Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Charlie’s Angels

Okay, I’ll have to admit, some people didn’t like Charlie’s Angels (2000). It felt like a bunch of music videos put together to make up a movie. Ah, but how sweet a movie it is for those of us who want flash, action, and popcorn excitement.

Charlie's Angels
Charlie’s Angels

For the first time since I started writing my Women Who Wow Wednesday series, I’m not going to look at one kick-ass chick. Not two. But three! That’s right. I couldn’t decide on who to choose, so I decided to do ‘em all. Hold on to your butts. It’s gonna be a wild ride.

Natalie Cook—Played by Cameron Diaz, she’s the platinum blonde of the bunch. Highly skilled in martial arts, able to give a punch and take one without effort. She’s an expert driver and pilot. If it has wheels, she can drive it. If it has wings, well, you know the rest. There’s not a vain bone in her body. As a nerd in high school, she once dressed like Princess Leia (braces, glasses, and the bun). Although some folks might consider her naïve, in reality she graduated MIT with a Ph.D., and worked as a research scientist for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Cameron Diaz as Natalie Cook
Cameron Diaz as Natalie Cook

Natalie’s known for her fantastic optimism. Life is better when justice prevails and evil gets it up-and-comings. She has supermodel presence, but she’s unaware of it. She’s the type of girl who will answer the door to the UPS guy in her underwear. Yeah, in her Spider-Man underwear.

Alex Munday—Played by Lucy Liu, she’s exotic, an expert in linguistics, and possesses business acumen beyond genius. Much like Natalie, she’s proficient in kung-fu. Her major love is fencing and horseback riding. She may seem small, but her background is massive. Once a teenage gymnast going for the gold in the Olympics, she also proves herself a large asset for NASA as an on-call government engineer. And let’s not forget her stint dancing with the Stuttgart Ballet. The benefits of a classical education.

Lucy Liu as Alex Munday
Lucy Liu as Alex Munday

Alex is the most versatile of the angels. She can play many roles, and slip in and out of characters without hesitating. She also has a love for cooking, regardless if the kitchen hates her.

Dylan Sanders—Played by Drew Barrymore, she’s the hostile one with the curled hair and short fuse. She managed to squeeze some time away from the police academy after beating the crap out of her training officer. Generally rebellious, always an anti-everything. She never looks before she jumps. Her education? Lackluster.

Drew Barrymore as Dylan Sanders
Drew Barrymore as Dylan Sanders

But Dylan has something going for her: she finds the good in everyone. She’s also the most affectionate of the three. Even though she can clear out a room of bad guys with her hands tied behind her back, her real talent lies in her power to be different. A tongue-bearing rocker at heart. She is a force of reckoning.

These are the angels. Unique in every way. Divided, they pose a threat. Together, they can annihilate.

Long live the angels.

Ever see Charlie’s Angels? What did you think of the awesome trio?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Women Who Wow Wednesday

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen RipleyWelcome to Women Who Wow Wednesday. Or as I’d like to call it: WWW Wednesday. This is when I get to ramble about awesome super chicks in movies and in comic books, and boast a little on their personas and their very cool skill sets.

This week? Let’s talk about Sigourney Weaver‘s character Ripley in the movie Alien. I have to say, if any character has that mix of strength and vulnerability we as a movie audience come to expect from a superhero, Ripley is that woman.

Wonder WomanBack in the Seventies, there weren’t that many hero women on TV, or the movies for that matter, a woman could take pride in emulating. Well, there was Wonder Woman—ahem—but she was all candy. The most she could do is lasso a villain with her golden rope of truth and pump them, I mean, question them, for information. She also flew around in an invisible plane. Not bad for back then, although we haven’t seen any studios jump at the chance to make a Wonder Woman movie yet. I wonder why? *yawn*

Charlie's AngelsThen there was the show Charlie’s Angels. You really don’t want me to get into them, do you? They were the epitome of hotness back then. Kate Jackson as Sabrina Duncan, Farrah Fawcett as Jill Munroe and Jaclyn Smith as Kelly Garrett played private eyes for the Charles Townsend Agency. Every week they emerged from their office to hunt for murderers, thieves and other lowbrow thugs. It was also an excuse to wear tight-fitting outfits and string-like bikinis for the adolescent males watching the show. But really, did women actually use these chicks as role models? I don’t think so.

By the way, the show is on this month, if you’re interested in watching the entire first season.

Then, out of the darkness, comes Ellen Ripley.

*spoiler alert*

When the spaceship Nostromo performs a flyby of an unknown planet, she awakens from stasis after receiving an unknown transmission. Once her crew lands on the planet, takes samples back to the ship—like we don’t know what’s going to happen—the alien life form kills everyone onboard except for Ripley, who manages to survive and kill the beast herself.

*end of spoiler alert*

Now, something we have to understand: back then, Ripley became the first female character to show a strong sense of empowerment over obstacles greater than herself. Let’s not talk about Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind (I have a special post planned to honor her most-incredible story). I’m talking about female characters tailored to fit male protagonist roles. She was the first for a starving Seventies generation. And that character became the mold for future female heroes appearing in movies such as Terminator, Kill Bill and Silence of the Lambs.

Ellen RipleyWhat makes Ripley unique? She shows a male toughness in the face of total defeat. Her strength lies in not folding under pressure and taking the shots, even if they hurt. Most of all, for the guys out there…who could ever forget the anticlimax of Alien when she struts around in her panties? This delicate image contrasts the hardness she exhibited earlier in the movie when battling the alien for ship dominance.

Is it a wonder so many sequels flourished from that one single movie?

When James Cameron took the helm of Aliens, the second film to the franchise, his love affair with strong women showed right on the screen. Ripley appeared buff, yet displayed a soft mother instinct. Something of which Cameron depicts in all his female protagonists in every subsequent movie he’s shot. But, I’m getting ahead of myself—I’m saving Aliens for another post. The point being, even Cameron recognizes the impact the Ripley character had within the movie Alien, and uses the strong woman archetype in his movies.

Are there female protagonists in movies you like? Why? Are they the type of women who you’d like to have by your side when battling aliens…or taking out the trash? Let me know, I’d love to hear your opinion.