Monday, December 22, 2014

ANNIE - Go See It!

ANNIE (2014)
An Overbrook Production
Producers: WILL SMITH, JADA PINKETT SMITH, CALEEB PINKETT, JAMES LASSITER

Directed by WILL GLUCK
Screenplay by WILL GLUCK and ALINE BROSH MCKENNA

Starring
JAMIE FOXX (Will Stacks)
QUVENZHANE WALLIS (Annie)
ROSE BYRNE (Grace)
BOBBY CANNAVALE (Guy)
CAMERON DIAZ (Hannigan)



Pam and I saw ANNIE (PG) this afternoon and loved it. It is not only faithful to the story and the spirit of the original films, but with adds some insightful lines and good kicks.

Of course what I liked the best was the consistency of the moral premise portrayed in the various character arcs, the casting, the art direction, and the songs.

The title song, "Opportunity" by Sia, which Quvenzhané sings in Act 3, is a great example of taking the moral premise and putting it in lyrics. Watch the video embedded here, with the lyrics written out below, although this will not be as meaningful until you see the movie, so...

STOP! GO SEE THE MOVIE FIRST...TAKE THE WHOLE FAMILY. 
Then come back here...I'll save a place for you in line.



OPPORTUNITY, by Sia, performed by Quvenzhané Wallis 
Under the glow of the very bright lights
I turn my face towards the warm night sky
And I...I'm not afraid of a thousand eyes [the stars]
When they're above Five hundred smiles [the stars of hope seem far away]
Oh, I used to think (she used to)
What wouldn't I give (what wouldn't she give)
For a Moment like this.
This Moment, this gift
Now look at me and this opportunity
It's standing right in front of me
But one thing I know it's only part luck, and so
I'm putting on my best show
Under the spot light I'm starting my life
Big dreams becoming real tonight
So look at me & this Opportunity
You're witnessing my Moment
You see
I find myself here & it's time
This is real and it's a Gold...mine
I'm not afraid to fly
When it's above five-hundred smiles
I used to think (she used to think)
What I wouldn't give (what wouldn't she give)
For a Moment like this
This Moment, this Gift.
Now look at me and this opportunity
It's standing right in front of me
But one thing I know
It's only part luck
I'm putting on my best show
Under the spotlight I"m starting my life
Big dreams becoming real tonight
So look at me and this opportunity
You're witnessing my Moment, you see
My big opportunity
I won't waste it
I Guarantee

Those of you familiar with the Moral Premise concept know that it's a simple concept that universally relates opposing motivational values and their natural law consequences. Humans cannot escape these, and so when fictional characters reflect the organic and naturally true relationships (between values and consequences) the audience is sure to identify with the characters on a deep, moral level. This enhances the box office.

ANNIE (2014) is thus an elegant expression of the adage:
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
Little orphan Annie exudes optimism and hope although she has every reason (it would seem) to be pessimistic and despaired, like some of the other characters. But in Act 1 we notice how her optimism prepares her for the opportunity. As the song says "It's only part luck" and so when the opportunity stands in front of her, she puts on her best show.  (Watch for this in other characters, too.)

There are some good permutations of the moral premise that I'll expand on later, but for now try this:

Pessimism leads to rejection of your Moment (of Grace) 
and squandering what's in front of you; but
Optimism leads to the acceptance of your Moment (of Grace) 
and not wasting a golden opportunity.  

Now the consistent application of this concept is played out in ALL the subplots and even in one character's name. It's beautiful to see. But I'll not spoil it now by blogging all the beats and metaphors, and reinforcements.  Go see the movie, and after the DVD comes out (or if Overbrook wants to get me a copy sooner....hint!) I'll be PREPARED.

I will blog on this later, but I don't want to spoil it by telling you. Let the movie SHOW YOU. 

2 comments:

Brenda Saldana said...

Ok, you talked me into seeing it. I wasn't sure, with so many movies out, racing for the Oscars. Thank you for your blog! Merry Christmas Stan!

Anonymous said...

You convinced me. I'll take the kids.