I’m writing this literally on the drive back from the movies (I’m not driving relax). So I just saw the 2014 remake of Annie starring Quvenzhané Wallis and Jamie Foxx. Let me just say first and foremost, I am a die hard fan of the 1982 version starring Aileen Quinn, Carol Burnett, and Albert Finney. So much I have most of the soundtrack on my iTunes. I grew up on this film and was initially quite excited to hear about a remake, especially one starring little Quvenzhané (I LOVE HER) But after watching the previews and hearing the washed out tunes I was pretty apprehensive. But before I talk about what I didn’t like, here’s what I liked:
Okay so yay for black Annie *applause* It was great to see a relatable image of a young, black girl on the big screen. I think that’s amazing for pop culture and black girls everywhere. I loved Quvenzhané’s performance. This little girl is like gold on camera. When I wasn’t caught up in her adorable face, I was fawning over her spunkiness and spice that very much so captured Annie. I also didn’t mind Jamie Foxx’s Will Stacks/Daddy Warbucks role, he gave comedy and some ok acting moments when needed. His chemistry with Quvenzhanè was quite cute, in his I-wanna-be-your-dad-but-not moments. The overall story line, embellished with some modernized quirks, was actually not horrible to watch in today’s silver screen either. I think the movie would have been much better without the “musical” aspect or the “this is supposed to be Annie” aspect because that was the part that made the movie….. Kinda bad.
So what I didn’t like:
For one, this was not a musical. It was a movie with songs randomly thrown in there. It didn’t have the casting, the choreography, vocal talent, not even the props to be a musical (well not until the very last scene) So this is very sad for the musical lovers out there, this thing didn’t even touch High School Musical. Every “musical” moment was just down right awkward, I mean who wants to watch “It’s a Hard Knock Life” with only five kids? It felt like I was watching a YouTube reenactment instead of a real production. Same with “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here.” I couldn’t take it seriously without the amazing, dancing staff of the Warbucks mansion. And randomly throwing in some acrobatics does not qualify as good choreo! I suddenly wasn’t transported to a real musical because one woman randomly does a one-handed cart wheel!
Now the singing…. Well let’s just say I’ve had my fill of auto tune for the rest of the year and a good portion of the next. It’s quite amazing how vocal ability is actually one of the last things considered in most musicals made into movies. It’s one of those things they “worry about later” which is kind of a slap in the face for those on Broadway blowing the house down in musicals as they should be. But I’m not that naïve, I wasn’t expecting a Broadway performance just at least some effort. Pretty much the whole cast couldn’t sing or dance, minus the voice of Jamie Foxx and even that was drowned in auto tuned effects. So first of all that’s just awkward….. this is a musical….
I didn’t exactly love the newly arranged songs equipped with bass-booming 808 drum kits, but I will give it to them some of them weren’t completely horrible (except all the new songs I hated those.) I of course missed the orchestral tunes and choirs of the 1982 film, but it’s clear this movie wasn’t about a quality musical, so why bother gripping over the music anymore?
Shockingly, I didn’t care for Cameron Diaz’s performance. I think it was the first time she was just plain bad acting in a movie I’ve seen. Yes Ms. Hannigan is an eccentric drunken lady, but it almost felt like I was watching her do a bad impression the whole time. That is until the end of the film when she toned it down as her character has a change of heart towards Annie.
I didn’t like that Annie couldn’t read (stale face). Illiteracy was not needed, little Quvenzhané could have been a scholar. I’ll just leave it at that.
The chemistry between Grace and Stacks was just non existent, I’m talking dryer than the Sahara. So their kiss in the end made me extremely uncomfortable. I just wanted it to go away.
& Where was Punjab? Was that supposed to be Nash? And Sandy? I could have gone without that bootleg dog. I mean he really could have been a stuffed animal and no one would have known.
Most importantly there were a lot
of moments from the original plot that were just non existent or watered down to fit in the confines of the modern production. I often forgot I was watching Annie and not some family comedy about a fiesty foster kid. I suppose budget saving was the cause for the mediocrity?
All in all, was Annie worth seeing? Not really, but I don’t exactly feel like I wasted my time. The message was cute, the message of Annie has always been cute, but if you plan to introduce a young generation to this, at least show them the older version as well. Sadly, this remake was just quite disappointing over all. Nice try Sony, you’ll get ’em next time… (Probably not)