Written by S. Bowyer

 

     There are musicals we have seen redone a dozen times that are almost traditions. However, this 2014 version of Annie has fans confused when their heroine is not a redhead. Produced by Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, the star-studded film turns the expected traits of the well-known story on their head. 

 

 

      The most immediate change to the film is the title role being played by an African American girl, and some of the songs are remixed into smoother hip-hop versions for the background tracks. Overall, there is a very modern street approach to the script, and there are some simple diversions from the original story to help it fit into our technological era of today. An example would be the orphanage. We see modern conveniences, and less dirt with more stereotypical American home appeal. Another would be quips about George Clooney and up-to-date phrasings and grammar usage. However, the film still stays true to the plot: orphan girl gets rehomed by a rich man and experiences the finer things in life. 

 

 

      A new song, called Who Am I has been added to the movie, as well as an alteration to the song EZ Street, which was due to the switch in the plot twist at the end. The movie still ends in a musical spectacular of Tomorrow, where the cast celebrate their victory over evil, but, their journey towards it changes somewhat.

      Public opinion was mixed for this film, many comments on YouTube focusing on  pre-conceived expectations of the film based on its history and what was actually served up.

      "I'm not against the actress being black but it's a classic, where is her red hair?! That's what Annie's known for, it would be like changing Dorothy's ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz. It really does look like a cute movie and I plan on seeing it but there was no point for it to be re made?" -- Supernatural Dolls

      "THE PROBLEM IS THAT SHE IS NOT A FREAKING GINGER!!?" -- JCMix

      "Note how when the Hunger Games came out nobody flinched that Katniss was made white despite not being written white, yet people went crazy over Rue being made black despite her actually being written as darker skinned. Also the many Jesus movies where he is pale, despite the facts he was Middle Eastern, Also the Exodus film, which made black egyptians white (it's been BANNED in egypt for factual inaccuracy). Yet here they are in the comments upset that a fictional white character was portrayed as black to fit in with it's modernization?" -- Danielle Miller

      "I loved this re-make of Annie. It was definitely made with the younger generation in mind, but those of us who aren't so stuck on it not being like the original (although the original was definitely one of my favorite movies of all time) will appreciate it as well. " -- Ronnie Waters

      "I truly enjoyed this film. I am thankful for the negative reviews, because my expectations going into the theater were so low. I wasn't the only person who enjoyed the film. The sold out theater burst into clapping immediately after the show was over. I heard one woman say "It was like seeing a movie and being at a play at the same time". She could not have described the moment any better." -- Andrea Hicks

      Personally, I really enjoyed the film and found it refreshing to see it from a 2000s approach with newer character personalities. Will Stacks (played by Jamie Foxx) was more appealing than the original Daddy Warbucks, who often seemed sometimes too stiff -- or too staged. Foxx appeared more comfortable in his role. The reworked music were renditions I could tap my feet to, and be admired for what they are, rather than the overdrawn tracks from the original that often seemed they were trying too hard. 

      I appreciated the movement in Cameron Diaz's Hannigan from cold-hearted temptress to reflective human. The Hannigan character never got a fair go -- or a chance to reform. Why not? Shouldn't we treat children that even the worst enemy should be given a chance to make amends?

      Of the three version of Annie I have seen, this movie has to be the one I now term as my favourite. It had soul, balance, and a new view on the old topics. I'm not interested in debating what Annie should look like, because the nature of the film was always to give children an idea of surviving despite the hard times we are given. Whatever your race or culture, that lesson affects us all.

      Annie (2014), featuring Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, and starring Rose Byrne as Annie, can be found on DVD, and many online locations. 

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