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Posted October 1, 2010
‘Annapolis’ is not quite there to give a great tribute to the Naval Academy.
When a film is entitled ANNAPOLIS one expects to see something that resembles or in some part reflects the title. Unfortunately, this is based on a small, twice-told story rendered in what appears to be a Frankenscript made up from parts of other scripts from feature films superior to it. It's a superficial story at that. It's also obvious that the neither writer nor director served in either the US Navy or the USN Marines Division, nor apparently bothered to hire a knowledgeable consultant for it lacks authenticity and is marred by technical errors. For example, there's a line where Midshipman Cole (well played by the striking Tyrese Gibson) a former Marine that we later learn will return to the Marines after graduating Annapolis refers to himself as a "soldier." This is a rather grinding mistake because no Sailor or Marine ever refers to himself as a soldier even while intoxicated and spouting philosophic euphemisms. It just never happens. Perhaps the most glaring error is the entire writing of the "Twins" character (once again very well played by Vicellous Reon Shannon) who is an overweight, physically unqualified plebe. In truth the entry examination for Annapolis is done in two parts and one part covers an entire day on physical qualifications that all candidates must pass. Physically unqualified students are never found at the Naval Academy. The part should simply have never been written as it is. The idea itself obviously comes from any number of old boot camp films where it not only happens but where this characterization has long ago become trite. At this writing I do not know why the picture was not made at Annapolis itself but this fact encompasses an entire basket of missed opportunities. If one were to entitle a film ANNAPOLIS the story might have been told similarly to John Ford's THE LONG GRAY LINE (1955) where through the experience of one man we get the emotional impact and historicity of West Point. USNA Annapolis is one of the greatest institutions of the United States, having been officially created in 1850. Its grounds and buildings are stunning when one sees the parades of midshipmen pass in review. There is nothing in this film that comes close to illustrating or in any way demonstrating the glory of the Academy. Boxing, which is the highlight of this unfortunate film is but a small aspect of life there. Yet, the activity eats up the entire conclusion of this film. Better to have named it, "Rocky's Younger, Midshipman Brother." There is one small plus side however, the cast is always engaging and talented so what little is there is salvaged by their performances. If you want see a strong melodrama about the trails and tribulations of a young man's aspirations to become a naval officer, see the original movie. However, if you have the chance to see "Annapolis", you would be well advised to pass on the opportunity.
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