Monday, January 12, 2015

Jason's Movie Review - Annie

Went to see Annie this weekend.  Here's what I thought.

First of all, a reminder.  I love musicals.  I almost always have a song going through my head.  I haven't seen Annie on stage since I was in High School.  However, I have seen the original movie a dozen times.

Whenever anything is rebooted, I try to judge it on it's own merits.  I try not to compare it to previous versions.  This was hard to do with the new Annie, however.  I think the fact that it's a musical makes it more difficult.  When a tune is changed or songs are added and eliminated, I can't help but find myself missing the old version.

Let me address Annie herself, first.  Since some controversy seemed to be stirred when the public learned that Annie and Daddy Warbucks...aka William Stacks in this movie...were *GASP* black!

The little girl who played Annie was quite good!  I enjoyed her performance a ton.  I thought she pulled off the sassy little foster kid (don't call her an orphan) to a tee.  I don't mind that she didn't have red hair.  If they had made her less sassy, I would have been annoyed.

Jamie Fox, on the other hand.  He's one of my favorite actors.  I can't decide how I feel about him as the Daddy character.  He was a fine actor.  But, I think my hesitancy to like his performance more is less about the fact that it's Jamie Fox and more about the fact that he is NOT Oliver Warbucks.  He's William Stacks.  Why is he William Stacks?

Warbucks is a billionaire industrialist.  Stacks is a cell phone CEO.  Warbucks has a HUGE house in New York.  Stacks lives in a penthouse apartment.  Warbucks has servants running all over the place (who contribute to a fantastic "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" musical interlude).  Stacks just has his Chief of Staff (who tries to duplicate "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" unsuccessfully).

Then there is Miss Hannigan.  Now, you know there is no way ANYBODY is going to be able to hold a candle to Carol Burnett.  Nobody.  But, come on...Cameron Diaz?  She can't even sing!

Obviously, when you take an original set during the depression and try to reboot it in 2014, there must be some changes.  Unfortunately, I think those changes took away from much of the warm-fuzziness that the original brought.

Ok, outside of that.  There are too many plot holes this time around, too.  I know we have to suspend disbelief, and I am usually cool with that.  But, some of these were just too glaring.

For example...the most annoying one that stands out in my mind.  Who the heck are these people they recruit to be Annie's "parents?"  In the original, it was clear.  It was Rooster and Lily, out to make some $$$.  In this one, it's clear who's trying to make money.  The political dude and Miss Hannigan.  But, where do they find a couple who is not just willing to commit fraud, but also willing to kidnap a child?  One could make the point that they didn't actually know it was kidnapping.  When Stacks showed up in his helicopter, they seemed surprised.  However...they were still running from the cops.  So...kidnappers they are!

Then, there is the fact that, after everything comes out regarding an employee of Stacks basically coordinating this kidnapping...not only is there no chance he'll be elected mayor, but if his company is publicly traded, you can bet he just lost his job, too!

Anyway, I wasn't a big fan.  It just wasn't a good enough reboot for me. All it did was make me want to go back and watch the old version.  In fact, I think I will do just that this weekend!

PS:  At about 3:10 in this video is the #1 reason why is was stupid to change the name from Warbucks to Stacks.  This part wasn't even in the movie.  *sigh*

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