Considering how close we are to the end of 2014 (geez, I just got used to not writing 2013 at the end of my dates!), this will probably be my last post of the year. I'll try to make this one count. This past Friday I watched Annie, a musical with which most of you are probably already familiar, so I don't feel the need to give you any kind of blurb about the plot. I've always loved Annie (most preferably the 1999 version in my case) and I was very interested to see how the story would be remade today. As far as remakes go, the 2014 version doesn't stray too far from what I remembered from other adaptations - with the striking difference in casting, of course. (I want to briefly applaud the movie for casting African American actors as the ones playing the leads this time around, something that unfortunately we don't always get to see in mainstream movies. If the 2014 movie doesn't do it for you, you should at least give it credit for that.)
Since it is a musical, the most important thing that should probably be addressed is the singing. The voice of Quvenzhané Wallis (playing Annie) was beautiful, as it should have been. I liked her voice best when she sang "Opportunity," which is one of the songs unique to the 2014 movie. Jamie Foxx pleasantly surprised me with his singing voice, a very rich but also sweet sounding voice that I liked listening to a lot. Cameron Diaz disappointed me with her rendition of "Little Girls." I actually wondered if she could carry a tune, because she seemed to talk more than sing in that particular song. However, she sang pretty well in later songs, so I'm left wondering what was up with that first performance. I loved hating her character during the "Little Girls" scene in the previous adaptation, as well as the "Easy Street" scene. Both of those songs kind of flopped for me in the 2014 movie. The other songs were done decently, but some of them seemed to be cut short or skipped altogether, and for what reason? I had a hard time figuring that out, since it is supposed to be a musical as far as I can tell.
There were a few interesting twists to the 2014 movie that didn't have to do with the fact that it's a modern-day retelling. One of them is Cameron Diaz's character, Annie's foster mom, who is presented in a more sympathetic light than I'm used to seeing her in. Another was the fact that Annie couldn't read, which I thought should have been played with a little more to help build up her relationship with Will Stacks. Overall I liked the movie because I inherently like the story of Annie and, despite the new setting, this movie was relatively faithful to it. I had fun seeing actors I'm familiar with playing the characters I already loved, and I also had a few laughs throughout. It's a cute movie - perhaps not a mind-blowing rewrite, or a perfectly executed remake in terms of singing performance, but still a cute movie. Annie has the feel-good vibe that can make for a pleasant time if you decide to see it, even if it's not exactly a need-to-see film. Whether you do watch it is up to you.