Annie (Remake) – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

annieAnnie (Remake) – 3.5/5 – When you hear the word remake; it usually makes people turn their heads in disgust.  The reason that remakes get this mantra is because of how cherished the original can be.  This is the tale for any film, across any genres.  Everyone once in a while, there are times when remakes (if done right) can be spectacular (aka The Departed; Let Me In).  Annie falls into that category of a remake that does enough to make it good.  The new Annie might not have a lot to make it a original, but it is one that will make you fall into the ‘feel good’ tale again.

Premise: A remake of an old classic, of a foster girl whose life changes after moving in with a business tycoon

You have a lot of known names in iconic roles:

Quvenzhane Wallis as Annie

Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks

Rose Byrne as Grace

Bobby Cannavale as Guy

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Nash

Cameron Diaz as Hannigan

From the iconic Annie, to the main supporting roles like Hannigan and Will Stacks, you have a sense of ‘coming back home’ in the revision characters.  Even in a modernizing setting, none of the actors/actresses loose the charm and worth of the original.  You feel the ‘humanity’ in their performances, even if everything is predictable to a tee.  Regardless of the standard elements, you are full of sensitive thoughts watching them act and sing.  The only acting performances that come across stale are that of Diaz and Cannavale.  There characters do fall into the realm of ‘cheesy’ one-dimensional archetypes for musical (the aloof character).  Even when there is this low point, it doesn’t completely hinder the other characters in the film.  The rest of the cast are typical background color for any kind of musical, but they are welcome flavors for this tale.

The direction of this film (as with the acting) is in comparative to the original.  There isn’t anything new within the structure of the ‘overall’ story.  The only difference between this and the original is the modernization of the times.  The director does a good job in putting forth that motto ‘teaching an old dog new tricks’.  The modernization of the story helps bring something attachable for a new audience, but in a way where it is heartfelt, touching and most importantly, entertaining.  From the opening sequence in the foster home, to when Annie gets adopted and the final musical show, the familiarity keeps everything on an even keel.  The music feels like you’re ‘back home’ even with a changing of scenarios.  The modernization also helps provider some ‘thematic’ elements that are relevant to the 21st century.   The ideas of struggle, purpose and family pressed against the problems of today helps create that emotional attachment for when they bust out into full on musical.  Even as the film’s commonality helps the overall progression, it does hinder the tone of the film.  In not infusing some semblance of originality, it creates a void of conflict where predictability drowns out importance of certain moments.  Even when emotions are high in the musical quips, you don’t always sense its strength when you leave those situations.  This happens a lot when you deal with the Will Stack and Annie relationship.  When these two characters hit ‘pivotal’ turning points in the story, there is a definite high and low.  When you go from the strong musical aspect to the dramatic elements, you get lost in the connection when you shouldn’t.  This is all hearsay as it doesn’t hinder the overall point of the film, which is that this is a feel good story.  When you get to the final scene, you are smiling along with the characters.

The visuals are nothing to scream amazing over.  The ‘backdrop’ of New York City is something that isn’t new or original, but it helps keep a grounded appeal.  The visuals never cause any distraction from the story or characters.  The score (matched with the musical setting) is an amazing thing to see.  Even when it is predictable (because of its familiar songs) it is welcome they didn’t try to ruin a classic.

Annie is a film that will appeal to fans of the original, while also bringing in a new audience with its modernization of this tale.  There aren’t a lot of new things in this film, but sometimes that is a good thing.   Even in its predictable nature, you can still enjoy singing the songs with the actors/actresses.  I’d recommend this for a good family outing, and fans who want to see Annie again.

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