Movie review: Annie remake fails to capture magic of original

Catchy songs, cute kids, and a likable plot line is what made Annie a success nearly 40 years ago when it debuted as a Broadway Musical. Fast-forward to the present, and its terrible songs, awkward choreography and a horrible script that ruined the 2014 film remake.

Late last year, it was reported that Annie would be getting another reboot. This time however, Annie herself would be getting a makeover too.

For years, Annie was known for being a red headed, pale, poorly dressed Caucasian actress. But no longer would that be the case. She would be trading in her orphanage rags for trendy modern clothes, her red hair for brown and her Caucasian descent for an African-American one.

The new lead was the spunky, charismatic Quvenzhane Wallis, who currently holds the current record for youngest actress to ever be nominated for an Academy Award. Alongside her was Golden Globe and Oscar winner Jamie Foxx as Mr. Stacks (the new Warbucks). For comic relief, Cameron Diaz – who holds five awards for humor related performances – stepped in to play the foster mother.

The cast alone was enough to draw anyone in. Diversity with an American classic was surely a step in the right direction.

Sadly, however, the only people that had a Hard Knock life were the crew that produced this movie.

The point of a remake, of course, is not to copy the previous movie verbatim. However, the point is to give the previous movie a breath of fresh air and bring it up to date. The new Annie did not receive this memo.

Instead of giving a breath of fresh air, they kicked the entire door open. What I’m referring to is the movie’s very sloppy transition to the Modern era. I’m getting a migraine just thinking about how they could take the setting of an orphanage during the Great Depression in the 1930’s and change it to an apartment in the middle of New York in 2014. My head also hurts thinking about who approved an illiteracy angle for a cheery child movie.

Another thing that Annie also fails to keep in touch with is the one thing that the franchise is most famous for – the music.

The song lyrics are changed, given a hip-hop spin and the actors/actresses give stiff, awkward performances to accompany the bad musical numbers. And speaking of the actors and actresses, the movie failed to tap the potential of its amazing cast. Jamie Foxx’s starchy performance was easily one of the worst of his career, especially compared to his Oscar-winning role in Ray. Quvenzhane Wallis’ performance failed to earn the attention that her charismatic role in Beasts of the Southern Wild brought her (and earned her an Academy Award nomination). Not to mention the failed, disappointing “comedic” performance from Cameron Diaz, whose career has certainly seen better days.

Annie was a flat, cliché movie that will go down as another unnecessary remake. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone but children who will be happy to see a group of kids dancing around. Other than that, if you’re old enough to recognize a good movie or an Annie fan – stay far away.