Annie: Special Anniversary Edition (review)

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Sometimes childhood memories are best left undisturbed. I seem to recall getting a kick, way back when, out of this 1982 big-screen adaptation of the Broadway hit, but sheesh, is this one overly long, uninspired, and frequently awful film or what? John Huston directs the absurdly spunky Aileen Quinn to a caricature of a performance in the title role, and the rest of the cast, from Albert Finney to Carol Burnett, get swept up in the preposterousness. And yet, as high-spirited as the film tries to be, it never takes off, never engages our enthusiasm. Still, it’s fine fluff for youngsters, and this disc is aimed squarely at them — the care and attention that serious filmphiles look for in a DVD is nowhere evident. The sound has been remastered and is lovely, but the picture is marred by imperfections and, worse of it, is presented in full-screen. All doubt that this disc is intended for kids only is put to rest by the extras, which are exclusively juvenile: a music video of Tween band Play performing “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” and “Act-Along with Annie” and “Sing-Along with Annie” features. Any recommendation is mostly for nostalgic reasons — as a “special” DVD celebration of a supposedly classic film, this package leaves a lot to be desired.

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