"How many 'Tomorrow's until Annie comes out?"
That means we just need to get through 294 days of internet hyperbole BEFORE ANYONE SEES IT about how the new Annie (the third filmed version after a 1982 feature and a 1999 telefilm) is the worst thing that ever existed and musicals suck and it's going to kill everyone's career... Give me strength! BUT in fairness to whatever social media hatred happened (I only saw a little but I'm assuming there was more since I wasn't online much last night) the new trailer which is embedded at the end of the post, does ring alarm bells.
Here's the thing. I realize that my own kneejerk defensiveness/love for any and all new musicals before I see them, is, in some ways exactly like the internet's kneejerk distrust/hatred of any and all new musicals before they see them. Both reactions have less basis in reality than in indoctrination. But the reason my indoctrination is superior (heh) is because its self-indoctrination - a connosieur's faith in his own taste and in the possibilites of the genre and not lazy long-since disproven cultural indoctrination that this genre is over or passé. I can blather about this peculiar problem for HOURS but I should probably spare you and we'll get back to "Annie".
After the jump we'll discuss the pros, cons, and "which column do I put this in" beats from the trailer.
- Yay. Another big screen musical!
- Sandy looks adorable and I appreciate a fresh take on Annie, casting-wise. It's been done for decades one way and it's in no way racially specific so why not?
- It's impossible to know if Quvenzhané Wallis's miraculous childhood performance in Beasts of The Southern Wild is going to translate to actual talent but I'm willing to be optimistic.
- Adore the new title design because it understands that it's selling a classic property but gives it just a smidge of an update by way of Annie's new silhouette
- The first minute of the trailer is rough... but it starts working better when the mood shifts to kick off "Tomorrow"
- I saw the revival on Broadway a year or two ago and was surprised to be reminded that "Tomorrow" just scratches the surface. It has more than just one classic number so they have multiple opportunities to shine.
- Will Gluck directed Easy A and though that cast as a whole was uneven he surely knew what he was doing with Emma Stone, Patty Clarkson, and Stanley Tucci even if "what he was doing" was getting out of their way. So optimism that he'll know great work if any of these actors are doing any of it.
- That was quite a convoluted "yes" entry -- I'm trying to stay optimistic! Because...
- YIKES! the trailer kicks off with Cameron Diaz barking her lines at her wards. I am no Diaz hater. In fact I usually think she's skilled at cartoonish comedy (MVP of those Charlie's Angels movies) but something looks horribly awry here, like first table-read coarse, no nuance or timing or anything worked out. She doesn't even seem drunk or [gulp] funny... both of which are musts for Miss Hannigan.
- And, for what it's worth, the star role in this musical has always been Miss Hannigan. If Cameron is bad the movie probably won't be able to function.
- Can't we find anything better to do with Rose Byrne post-Bridesmaids? Cuz damn she was funny and perfect and inspired in that. Not that this is a terrible role, it's just... limited. It's the kind of part they give to actresses that are pretty enough and famous enough but that they don't otherwise know what to do with (if, of course the role is not going to an actual musical star like Ann Reinking in the '82 version. Sutton Foster would've been perfection in this role -- or the Miss Hannigan role for that matter -- if they'd given her a shot. I'm not sure why they felt they needed four "names" when "Annie" is already a brand.)
- That millisecond shot of Rose and Q dancing on a rooftop looks much closer to goofing off than choreography, which... NO! You're making a musical. Sell it. Sell it. Sell it.
- Though I appreciate that it doesn't pretend it's not a musical, this Annie also doesn't really project that it's a good one, suspiciously not showing any musical number for more than 1 or (max) 2 seconds. Not even "Tomorrow". Are they just so blandly staged that they couldn't find a way to make them an enticement in the trailer. I mean...
- YIKES! A closeup of a plate in "It's a Hard Knock Life" is the most emphatic visual beat they could find to highlight in that number?
- If Miss Hannigan doesn't work the only hope is that the chemistry between the little orphan and her benefactor, the once very literally named "Daddy Warbucks" who is now the more generically named "Will Stacks", could save it. I suspect -- based on this ridiculously slim evidence -- that the chemistry will be there.
- "I don't like you in Harlem, why would I like you on Facebook?" - funny or obnoxious 'we've relocated this story to the present day!' pandering. I can't actually decide.
- It looks a little bit like a TV movie in visuals. WORRIED. But on the other hand I firmly believe that this is a poorly cut trailer. Consider that annoying and super generic pulsing fade to black thing at the "climax" which is used ad nauseum to sell horror movies and action flicks... but for a kid's musical. Wrong cutting tactic!
- Annie is not a "cool" musical. It's a family musical. Even if they do it justice a lot of it's probably going to be corny and fluffy and too sweet by half.
- I'm not at all confident that they're going to handle the socioeconomic disparity well but then I've never seen a version of Annie that knows how to deal with that problem of the text. The only way people deal with it is to dive in and celebrity obscene wealth and the fact that Annie essentially wins the lottery. But that part of it as always made me empathetic towards Miss Hannigan. She's not entirely wrong, you know.
HERE'S THE TRAILER
I was so longwinded. I'm ready for your thoughts, the good the bad and the indifferent alike...