The Early 00s Nature of Charlie’s Angels

The early 00s was a particularly distinct time in the world of film. Movies like Josie and the Pussycats, Two Can Play That Game and Glitter were just some of the titles that managed to eke by on the green light. Charlie’s Angels, released just at the turn of the century in 2000, seemed to foretell how the United States wanted the decade to be: Glitzy, technologically savvy and effortlessly nonchalant in the face of pressure. The reality of how the decade turned out, as we now know, turned out to be much different. But in 2000, Charlie’s Angels was the pinnacle of hope and promise.

Like the angels themselves, the 00s were supposed to be fun and breezy
Like the angels themselves, the 00s were supposed to be fun and breezy
Modeled after the show, which came out in a similarly shifting and awkward time in 1976 when the U.S. was still in an economic toilette, the film mirrors the series in its sense of buoyancy in contrast to the uncertain time it was created in. Released the Friday before the infamous 2000 election, Charlie’s Angels seemed designed to reassure an ambivalent public, still reeling from Bill Clinton’s presidency being over and the whole Y2K thing not panning out, that the 00s were going to be a decade of seamlessness. It’s almost ironic that it came out right before so much shit hit the fan.

As for the aesthetic itself, the film’s director, McG (a decidedly 00s moniker and whose subsequent works apart from Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle come off as rather blah), does a remarkable job of making every moment come across as glossy and high-octane, particularly when Prodigy plays in the background. His visual style is, indeed, an integral element of Charlie’s Angels‘ bright and shiny 00s quality.
Masters of disguise
Masters of disguise
The occasional struggle thrown in the direction of the angels is quickly counterbalanced by the frothiness of the fashion and music of the era–though more frequently by Cameron Diaz’s general beatific aura. In a way, starting the decade out with such a blithe, upbeat blockbuster was indicative of a population that felt on the cusp of something great. But by 2006, films like Children of Men were being released. Oh how naive we were to think life could be like Charlie’s Angels–but it was nice while it lasted–even through 2003 with Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.