Straight after the opening credits, a young, ginger-haired, pale girl called Annie is giving a presentation in class. She is congratulated and returns to her seat, up comes another young girl also called Annie (played by Quvenshane Wallis). However this time she is visually different with puffy brown hair and ethnic background. Thus, the baton is almost passed on from the predeceasing versions of Annie in this wink allowing it to do whatever it likes. And it does.
Annie is probably one of the best known musicals in history since its Broadway genesis in 1977. Since then, it has had television versions, books and two quite successful film adaptations, now this – a further remake of the musical classic. But why was it is remade yet again considering its status? Producers of the recent incarnation, Will Smith and Jay-Z, took to its defence stating that it is ‘a modern re-imagination of a beloved musical’ – which is reasonably fair.
If there had not been any versions of Annie beforehand, and this was its first appearance, then it would be a musical phenomenon in the likes of Frozen’s success. Sadly, it is not, and will through generations of viewings always be comparable and given prejudice – which is never a good thing in the film industry – hence the awful receptions it has received so far as well as the many one-star reviews.
Similar to the original story, the central character Annie, has a fairly hard knock life (no pun intended). Nothing seems to have gone her way since she was abandoned at aged-four outside a restaurant. Since then, she has been in numerous fosters homes throughout New York – but currently in the care of Colleen Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), who treats her unfairly and instead of kisses, gets kicked (still no pun intended).
Updated to the modern era, a phone business tycoon, William Stacks (Jamie Foxx), is running for Mayor of NYC and coincidently meets Annie, and decided he should help her out. It all seems simple enough until you add the fact it is still a musical, and at every street corner, scenario and character development there is a catchy song around the corner lingering and ready to pounce. Of which, the star-studded cast all sing aloud (reasonably well, apart from the over-the-top Diaz – cringe).
Indefinite to always live in the shadow of its former versions, Annie could still prove to be a fairly popular family-film over Christmas. But overall, it is mediocre at the very best.