Christmas, 2014, the all new Annie movie is due in theaters. That’s the trailer up there. It’s the remake of the 1982 version starring Aileen Quinn, Carol Burnett, and Albert Finney, which was the first film version adapted from the 1976 Broadway production. This new movie was co produced by Jay- Z and Will Smith and was directed by Will Gluck. Jamie Fox is one of the lead actors, portraying Will Stacks, the 21st Century version of Daddy Warbucks. Quvenzhané Wallis is in the lead role as Annie. She has big shoes to fill, in my opinion, and I have no doubt that she will measure up. But, I don’t have high hopes overall for this film.
I have always had a problem with the altering of classic arts such as this. Well actually, I am disturbed by remakes anyway, as they usually leave a lackluster impression. But I’m particularly disturbed by this one, since Annie is my all time favorite production. I was fortunate enough to see the original production of Annie in New York. I was around 13 years old or so. I’m a great Annie connoisseur and feel I have sufficient expertise to say this movie is not one that will capture much, at least not from me. This movie is modernized for 21st century flavor. Seems to me that the very least they could have done is remained true to the original plot and setting, including the original characters. Doing that might have swayed me. But I don’t see the value of it as they have presented it. The soundtrack might be nice. But I’ll have to be convinced to see the movie. Not feeling it. I think I’ll emphatically PASS.
As an aside, I can recall seeing the original play, almost as if it was yesterday. I saw it three times through the years. Andrea McArdle was by far the best person in that role. Here’s a bit of Annie trivia: the original actress in that role was Kristen Vigard. But after about a week, the producers axed her and replaced her with McArdle (who was one of the other little orphan girls). Vigard, the producers thought, presented a soft, sweet, innocent naiveté to be an effective Annie. I saw Vigard, McArdle, and some other actress the name of whom I cannot recall. I agree that McArdle was the better choice.
I am so thankful that I had the kind of mother who exposed me to the arts. She took me to New York all the time to see one thing or another. The first musical I ever saw on Broadway was the Fats Waller production, Ain’t_Misbehavin’, with Nell Carter and Irene Cara. It was on my birthday in 1978. I loved it. (My Feets too Big Your Feet’s Too Big is a song that has stuck in my head from the show.). I saw dozens of other musicals after that too. The experiences have opened up my eyes and interest. So, I’m a good one to say that I’m not buying this Annie thing, I’m sorry to say. But then that’s just MY opinion. Others may feel differently. We’ll see.