I first saw the Charles Strouse musical Annie on Broadway when I was a kid in the late 1970s. It was fresh then, in an era when original, tuneful musicals were dying out and being replaced with mean-spirited, dissonant rambling from the likes of Stephen Sondheim or vacuous, pop-style melodies courtesy of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Filled with charming, memorable songs, Annie was like a breath of clean air in Manhattan. It was easy to like. It put a smile on your face.
Then came the movie version, directed by John Huston and starring Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks. Not a top-notch picture, despite the talent involved. Somehow, it didn't translate well to the screen. The magic wasn't there.
Now we're getting a remake, and I have to say, I'm not enthused. It's possible that it will be a run ride, but it's more likely that it will stink ... which will be a shame, considering that it has fine actors such as Jamie Foxx in it. I'm not convinced this will work, especially with a revamped screenplay that seems like it's tailored to contemporary audiences.
Hopefully, it won't keep the tacked-on-feeling song "Dumb Dog," which infiltrated the 1982 film like a person trying to see two movies in the theater with only one ticket.
One of problems I expect to have from the remake, gauging from the trailer, is that it'll be relentlessly cheerful without offering a reason to like the characters. This worked in the original musical, which took place in the Depression era and had a motivation for its sunny disposition ... at a time when gloominess reigned. Shifting the action to today takes away that context, so I wonder if it will be as successful. My feeling is it won't.
And if that's the case, the sun won't come out tomorrow for legions of Annie fans. I will be one of them. That's no easy street, my friends. Not at all.