Thursday 8 January 2015

Today's Review: Annie

Though I'm not adverse to musicals, I haven't seen too many, and Annie is one that I've never taken the time to watch. But hey, here's a contemporary remake, so that's got to be better, right?

Quvenzahné Wallis stars as Annie, an orphan living with the cruel Colleen Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) in a foster home, hoping one day that her parents will return. But after a chance encounter with wealthy phone company owner Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), Annie sees herself whisked into the high life, as Stacks takes her in in an attempt to improve his image in the running for mayor of New York. But will Annie's presence change Stacks' life forever?

I think it's safe to assume that yes, yes it will. It's not a particularly surprising plot, but it seems to be a somewhat faithful adaptation of the 80s classic, except, you know, without the bomb plots and attempted murder. But instead of all that dreary stuff, the whole story is steeped in mobile phone technology and social media, all that stuff that kids are into these days. I understand that this is meant to be contemporary, but it does all start to get a little cheesy. But hey, this is a musical, we're here for the music, right?

Well, all the classic songs are here, and they've been updated with a "hip hop style", because that's all these crazy kids want to hear these days. There are also a few new songs thrown in for good measure, and while it was quite easy to pick them out from the classics, they're not all bad. Everyone involved does a pretty good job with their roles. Wallis is especially good as Annie, breathing a lot of life into a lead that could have easily fallen flat. Diaz and Foxx are a good fit too, and there wasn't anyone in the supporting cast that I'd say felt out of place.

I'm a little torn with this movie. Sure, I enjoyed a lot of the elements of it, but there was always something a bit off. The plot was good enough, but the movie dragged on a little too long. There are certainly some good humorous lines throughout, but there are a few more shoehorned in that fall flat. The songs are well performed, but the integration of hip hop ends up being a little cheesy, and the vocals always seem to be a bit too quiet, or the dubbing way off. It's just little things that seemed to chip away at the good stuff, that turned this from a movie I would have quite enjoyed overall to just adequate.

Annie is a nice family film, but it's not as good as others that have come out lately. If you're into musicals, you'll probably want to give it a watch. Otherwise, it could be very hit and miss.

My rating: 3/5

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