(Review originally written at 21 September 2008)

The best way to describe this movie in my opinion is to say it's not that interesting. I honestly don't understand why some movies ever get made. Seriously now, how can you as a studio ever green-light such a project after you've read the very generic script, filled with all the clichés and the usual suspects. It offers no surprises at all and it's a totally predictable movie from start till finish.

It's a self indulged project, that is about living the American dream by joining a prestigious naval academy. But why our main character exactly wants to be in it so badly just never really becomes clear to me. Becomes he promised his mother before her death? Now seriously, that seems like a totally crazy thing to promise to your mother now doesn't it? A lot of things just don't become clear to me in this movie. For instance also why exactly the two main characters, played by James Franco and Tyrese Gibson hate each other so badly from the start on. It seems to have no grounds. And why is he liked Lt. Burton so much? What makes his character so special? To me he just seems like one of the boys and gals of the naval academy and he has no particular special skills or ideals. Also his boxing skills aren't that impressive.

For in essence "Annapolis" strangely enough is also a boxing movie. Not that the boxing serves a significant enough purpose for the movie though really, since the movie focuses on so many (too many) more elements around it. Also the way the boxing sequences are shot is just completely terrible. It shows it as a sport in which you have to punch as hard as you can without stopping. Seriously, no tactics are involved and I actually wonder if the movie had a boxing coach or professional present during the making of the movie, since it seems to me that the cast and crew had no idea what there were doing when it came down to its boxing sequences. It's a movie that gives boxing a sort of a bad name. It presents the sport as one in which two crazed individuals aggressively, constantly take a swing at another.

But the movie concentrates on much more elements. It's a dramatic, romantic, sports movie. It's however also very predictable in every way, which ensures the the drama, the romance as well as the sport just doesn't work out in this movie. All of the characters are so incredibly standard and overdone. All of the characters you would expect in a movie about a tough naval academy are present here. But also the script just doesn't ever offer any surprises. And yes, of course the movie also manages to throw in a love-story, which just wasn't necessary and it doesn't exactly make this movie any better or more likable to watch.

In the end I just don't really know what this movie is about. Is it about the main character trying to fix the relationship between him and his father? Or is it perhaps about achieving something in life by devoting yourself to the service of your country? Is it about fighting for your chance in life? Is it about finding and getting with the love of your life? I'm really not sure what the movie tried to achieve and it tries to throw in a bit of everything, however with as a result that basically nothing really works out for the movie as it should had.

James Franco is a good actor but he just ain't quite ready yet the play the main character in any movie. He is always at his best playing a secondary character, that stays more on the background but has as well also has just a couple of big scene's for himself. The movie is filled with some other well known actors but none of their characters really work out, which is obviously not mainly just due to their acting performances but mostly more to it's formulaic script and probably also directing. It's a funny thing that the unknown Vicellous Reon Shannon, who yet plays a very formulaic role (the fat guy with twinkies under his bed), is the only actor who lets his character work out and lets him become one you can actually sympathize for.

No sir, I don't like it. The movie just isn't interesting to watch. It's clichéd and just overall doesn't seem to have a point.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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