Perhaps best known for his role as Baron Samedi in Live and Let Die, Geoffrey Holder had a long and prosperous career in the arts as a dancer, dance choreographer, actor, singer, costume designer, painter, sculptor, and so much more.
Watching the 2014 version of Annie earlier this evening reminded me of Geoffrey Holder and how much I loved his character Punjab in the 1982 version. He had a tremendous body of work which is touched upon in this great short retrospective.
Annie (Sony Pictures, 2014)
Directed by Will Gluck. With Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne. A foster kid, who lives with her mean foster mom, sees her life change when business tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in.
Finishing out the Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje 2014 mini-movie retrospective after watching Pompeii yesterday. What polar opposite characters in many senses. He didn’t seem as big or imposing here while he was positively brutal in the other.
The opening with the alternate red headed Annie would have played better if it was a tad more respectful to its own source material.
This incarnation of Annie was alright, but not as solid as the 1982 version. The update to a modern setting was relatively good, but New York didn’t feel much like New York. A part of the magic was missing and I’d suggest that it was the music that killed it for me. None of the singing felt live and all of it was auto-tuned even for actors for whom it probably wasn’t necessary. On top of this none of the classic songs from the book were understandable from a lyrics point of view, and this is sad since that’s where half of the story is hiding.
The other piece that was missing was the general chemistry between Annie and her benefactor. The ebullient joy of the 1982 Annie with the curmudgeon played by Albert Finney just overwhelmed the poorly developed relationship in this version.
This might have been better timed from a zeitgeist perspective if it had been released in Fall 2016 with more veiled references to Trump, though no one would have bought the rich-guy-with-a-heart ending.