Annie (2014)

annie poster 2014 movie
2.5 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

Quvenzhané Wallis

Poor reimagining of the script that doesn't justify a new film, Cameron Diaz

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Annie

Studio:  Village Roadshow Pictures

Genre(s):  Musical/Family/Comic Book

Release Date(s):  December 7, 2014 (Premiere)/December 19, 2014 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG


…and when Stacks dumped her, Annie was destine for a life as a lounge singer

Annie Bennett (Quvenzhané Wallis) dreams of one day finding her parents who left her at a restaurant when she was an infant.  Living at a foster home with Ms. Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), Annie can only dream of a better tomorrow.  When she is saved by mayoral candidate and tech giant Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), Annie finds her life suddenly changed.  With both Stacks and Annie realizing that they can use each other, they form a partnership to help Stacks get elected and Annie get her parents back.

Directed by Will Gluck, Annie is a reimagining of the 1977 musical Annie which was based on Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie comic strip which ran from 1924-2010.  The musical had previously been produced in 1982 and a TV version in 1999, and was originally planned as a vehicle for Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s daughter Willow.  The movie was met with highly negative reviews and won a Razzie for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off, or Sequel with Cameron Diaz nominated for Worst Supporting Actress.


Annie’s a viral sensation…at least in the movie

Movies like Annie are always tricky.  Over the years the 1982 version has become immensely popular and the creators had two options here:  widely changing the story or going for a complete remake.  They opted to change the story by setting it in modern day and decide to recast Warbucks and Annie as African-American actors.  Both decisions had ramifications for different reasons.

I’m not necessarily a purist when it comes to casting.  I think Quvenzhané Wallis is the one bright point in this movie when it comes to casting.  I didn’t really have a problem with an African-American Annie, but it fell into clichés due to the decision.  Annie’s life and upbringing in the foster system is every bad story you hear on the news despite Annie’s rosy optimism.  She had to remain poor and they even heaped illiteracy on her…it just didn’t work and felt like it was a desperate attempt at social commentary.


Why, why, why am I so bad in this movie?

I’ve never been a Jamie Foxx fan and his inclusion in the film didn’t help my opinion.  The decision to make him a power hungry germaphobe left him to be less sympathetic than the Daddy Warbucks of previous incarnations.  It also leads to this awkward “we’re both using each other” relationship with Annie.  Add to that a positively horrible over-acted performance by Cameron Diaz and an underused Rose Byrne and the cast just really doesn’t come together.

The modernization of the story doesn’t work and it is the primary problem with the film.  This version is just depressing.  Annie’s foster system experience and the cold nature of the internet and viral society takes a lot of heart out of the movie.  The big chase scene at the end lacked any energy or danger and Annie’s “tracking” through social media seemed to be the only innovative aspect of the story (but took away from the other character’s attempts to rescue her).


The best thing about this scene? The movie is over

The music is also sorely lacking.  The 1982 Annie soundtrack has been sampled and people like Jay-Z really innovated what was done with it.  The songs here aren’t modernized and they aren’t the original.  It feels like there was a fear of commitment to changing the music, but they also didn’t want the comparisons to the original…leaving a bland soundtrack.

I think Annie could have worked with Quvenzhané Wallis and a better script.  The original film version Annie wasn’t met with great reviews in 1982, but over the years it gained a cult following through constant broadcasts and the development of VHS.  I don’t see that happening to this Annie unless it becomes a cult B-Movie due to poor decisions about its production and development.  If you are going to see Annie, stick to the 1982 version and leave this one on the shelf.

Related Links:

Annie (1982)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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