Annie (Special Anniversary Edition)
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245 of 277 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2005
Well, I think this is a really swell movie. Albert Finney and Carol Burnett crack me up, Aileen Quinn is exactly what Annie should be, and Sandy is perfect.

But WHY OH WHY is this not being offered in a widescreen format? I have yet to see all of "It's a Hard Knock Life" and I know those girls are knocking themselves out offscreen. I've seen this movie on three different media. All were pan and scan, and all three showed different parts of the picture! The worst was a VHS release. (...)

I don't know which is more frustrating about this anniversary dvd, the fact that it doesn't offer widescreen, or the fact that the dvd menu and the special features show the movie clips in widescreen, teasing me with those brief glimpses.

There is no reason that dvd manufacturers shouldn't at least OFFER a widescreen version. Let's get with the 21st century already!
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114 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2004
You cannot beat the cast in this movie. It has some of the greats, like Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters and Tim Curry. That is part of the reason why the Disney version could never compare to this one. Also, Aileen Quinn makes such a great Annie. She really looks spunky. She can look really sweet, but also tomboyish. She can look threatening, like all the times she raises her fists. The girl in the Disney "Annie" looks too sweet. She isn't as convincing when she tries to fight. If you want to watch Annie, this is the version to get.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2006
Some of my earliest childhood memories include watching this version of "Annie" with my older sisters and cousins. We could never get enough of it, and quite frankly I think this movie is what spawned our rather humorous attempt to act out the play ourselves in the basement.

In any case, this film has been brought back in a Special Edition DVD for whole new generations, as well as previous generations who remember it from their childhood. It seems a lot of people have given this version heat, mainly for deviating a bit from the original Broadway storyline, but I believe this is arguably the best "Annie" you could get your hands on, for a reason that another reviewe here, "Kelli," already indicated.

The acting is passionate. Purely, genuinely, and undeniably passionate. I don't know where they found that little Aileen Quinn, but she embodies absolutely everything that this character is supposed to symbolize. She is plucky, sweet, tough as nails, and underneath it all, she's just looking for a family to call her own. She probably fits her given role better than any other child actress in any movie I've ever seen, and I mean that sincerely. She is just amazing. For that matter, every single cast member appears to have poured their entire soul into their roles, with acting that contains remarkable depth and incredible spirit.

The song and dance numbers, too, are a phenomenol addition to this film. A few original new songs are added to this version, including "We've Got Annie" and "Dumb Dog" (which I personally didn't love and found to be a bit out of place, but it was still pretty cute). There are clearly professional dancers and talented voices galore to accompany every song, making it an ideal musical experience for the whole family.

It appears that many people prefer the recent TV version of "Annie" with Alicia Morton because the plot is faithful to the Broadway musical version. That may be true, but in my opinion that remake did not stand the slightest chance against the acting of this 80's version. Albert Finney and Aileen Quinn work beautifully alongside one another, with Finney giving a perfect portrayal of a workaholic man who is constantly seeking to push Annie away but eventually recognizes that she is the daughter he always needed. Ann Reinking (Grace Farrell) plays the nurturing motherly role to a "T," and of course, the classic and hysterical Carol Burnett helps Miss Hannigan steal every single scene she is in. The orphans are all well cast, each with their own distinct personalities and all notably expressive in front of the camera. (They really did get lucky with the kids in this movie; all of them were very genuine and a talented group of little actresses). A beautiful story indeed, brought to life impeccably on screen and a pure joy to watch. It's one of those movies that truly does just make you smile, and the approach these actors took with their roles is the main reason for that.

As for the Special Anniversary DVD Edition...it is not anything major, but it does include some good stuff. The popular teen group "Play" sings their own version of "Hard Knock Life" (which, if you know the 4 teens who make up this girl group, it is a perfect song for them), there are some "Sing and Act Along with Annie" sections, and most notably, you get a short featurette with an all-grown-up Aileen Quinn. Long-time fans of this movie will absolutely love to see her come on-screen and talk about her experiences with the film and how the newfound fame impacted her life afterward. (I personally love the flashback video segment where Carol Burnette hugs Aileen and says "Aileen, can I put you in my bag and take you home with me? I can't be mean to this kid!") Judging from this featurette, Quinn seems very personable and easygoing, and there's no doubt that playing Annie must have been a very special memory from her childhood.

The DVD is absolutely worth getting if you love this movie. It has some nice special features and, of course, the actual film will always remain a classic in itself.
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111 of 144 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2005
I can't help but wonder if ALL the widescreen prints of this movie were destroyed in a warehouse fire. Why would you bother to master another "Special Anniversary Edition" with a new DTS soundtrack and not include a Wide screen version? Especially with more and more widescreen TVs on the market. It is going to look pretty silly in a few years showing this pan and scanned musical on your widescreen TV. While not my favorite movie musical, I would still buy it if they ever have the sense to release it in it's original format! Until then...forget it!
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66 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Many people pass off ANNIE as a children's musical, when in actuality it has one of the most sophisticated scores and the book is of a higher standard than of many other shows. It still holds a record of something like the 8th or 9th longest running show on Broadway, and it is a delight among theatre-goers.
This new Disney version stays faithful to the stage score and script, not like John Huston's rambling version back in 1981 (refer to my review for this), and it is a delight to watch. It has that 'theatrical-style' feel to it.
The esteemed cast, the bulk of which are seasoned Broadway performers, include Kathy Bates as Miss Hannigan, Alan Cumming as Rooster, Audra McDonald as Grace Farrell, Kristin Chenoweth as Lily St Regis, Victor Garber as Daddy Warbucks and the lovely Alicia Morton as Annie. Making a cameo in the 'NYC' number as ''Star To Be'' is (oh happy day) the original Broadway Annie - Andrea McArdle.
The cast is sensational, and while I will not bring down the 1981 performers of Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters and Ann Reinking, they are far more believable in their interpretations.
You must buy this new version of the Broadway smash ANNIE!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By now, everyone probably knows the story of Annie (Aileen Quinn), the little tomboy who longs for her real parents to take her away from the orphanage. Instead, she is adopted for a week by billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney) under the care of his secretary Grace (Ann Reinking). They fall in love with her and try to help her find her real parents who we find out are really dead. The orphan home's caretaker Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett), her criminal brother (Tim Curry), and his moll (Bernadette Peters) decide to impersonate Annie's parents to get the cash reward, but the orphans get wind and try to stop them.

No other version compares to this one; the cast is outstanding. Quinn is appropriately innocent, but belies intelligence under her curly red hair. Burnett is wonderful as always, playing a personally triumphant part; her parents were both alcoholics. Curry plays a menace truthfully, and yet he's still a bit likable- at least in the beginning. Even Peters' role stands out; she was wonderful during this era. Although musicals tend to be a bit silly sometimes, this one straddles the fine line between fantasy and believability very well. Viewers of any age can find themselves enraptured in every bit of the story.

And the music! It has really earned a place in Americana. Who doesn't know the hopeful song "Tomorrow?" The music has become so popular that even Jay-Z sampled "Hard Knock Life." Some of the lesser knowns are amazing as well. "Little Girls" features many clever lines. "Let's Go to the Movies" is very fun and serves as blanket praise for the classic movie era. "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" is catchy and wonderfully represents old time radio advertisement songs. "Easy Street" is tons of fun thanks to Burnett, Curry, and Peters and their comic performances.

There are certainly flaws, the most glaring having to do with the time period. The opener hails the year: 1929. However, the film does not stick to that year. It includes Franklin D. Roosevelt as a character, and yet he was not elected president until 1932. Furthermore, the New Deal discussed in the film did not come about until 1933. Also, the film everyone goes to see in the theater is Camille from 1936. Even the most avoidable of mistakes occurs. In the beginning of the film, one learns that Annie is ten years old, but later, when reading her birth certificate, one learns that she was born in 1922. However, one with no interest in history could easily ignore these mistakes as they do not detract from the story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2012
"Annie" has had a spotty history on home video. Unless you were lucky enough to have a widescreen laserdisc in the 90's, or the widescreen DVD that was available shortly in the early 2000's, you've most likely only seen the film in an awful pan-and-scan presentation with 40% of the picture missing (and the opening credits squished into the frame). And if you were lucky enough to have either of the widescreen versions, you wouldn't have the bonus features from the later full-frame "anniversary" DVD release of 2002.

Sony has finally given "Annie" fans the presentation we have hoped for with this 30th Anniversary Blu-ray edition. I won't go into a review of the movie; it is what it is. But how is the Blu-ray...?

Video

A! "Annie" has never looked better. There may be a few people who saw a 70mm print in 1982, but if that isn't you, it's probable that this is the best you've ever seen. That being said, "Annie" was filmed in the early 1980's, and so it looks like a film from the early 1980's. A little more grain that we might be used to, but kudos to Sony for staying true to the look of the film and not trying to eliminate the grain with over processing. The picture is sharp and natural, with the orphanage scenes looking suitably drab and monotone, and the mansion scenes nicely detailed. Watching it with my daughters (who have only seen the widescreen DVD), there were several scenes where they said "I never noticed (insert detail here)!" That's a sure sign of a good presentation. There will no doubt be some flaws that are noticed for the first time (several scenes exhibit an odd oversaturation on the light bulbs in the mansion, which I suspect are in the film source), but all in all the HD video is superb, and sure to please any fan.

Audio

A+! The English audio is presented in DTS MA 5.1, (not Dolby Digital 5.1), and again, it has never sounded better. From start to finish, the sound is full and rich, with good use of all channels. Even my subwoofer got a workout, with the bottom-end of the musical numbers shaking the room. Rumor has it that some 70mm theatrical presentations had "directional dialogue" (where the voices follow the actors across the front speakers), but that is not the case here (it is always from the center channel, as is now common).

Extras

Yes, there are extras on this disc. It includes the "My Hollywood Adventure" with Aileen Quinn, a 12 minute featurette from 2002 where she shares her memories of getting the part of Annie and filming the movie. It is very well done, with some good archival and behind the scenes footage. In the absence of a more in depth documentary, this will have to do. The Blu-ray also includes the music video for a contemporary pop version of "Hard Knock Life" by the group "Play", whom Wikipedia informs me was a Swedish girl group from the early 2000s (both the "My Hollywood Adventure" and music video are from the 2002 DVD).

There is a good presentation of vintage "Annie" trailers and TV commercials from 1982; two trailers and three commercials. Frankly, the trailers are pretty bad, even judging by the standards of 30 years ago. But it's great to have them here.

This disc does not have the "Act Along With Annie" or Trivia game from the 2002 release, or the "Original Movie Art Gallery" or "Talent Files" from the widescreen DVD release.

There is also a "Sing Along Blu-ray Exclusive", which I didn't look at, and a trailer for "Arthur Saves Christmas".

Thanks to Sony for giving us such a great version of this oft maligned film. My biggest complaint is that they didn't put chapter stops at the beginning of the songs, which should be standard practice for any Blu-ray musical! But now we can watch ET, Annie and Tron on Blu-ray and show our kids why it was so awesome to be 8-years-old in the summer of 1982.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2004
i remember seeing this film in the theatre when i was about 12 or 13. i feel in love with it!!! i see the other reviews that this version does not compare to the disney version, and more so on the play version. might i remind you that Annie was a comic strip, long before it was even though of as a play or even a movie. so i dont think that it is fair to compair this movie to the play or even to the disney version. i feel that it is simply a different version that hollywood put together. at that time when annie came out, musicals were fading fast!! the last big musical that was a box office smash before annie, was grease. but even though musicals were on the way to becomming "extinct". it was not really until evita that they started to be "revived". look at moulon rouge and chicago. the latter won a best picture oscar award among others. i feel that this movie fif a real good job on tellng the story of how annie meet daddy warbucks in a two hour or so movie. i feel they could have found a better girl to play annie, but we can't win them all. all and all she did the best that she could knowing that this is the first movie that she made. i bought this dvd movie a few months ago, and i dont think it sound really well on a good surround sound. I have done some research in recent monts to find that the new version will be cheese and scan. That is a major turn off when I am buying my DVDs. I will stick to this version, for it is, if not already out of print. Dont get this movie, this movie it very wide.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2002
Now I need to settle this conflict that has been going on between the two Annie movies the Disney version is trash don't waist your time... here's a fact that I bet no one knew, its that this version of Annie may not be exactly like the Broadway Musical but it is so much more like the book written by Thomas Meehan. This movie is for every thing and wholesome thing in life it shows that the sun really will come out tomorrow! And need I mention the awesome actors in this movie I mean come on! who can get better than Carol Burnett, Aileen Quinn is by far the most outstanding Annie I have ever seen i believe she is exactly how Harold Gray (the creator of Annie) wanted Annie to be. Over all this is one of the best movies ever!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2003
This is one of the cutest kids movies of all times and I loved it . I love little Orpahn Annie the young lady who portrayed this role did a wonderful job!!!!! Albert Finney, and Carol Burnettt did a great job also . This is a musical and it is about and orphan going to live for a little while with a rich tycoon billionaire "Daddy Warbucks" I liked this movie it was cute, witty, and entertaining this is a lot of dancing, tap dancing , and singing in this movie I really did like this movie I thought it was so adorable!!!!
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