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Miss Jennifer



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PostSubject: Annie 2014   Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:56 pm

Let me preface this by saying that I'm not against a new adaptation of Annie on principle. I actually LIKE seeing new screen adaptations of books, plays and musicals. That's why I like seeing different productions of the same stage shows...every new actor and director can bring something new to the production. And if I hadn't been open to that, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the 1999 made-for-TV Annie (which in some ways was superior to the 1982 version IMO).

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I don't mind the race change for Annie and "Warbucks." (You'll see in a second why I used scare quotes.) After all, Audra McDonald (the incredible) in the 1999 movie was an African-American, and it didn't bother me at all because AUDRA MCDONALD.

But can someone tell me why in God's name they felt the need to update it to the present day when the Great Depression was so central to the original musical and the comic strip it was based on (well, at least the beginning)? If it were just a non-musical adaptation of the basic story of the strip, I wouldn't mind so much, since the strip worked on, well, Comic Book Time. (Just as I don't mind them setting the upcoming Paddington movie in the present day because that series also worked on Comic Book Time, and because they're giving it a timeless look.) But the original musical was set during that time period, so why the update?

I don't get the logic of "kids won't be able to relate to it unless it's set in the modern day." Kids have been enjoying the show in all its incarnations (original stage show, 1982 movie, 1999 movie) for decades already. Plus, they read historical kids' books and all that (American Girl, Magic Tree House--one summer the library where I work couldn't keep MTH on the shelves). All it takes is a little explanation from parents before they sit down to the movie ("This took place in the 1930s, when things were really tough for the country and Franklin Roosevelt was trying to find ways of making things better."). So WHY?! Besides, whenever a movie tries to "make itself relevant for the modern era," usually all it ends up doing is dating itself. It's the story's themes which make it timeless, not the time period it's set in. The show's creators didn't see any reason to set it in the seventies!

Oh, well, at least Jamie Foxx is going to be in it, as Oliver Warbucks...wait a minute?! Who is this "Benjamin Stacks" guy?!

Okay, even if they DID update the setting, WHY DID THEY SEE THE NEED TO CHANGE THE NAME OF A CENTRAL CHARACTER OF THE ORIGINAL STRIP?! Did they not think the name "Oliver Warbucks" sounded KEWL enough?!

Look, I don't mind when an adaptation makes changes to its source material as long as the changes aren't clumsy or arbitrary, and as long as they've got conscientious reasoning behind them. But the reasoning behind this seems no more conscientious than "it'll get holiday dollars from the Glee crowd."

And speaking of Glee...it sounds as if they're autotuning "Tomorrow." Ugh. AUTOTUNING. If your singing voice isn't good enough to stand on its own then you've got no business being in a movie musical.

I dunno...I might just end up breaking down and seeing it, if only for the score, and it's nice to know that kids will get some appreciation for said score. But it just burns me up that they couldn't have trusted the source material for its own sake. I know the 1999 ABC version made some changes, but arguably, they weren't bad at all, and it remedied one of the 1982 movie's sins (taking out good songs and replacing them with lame ones) by putting two of the show's best songs back in.

Plus I'm willing to give this version half a point because, when it comes to fidelity to a source, the original show did make one major change. Harold Gray, the creator of the original strip, HATED FDR's guts and thought the New Deal was a tool of the Devil. He'd have spit nails if he'd seen the show making FDR a sympathetic character and ending on a song praising the New Deal.


Last edited by Miss Jennifer on Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Disco Stu
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:31 pm

what did bob dylan say about the times?
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Mr.Doobie
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:33 pm

Mistress Jennifer wrote:
And speaking of Glee...it sounds as if they're autotuning "Tomorrow." Ugh. AUTOTUNING. If your singing voice isn't good enough to stand on its own then you've got no business being in a movie musical.

#1 - Ok are you aware that pretty much every vocal performance outside of live performances has some degree of autotune/vocal correction/whatthefuckever. Hell, even some Broadway musicals like "Phantom of the Opera" use canned music which is autotuned. If you get a burr up your butt about autotuned than you better get used to listening only to local, unsigned lo-fi garage bands and their lead singers are often the worst thing about them. Autotune has nothing to do with the vocal integrity of the performer.

#2 - wtf does this even have to do with the remake of "Annie"?

Mistress Jenny wrote:
But can someone tell me why in God's name they felt the need to update it to the present day when the Great Depression was so central to the original musical and the comic strip it was based on (well, at least the beginning)?

surely poverty and a rags-to-riches story is something only relevant to the Great Depression and poor people haven't existed since then c'mon now
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Miss Jennifer



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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:37 pm

I can see where you're coming from re: the autotuning. Maybe I was a bit harsh, but I guess it's just that warbly sound that's a bit grating to me lately. It seems sort of, I dunno, overused these days.

I have been thinking a bit about what makes a setting update work and what doesn't. After all, in all fairness, I've liked some setting updates in other contexts if they're done well--the big-screen adaptations of The Fugitive and Get Smart, for example, or Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet and Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, or the 1997 cable adaptation of Twelve Angry Men. Maybe much of it comes down to, as I said, the reasoning behind it. I do tend to cringe a bit when I hear the words "hip" or "trendy"--that too often bespeaks rather shallow motives behind the update. Whereas one like, say, Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet or Ian McKellan's Richard III can help Shakespeare newcomers to see the play's themes afresh. In my interpretation, the 1996 Romeo and Juliet gave a fresh sense of how ugly, violent, and out-of-control the feud was, which also gave a fresh sense of how pure--and doomed--R & J's love was in the middle in all of it.

Maybe the movie might well surprise me. It's just that the trailer seemed somewhat off-putting to me on first glance.

So what do you guys think? What makes a setting update work, and what doesn't?
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:58 pm

Annie is a pretty timeless story so I think the time period is largely irrelevant.

Lately I've been reading up on a lot of Brecht and I'm very interested in his use of "historification" in his attempt to help alienate his audience. The idea is to set the play so far back in the past that it has no relevance to the audience or anyone they know so that they don't have an emotional frame of reference for the time period and in so doing Brecht can limit their emotional connection to the play and have them focus on the message instead and process the play logically.

So I think there is something to be said about making plays "relevant" in time period to a general audience.
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:12 pm

Modern stories are much cheaper and easier to produce than period pieces. But I do object to changing the name of a main character. Harold Gray's characters all had names that reflected their names. Oliver Warbucks was a munitions manufacturer. Mrs Bleeding Heart was an air headed liberal, ect.

I used to read old Little Orphan Annie comics on microfilm at the local University. During the course of World War 2 she sank at least a dozen Nazi U-Boats including one in Boston Harbor which she destroyed with the USS Constitution manned by a crew of ghosts. Now that would be awesome!
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:08 pm

surely Benjamin Stacks is his name because he has stacks of benjamins
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:22 pm

Cyberwulf wrote:
surely Benjamin Stacks is his name because he has stacks of benjamins

Cool! I never thought of that!
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:57 pm

"Business tycoon and mayoral candidate Benjamin Stacks"

Since there's already an intensely popular arms dealer making repeated, show-stealing AAA-title appearances (what's his name? Bony Fark? Bonerfart? Yeah, pretty sure that's it) they probably used Dumbass Producer Logic to make him less "confusing for audiences." I mean, the name still works, but they've definitely isolated him from the politics of the original character already.
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:37 pm

Quvenzhané Wallis stars in this one, right? Really I could just barely give fewer shits about everything else, that girl is brilliant. I am looking forward to this.
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:05 pm

Could be worse, though. The movie was originally a vehicle for Willow Smith to launch her career. :facepalm:
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:40 am

Kari Izumi wrote:
Could be worse, though. The movie was originally a vehicle for Willow Smith to launch her career. :facepalm:
Interesting. I have no idea if she can act or not so I really do not know if that would have worked. *shrug* She is p adorable tho, I would not mind seeing her in something.
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:07 pm

Unfortunately, Willow Smith's singing is akin to nails on a chalkboard to me....so, there's that. I'm glad for the current actress getting the role.
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PostSubject: Re: Annie 2014   Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:41 am

Yes, perhaps she should be in a non-musical production of some kind.
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