as he (mistakenly) believes him to have killed his father.