It’s another day in the world of remakes as Hollywood churns out another rendition of a beloved film. This time it is in the form of a beloved musical that focused on an energetic, somewhat annoying, redhead named Annie. In this film, the redhead has been replaced with a lead who had twice the volume, and more of an attitude to lead the assorted cast. Now I’m not a die hard fan of the first film, but I will admit that the trailers did not paint a good picture for this film. A lot of doubts lowered my expectations of what was in store, but nevertheless I scoped out the latest holiday musical. So let’s kick into Annie shall we?
Director Will Gluck has designed this rendition with a modernized twist, trading in the tap dancing numbers for ones with a little more hip hop kick. Fans that like a bass driven track will enjoy the upbeat dances placed throughout the film, while others will enjoy the slower paced tunes that have a bit more emotion, and instrumental work. Quvenzhané Wallis has a majority of the numbers, and the girl has some pipes and attitude that bring her solos to life. Surprisingly even the talented Jamie Foxx has his own style in the form of an R&B like approach that is smooth, suave, and very fitting for most of his songs. The only thing that may make you cringe is Cameron Diaz’s attempts at singing Hannigan’s parts, which was only tolerable once drowned out by the chorus music. Regardless of which style, this reviewer feels your family, especially your young ones, will enjoy the autotuned spunk the soundtrack has, and the fun numbers that coincide with it. What does this also mean for the world? Another soundtrack that many kids will continue to repeat over and over again, hopefully not to the extent of Frozen’s soundtrack, or so I pray.
Outside of the musical numbers, Annie is a cute movie that is fun adventure for the young and young at heart. The young orphan’s adventure spans the city streets of New York to capture the dingy, poor slums that many know the series for. I agree with other reviewers that the beginning part is dull, though necessary, as it sets the stage. Many of the numbers are thrown in to get the soundtrack started, and some of the scenes are pointless, in particular the school scene, as they are dropped in an instance. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for the young girl to run in Mr. Stacks (Foxx) who drags us out of the grey and into the HEEEEEEY! Once the two are united, the real fun begins as we take a ride in the luxury side. The incredible penthouse is just the first stop of impressive delights, with a technological set many dream about owning. Following the luxurious home come premiers, fancy restaurants, and helicopter flights all well built to actually have a purpose in the film. Unlike some films that develop backstories and characters with boring, often overdramatic, scenes of randomness, this tale keeps the adventure going as our characters are driven to new roles. While this keeps the movie going, there are some flaws to the editing namely some over sappy moments and a rather pointless dance number near the end that was a bit overdone. Also some rather big events in the movie are blown over, somehow the characters miraculously getting over their problems in a span of seconds. Like how realistic is that? How close to the original is it? There are many references to the old one, and the framework is there, but this rendition has enough of its own flavor that diverges from its predecessor.
Another important component to this movie is the acting. Wallis shows her talents once more, and brings the sass, smart mouthed edge to the role that was needed for modern day audiences. Despite her street smarts, Wallis still can bring out a vulnerable side to the character, though sometimes looses the emotion mid-scene and becomes a little monotone. Leading lady Rose Byrne brings her charm to the film, and her kind elegance enlightens the role. Her sweet disposition was perfect for the assistant role, and helps bridge all the characters together in a fun manner. My only flaw with her, is her jokes are always drawn out displays, of awkward comments that lack timing, or originality despite her good delivery. As for Foxx, let’s just say the man saves the film, bringing well timed jokes, grand theatrics, and an attitude that makes the character of Stacks. Yet, the man also has the ability to span a variety of emotions from selfish ignorance, to concerned fear, showing he is a chameleon of acting. Unfortunately for Cameron Diaz, the woman is lacking balance in her latest role, falling into an overacted, and ridiculously silly. She puts too much emphasis in her lines, and did not play the drunk role well, rather just an uncoordinated mess with an ugly temper. Yeah Hannigan is supposed to be like this, but the old one has a much better delivery in my opinion. Diaz does get better as the movie continues on as her character evolves from the orphans lessons.
Modern day Annie is a fun adventure for the family, and has some great comedic moments that had me laughing. It is entertaining to see the exciting life the rich can lead, and even more entertaining to poke fun at modern day obsessions. Yes it is different from the classic, but if you give this a chance you can enjoy this simplistic, predictable film and the positivity it radiates. Is it worth a trip to the theater? Not even close, but take a peek at it when it hits redbox in a few months. My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0