{Movie Review} Annie (2014 Edition)

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 I have a love/hate relationship with the musical Annie. My junior high school did it when I was in seventh grade, so experience with the show always brings some nostalgia. But some of the songs just don't go away when they're stuck in your head!

That being said, I own all three DVD versions of Annie:

Granted, I own most musicals that come to DVD and have a DVD Cabinet full of musicals. So I'm a little obsessed. I wanted the 1980s original because IT'S THE ORIGINAL, and I wanted the 1990s remake  because Kristin Chenoweth! (And the all-star cast of Victor Garber, Kathy Bates, Alan Cumming, and Audra McDonald...but I bought this during my Wicked obsession, SO....!)

When I heard there was a new version of Annie coming out Winter 2014-2015 that had been updated for a modern-day audience and starred a black Annie who was a foster kid, not an orphan, I was intrigued. I wasn't sure I wanted to see it in theaters, though. Especially since it was competing with Into the Woods, which is my favorite musical ever. Guess which one I saw in theaters?

I pre-ordered Annie from the library, and watched it once they received it on DVD. I had mixed feelings. Good things, bad things. It wasn't amazing, but it wasn't horrible, either. But would I pay $20 for it? No. When I saw that Target had it on Black Friday for $4 or $5, I bit and bought it. Plus, the DVD came with an ultraviolet copy I could give to my young niece, so it was a good price.

I finally re-watched Annie this week (Not even my own copy, lol! It's on Starz On Demand and I'm lazy!!!!!), and I have to say....I have SO MUCH MORE LOVE the second time around!!!

Is it still flawed? Yes. Does it have amazing moments? Yes!!

Take the new Annie as its own movie. It's not trying to be the original. I really love how modern the movie is. Instead of Daddy Warbucks, we have Mr. Stacks. Both men believe in hard work. Daddy Warbucks is a philanthropist, but Mr. Stacks doesn't enjoy working with the common man. He has a change of heart toward the end of the movie thanks to Annie's role in his life, and re-watching that part made me a little teary-eyed. Annie changed Mr. Stacks and made him more human. I think he's going to go on to be a great philanthropist and do some amazing things for society with his money thanks to Annie. That emotional pull really resonated with me this time around and made me love the movie so much more.

I also really liked the story arc changes for Ms. Hannigan; they redeemed an unsavory character. And I love that the girls were all foster kids, which felt so much more modern. One of my favorite parts of the new movie was actually a brand new song written just for the movie, "Who Am I," because it really packed an emotional punch at the right time and evolved the characters even further. Speaking of the music, while it wasn't all roses and kittens, I liked the way they arranged it so that everyday sounds such as mops swishing and drilling concrete surfaces became a part of the music. I like when that happens in music and think it adds to the song, as well as making it feel more realistic and natural for a singing environment. (Since, let's face it, IRL, no one sings all the time unless the town has been attacked by a demon named Sweet...)

In the end, if you put off watching Annie because of all the negative buzz at its launch, give it a chance. It's different, and people don't like different, especially when you're changing something iconic. But it's a different that works really well, and it may have taken a couple of viewings to resonate with me, but it has, and now this version of Annie will also hold a spot in my heart, flaws and all.

(Um, and if they REALLY want to make a five-part movie franchise about mermaids based on the series Annie and her friends attended at the premiere, I AM ALL IN!!! ^.~)