Annie (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

March 11, 2015 by  


“Annie” is a fun, upbeat family film and if you were never familiar with the original Broadway play or the 1982 film, then you may enjoy this film even more.

Images courtesy of © 2014 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.



DURATION: 118 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, English StereoSubtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Picture Home Entertainment


RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2015

Based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” by Harold Gray

Directed by Will Gluck

Written by Will Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna

Executive Producer: Celia D. Costas, Alicia Emmrich

Produced by Jay Brown, Will Gluck, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Caleeb Pinkett, Tyran Smith, Will Smith, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter

Co-Producer: Jeffrey Wetzel

Music by Greg Kurstin

Cinematography by Michael Grady

Edited by Tia Nolan

Casting by Kathleen Chopin

Production Design by Marcia Hinds

Art Direction by Patricia Woodbridge

Set Decoration by Romano C. Pugliese, David Schlesinger

Costume Design by Renee Ehrlich Kaifus


Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks

Quvenzhane Wallis as Annie

Rose Byrne as Grace

Bobby Cannavale as Guy

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Nash

David Zayas as Lou

Cameron Diaz as Hannigan

Zoe Margaret Colletti as Tessi

Nicolette Pierini as Mia

Eden Duncan-Smith as Isabella

Amanda Troya as Pepper

Peter Van Wagner as Harold Gray

Micahel J. Fox as himself

Academy Award nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who’s also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since with Annie in the care of her mean foster mother Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything’s about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) – advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) – makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it’s the other way around.


It began with an 1885 poem by James Whitcomb Riley and led to a 1924 comic strip by Harold Gray, “Little Orphan Annie” was a series that may have focused on a young orphan girl, but the storyline was geared for adults as it was political.

But by 1930, when the storyline was made into a radio show and in 1977 when it was made into a Broadway musical, suffice to say, Annie became part of America’s pop culture and known for songs such as “Tomorrow”, “Maybe” and “It’s the Hard-Knock Life”.

As “Annie” would receive a film adaptation in 1982, “Annie” would continue on stage and once again in a film in 2014 directed by Will Gluck (“Easy A”, “Friends With Benefits”, “The Michael J. Fox Show”, “The McCarthys”).  The film was produced by Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay Z and a few others.

The film would star Jamie Foxx (“Collateral”, “Ray”, “Django Unchained”), Quvenzhane Wallis (“12 Years a Slave”, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”), Rose Byrne (“X-Men: First Class”, “Neighbors”, “Insidious”), Bobby Cannavale (“Win Win”, “Chef”, “The Bone Collector”), Adewale Akinnuouye-Agbaje (“G.I. Joe”, “Lost”, “The Bourne Identity”, “Thor: The Dark World”), David Zayas (“Dexter”, “Oz”, “The Expendables”) and Cameron Diaz (“There’s Something About Mary”, “Gangs of New York”, “Being John Malkovich”).

And now “Annie” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in March 2015.

A contemporary remake of the original 1977 Broadway musical with a change of setting and characters.

The film is set in Harlem, 10-year-old Annie Bennett (portrayed by Quvenzhane Wallis) is a young girl who dreams of her parents coming back.  She often waits at a local restaurant expecting them to come back to her, but she holds on to hope.

Annie lives at a foster home parented by the mean and often drunk Colleen Hannigan (portrayed by Cameron Diaz), who wanted Annie for the free paycheck.  One day, as Hannigan is visited by a social worker, she accidentally drops a document of her records and Annie finds records that may point her to the direction of where her parents may be.

Meanwhile, Will Stacks (portrayed by Jamie Foxx) is a cell phone mogul running for mayor.  He’s a germaphobe and while exceptional in the communications industry, he’s not a good communicator and relies on his assistant Grace (portrayed by Rose Byrne), his driver Nash (portrayed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and his campaign manager Guy (portrayed by Bobby Cannavale).

One day, as Annie is trying to save a dog from bullies, she is nearly hit by a car but rescued by Will Stacks.  Someone shot the video and posted in social media and immediately, his numbers in the polls rise.

Seeing how people reacted to him saving Annie’s life, Will’s people advise him to bring Annie to his place for her to live temporarily in order to bring up his points.  Annie agrees to it and she goes to live with Will Stacks and also adopts the female dog she saved, named Sandy.

And as the two live with each other, they realize they make each other happy but how long can Annie put away her true emotions of wanting to be part of Will’s life, like a family member in order to help him raise his popularity among the voters?



“Annie” is presented in 2:40:1 anamorphic widescreen, audio in English, French, Spanish and English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Stereo.

It’s important to note that if you want the best picture and audio quality, I highly recommend purchasing the Blu-ray release of “Annie”.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Spanish and French.


“Annie” comes with the following special features:

  • Director’s Commentary – Audio commentary by Will Gluck.
  • The Making of Annie – (14:35) A featurette with director Will Gluck, the crew and cast of “Annie”.
  • You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile – Music Video – (3:25)


Back in the early ’80s, “Annie” was one of the first films I watched on cable.   At the time, “Annie” was a big part of American culture thanks to the Broadway play and the music.

While “Annie” may not be as well-known for younger audiences of today or even young adults of today, “Annie” was one of those feel-good, rags-to-riches story featuring memorable music and the film also featured wonderful performances by the film’s many talents.

While my original perception was “do we really need a remake of ‘Annie’?” and frowned upon a contemporary remake, like all films, you never know what to expect unless you give it a try.

While the original 1982 film is much better in how it was able to recreate an old-time setting, create drama and comedy thanks to the performances in the film, the 2014 film is no doubt lively, contemporary and fun but when compared to the 1982 film, the contemporary version tends to seem weak in storyline and doesn’t captivate you in the same way.

One positive aspect of the 2014 film is that young actress Quevenzhane Wallis as Annie can sing!  Her character is vibrant but helps make the film more enjoyable.  And while I enjoyed watching Jamie Foxx and Rose Byrne, the modern take of this film has been drastically changed too much for its own good.

The original featured Annie and her friends as orphans and a tyrant of an owner making life difficult for each of the orphans.  While in the 2014 remake, Cameron Diaz’ Hannigan doesn’t stay as an antagonist too long.  We have social media being too much of a part of this film and many shameless plugs for Instagram galore, I founded myself enjoying the musical acts featuring Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx or Rose Byrne more than the film itself.

Not to say that the remake of “Annie” was bad, because it wasn’t.  It was a fun, upbeat film but it’s just that for us older viewers who remember “Annie”, this was not the “Annie” we grew up.  And that’s fine.   I see the film as Annie for a new generation of children and while families and people of all ages can enjoy it, those who are not familiar with the original story or its music may find this 2014 “Annie” to be much more easier to accept.

As for the DVD release, as mentioned, if you want the best picture and audio quality, then the Blu-ray release is the way to go.  The DVD features a music video, making of and audio commentary, bu the Blu-ray release features sing-along tracks and more content.

Overall, “Annie” is a fun, upbeat family film and if you were never familiar with the original Broadway play or the 1982 film, then you may enjoy this film even more.  The problem is that the original 1982 film was better in terms of movie setting, writing, performances by its talent and it retained that magic from the original “Little Orphan Annie”.  The contemporary remake was too different, the writing was weaker when compared to the original, but I did enjoy the musical performances by young actress Quvenzhane Wallis, who can definitely sing!  But in the end, because of its modern interpretation, the younger generation may enjoy this remake much more.

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