A New Take on a Classic Tale
Does the new Annie movie compare to the old version we all love?
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Annie is a renowned classic story about a young orphan girl and her adventure while in search for her family starring a billionaire, evil Mrs. Hannigan, and a dog named Sandy. The original Annie film our generation grew up watching came out in 1982 and features young Aileen Quinn as Annie as well as Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks, Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan, Ann Reinking as Grace, and was directed by John Huston. Huston’s movie was produced to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Annie on Broadway, the highly acclaimed play that was awarded a Tony for Best Musical, Best Original Score, and others including Best Choreography.
However, on December 19, 2014, a new adaptation of the classic tale opened in theaters and features Quvenzhané Wallis as orphan Annie, Jamie Foxx as Mr. Stacks, Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan, and is directed by Will Gluck. Annie has been made into countless theater productions and movies, but Gluck’s Annie stands out from the rest. The new motion picture puts a modern spin on the story with fresh pop music, updated sets, and currently relevant actors and actresses. Annie now presents herself as a foster kid in Harlem, and makes her way into Mr. Stack’s home, a rich man running in a mayoral election.
Both motion picture versions of Annie are well-made, entertaining movies, but does one beat out the other in terms of music, casting and set?
In the first battle for excellence, Huston’s Annie provides a much more impactful classic soundtrack. Huston’s has memorable songs that flow perfectly with each scene and enhance the emotional tone of the entire film. This is most likely because the story originates on Broadway, and is centered around quality music. The soundtrack includes “Tomorrow”, “Maybe”, and “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here.”
On the other hand, Gluck’s soundtrack puts a modern pop twist on these old tunes and also adds a few more songs to the movie such as “Opportunity”, “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile (2014 film version), and “It’s the Hard-Knock Life (2014 film version).” The current feel of these songs pulls in a variety of viewers and appeals to a new generation of children. The sound and ambience allows these tunes to easily blend with present-day chart-toppers.
Secondly, the casting in the original Annie was stronger because Mrs. Hannigan had a cruel and evil essence that is not evident in the recent edition. Furthermore, Daddy Warbucks and Annie build a stronger relationship throughout the movie in the original, as the audience witnesses Daddy Warbucks break out of his hard shell and begin to care. In Gluck’s version, Daddy Warbucks isn’t as rigid in the beginning, so there is no major change.
Huston’s Annie also proves stronger in terms of setting, because the switch from the filthy orphanage to Daddy Warbucks’ spotless grand mansion is a greater change which makes the movie more visually appealing and dramatic. Annie’s home in Harlem is not as grubby and awful and doesn’t lend to a the “Hard-Knock Life.” Also, Huston’s Annie is set in the 1930’s, so the orphanage is not only dirty, but also outdated. The orphanage might appear to be a pitiful home to our generation, but perhaps not to others living in the 1930’s. Gluck’s Annie is set in present day, so a dilapidated orphanage is hard to come by. An adequate foster home is more relevant to this time period.
Overall, the new Annie is entertaining, enjoyable, and makes a classic story feel current and modern. It isn’t quite as outstanding as the original when comparing music, casting, and set, but it is a close runner-up. I recommend seeing this movie if you are with young children because it is relatable with their generation, and resembles the music they are exposed to.