Annapolis: better than you’ve heard?

Until now, you probably have yet to read a positive review of Annapolis; however, here’s your chance to see the movie reflected in a good light. Most critics believe that the movie was uninspired and too predictable; I felt the opposite.While the story may be similar to past movies, it has a blend of events that make it unique. The movie begins by laying the groundwork for a boxing side-plot that ends up taking center stage. Jake Huard, played by James Franco, is boxer who has recently graduated from a high school across the river from-you guessed it-the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. Living across the river from the Academy has given Jake the lifelong dream to attend it. Jake is originally not accepted to the Academy, but is given a chance after some of the initially accepted students drop out. At this point, the moviegoer is introduced to the main plot of the movie: Jake’s quest to prove himself. After finally being accepted, Jake tells everyone he knows the good news. Unfortunately, not everyone is supportive. In fact, his father immediately pegs him as a failure. Upon arrival, Jake immediately has a problem with authority. The commanding officer Lt. Cole, played by Tyrese Gibson, is a constant antagonist for Jake. Thankfully for Jake, he seems to have a friend in his other commanding officer, the beautiful Ali (Jordana Brewster). As the year begins, Jake seems to be constantly in trouble. He does poorly in classes and continually makes mistakes in training exercises. It is only when he hears of the Navy’s prestigious Brigades that he begins to come around. The Brigades are a huge tradition at the Naval Academy, and they are the only time that everyone at the Academy is an equal. Because rank doesn’t matter, the Brigades is Jake’s opportunity to fight back against Lt. Cole. Initially, he begins his training just like he does everything else-alone. He is then challenged by Lt. Cmdr. Burton (Donnie Wahlberg) to a late-night fight, where Burton convinces him to accept help. It is here that Jake’s transformation commences. He begins to work with the other plebes in training exercises, and he even asks Ali for help.As the training sessions happen more often and Jake and Ali spend more time together, it is easy to see the connection that is being made. Tragically, plebes are not allowed to date, so nothing can develop until after the completion of his freshman year. As a result, the training continues without much of a love story, but the chemistry is always right at the surface. When the actual Brigades competition begins, the initial rounds go as expected. Both Jake and Lt. H. Cole make it to the finals and are poised to do battle for the championship. The fight begins just like you would expect, with Jake taking a beating from Lt. Cole, developing the underdog appeal. As the math continues, Jake eventually makes it an even fight again. Here is where I think the story is a surprise, and it made the movie for me. The end is totally not what I expected, and that’s what really put me over the edge. Directed by Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow), this movie is everything that other critics say it isn’t. It’s a feel-good movie with a surprise ending that makes it a must for every moviegoer’s list.

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