I have to say, I was very excited to see the new film, Annapolis, for a few reasons. First, I grew up close to the Annapolis, Maryland area, and also because I’m a huge fan of action military movies (ok, Top Gun really still ranks as one of my favorite movies).
Unfortunately, after seeing the film, I could not believe how much I was disappointed, and really disappointing doesn’t even come close. There were so many things that went wrong in this movie, so many bad facts, inconsistencies, and one very important missing event.
As I said, growing up around the Naval Academy, you get to know a lot about traditions surrounding the process of becoming a Naval officer. One of the most special and most honored traditions is when the first year plebes climb the Herndon Tower. For those who don’t know, a plebe is a first year student of the Naval Academy. At the end of each graduating year, to mark the end of their first year, all the plebes gather around a large triangular-pyramid shaped tower. It’s greased up, and placed at the top of the pyramid is a 2nd year’s officer’s cap. The goal is to work together, standing on each other, until someone is able to grab the cap off the top. This signifies the end of their first year, then they have their ceremony.
The film, Annapolis did not have this event anywhere. And I make this a big deal, because it’s a huge deal to the real plebes; it’s what they look forward too all year. It’s great drama, suspense, and it’s great action for a film like this. What makes it even more difficult for me to understand why they didn’t shoot this is director, Justin Lin built a replica of the Herndon Tower, but never used it.
Instead, Justin and writer David Collard focused on a boxing tournament called The Brigades, and solely on The Brigades. Ok, I understand why they focused on boxing; it’s great drama, and the two lead actors make it to the finals. But, they make The Brigades the most important part of the plebes – and that’s completely false.
Because of some concerns the Naval Academy had with shooting this movie on the campus, Justin and the producers decided to head a bit north to shoot this movie – part two of why this film doesn’t work. They shot the film in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs in eastern New Jersey. I know I’m not a filmmaker, but if I were to make a film about a historic landmark, I’d at least want to replicate it even a little bit. There is nothing even close to what the Naval Academy looks like in this movie; there is nothing across the river from the site – in fact, there’s nothing you can even see near the campus. Think about it, would you want any old stranger to be able to float on the water and gaze into a United States military campus – NO!
Ok, enough of my rant on what went wrong in the script. I could go on and on about what doesn’t work in the story line, but then you wouldn’t get to hear the best part of why this movie didn’t work. Check out my next article to find out why James Franco and Tyrese Gibson are still not on speaking terms.