What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film includes several hectic, noisy boxing scenes, with the camera taking alternate points of view for punchers and punchees. The fast cuts and framing make these images potentially disturbing for younger viewers. Some of the training rituals for the Annapolis cadets are brutal (falling in mud and falling off obstacles in slow motion, sweating and groaning). An officer has a cadet get into a body bag and be zipped up, to show other cadets their responsibility to their charges. Depressed cadet jumps out a window. Characters drink alcohol in a bar, a romantic couple exchanges gazes and kisses in pretty lighting. One prostitution reference.
What's the story?
In ANNAPOLIS, second generation shipbuilder Jake (James Franco) aspires to be a U.S. Naval officer. Though his father Bill (Brian Goodman) discourages such dreaming, Jake applies and gets in. At school, Jake learns to get along with his multicultural bunkmates: insecure Twins (Vicellous Shannon), self-loving Estrada (Wilmer Calderon), and hardworking Loo (Roger Fan). While Lt. Cmdr. Burton (Donnie Wahlberg) quietly supports him, boxing coach McNally (Chi McBride) treats Jake like a plebe. At the same time, Jake finds trouble with Midshipman Lt. Cole (Tyrese Gibson), a most excellent boxer, former marine, and hardnosed unit leader, and imminent romance with another older classmate, Ali (Jordana Brewster). Jake learns important lessons, including how to persevere even when facing adversity.
Is it any good?
A masculine melodrama, Annapolis suffers from a script that is both formulaic and inconsistent. Predictably, Jake runs smack into the requisite inspirational father figures (see also: Louis Gossett, Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman).
Roger Fan, who played Daric in director Justin Lin's previous, better film, Better Luck Tomorrow, is charismatic and could have easily pulled off the lead role in this film, and Tyrese Gibson turns in a truly compelling performance.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the relationship between Jake and his working class father, Bill. How does the son's aspiration first threaten Dad, then make him proud? How does the movie use traditional means to define "masculinity" -- boxing, physical tests, dominance over other men? How does the film's diverse cast suggest that different individuals might work together?