I love a musical, I’m just throwing that out there early for you all to judge me. I can’t help it, someone bursting into song for no apparent reason totally floats my boat. So, when I was asked to review the DVD release of the new version of Annie* I jumped at the chance. I do have to admit I wasn’t excited enough about this remake to take myself off to the cinema to see it, maybe it’s because the 1982 version holds so many Sunday afternoon memories for me.I remember getting it for Christmas on a double video (yep I’m that old!) paired with Oliver. I’m pretty sure my parents enjoyed me singing along to them at full belt.
Anyway, with thirty-two years between the original version and this Jay Z, Will and Jada (Pinkett) Smith produced version my expectations were high that the updated version of Annie could be hugely different but not so much. Well, not at first anyway, it takes a while for the differences to really show.
Out goes the moniker of orphan, Annie is a foster kid, not an orphan and there’s no more Daddy Warbucks. In his place is the germaphobic, mobile phone giant Will Stacks (played by the ever so dreamy Jamie Foxx) who happens to be campaigning to become Mayor of New York and what does every good political campaign need? A brilliant PR stunt of course and what better way to boost your ratings than save a child from getting hit by a car and then taking her to live in your sprawling apartment even though you actually hate everyone and just want to be alone.
I was pleasantly surprised by Quvenzhané Wallis, she is a lot less annoying than she has the potential to be as Annie. Foxx, unsurprisingly, plays his part brilliantly (has he ever done anything bad?) and Cameron Diaz is surprisingly good as Hannigan, she also has a wardrobe that I’m pretty jealous of. Those leopard print dresses and that cardi with a wolf on the back are absolutely ace! However, they aren’t the stand out parts of this film. My favourite moments have to be the cameo by Michael J Fox in the campaign video for Stack’s rival, Harold Gray and the really cheesy film about the fish people they go to the premiere of starring Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Rhianna. It’s incredible and I kind of want to see it as a film on its own. It’s sort of like Twilight meets Avatar and falls in the so shit it’s ace category.
We know Jay Z is more used to producing records than he is films so he must have felt that he was easing himself in with so many iconic songs ready and waiting for him to reimagine and remix. It took a while but after Tomorrow and Hard Knock Life he threw the songbook out the window and started again using just the bare bones of the existing tunes, even throwing in a few new songs for good measure.
It was pretty easy to watch and not as totally cringeworthy as it almost strayed into a couple of times plus it throws in a handful of overproduced songs and super slick dance sequences too so I was fairly happy. I probably wouldn’t choose it over the original but I’d give it another watch.
Have you seen it? What did you think? Annie
is out on DVD and Blu-ray now.
***This post in part, originally appeared on Filmwerk***