Monday, January 19, 2015

Annie





Annie - 118min - PG

Remakes have their work cut out for them. When filmmakers attempt to take on a beloved classic there are a lot expectations to live up to. This film did a fine job at reimagining the original story. There are some updates that are mixed well with some of the classic songs. They did a fine job playing to the target audience. It's a family film that caters to the younger audience members. This movie was a family film, my son enjoyed it and so did I. It fits nicely in the green light category.

Annie (Quvenzhan√© Wallis) is an orphan, sorry "foster kid". She is under the care of Mrs. Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), a washed up pop star from the 80's who doesn't like the kids in her charge. Annie inadvertently runs into billionaire Will Stacks (Jammie Foxx) when he saves her from being hit by a car.  This helps improve his standing in the mayoral race, so his campaign manager, Guy (Bobby Cannavale), tells Mr. Stacks that more interactions with Annie are going to do wonders for his image. Annie was meant to improve Stacks' public image but she ends up improving more than that.

Quvenzhané is so talented. She is the embodiment of the indomitable spirit of Annie. She is naturally engaging on screen. Musicals are not in fashion now so it is nice to see two at the theater. This one seems to be more aimed at the younger audience, and brings Annie to a new generation. There are some updates to the film that needed to be done however they are not distracting.

I do have two issues with the film. The first is that Annie's inability to read is underdeveloped. There were hints there but they play it off so well that you don't catch that she can't read. Maybe that was the intent, to show how easily people can hide it, but it ended up feeling forced in to the story. It would have been better to show the audience that she can't read and then, when she is faced with having to read, we can share her fear. This is such an important massage that it really needed more time on the screen.

The second problem was how Jamie Foxx's scene in the helicopter was poorly filmed or edited. There was so much distraction with the outside shots mixed in with the internal ones that it really lost focus on the message of the song. Ideally they should have had some external shots before and after the song, but really just stay on Mr. Foxx while he sang. It seemed like a tender moment was lost because of the poor handling of the shots.

Despite the two errors in judgment this is a great movie to take the kids to. The songs are too catchy to not have you and your kids singing in the car on the way back home.

What movie have the critics trashed but you really enjoyed?

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