US, 2006, 108 minutes, Colour.
James Franco, Donnie Wahlberg, Jordana Brewster, Vicellous Shannon, Tyrese Gibson.
Directed by Justin Lim.
Annapolis takes us to familiar material. A young man from the wrong side of the tracks (James Franco) is accepted for the naval academy in Annapolis. It is hard going for him, lacking the support of his boatbuilding father, trying to fulfil the wishes of his dead mother. He also encounters one of the officers and forms a romantic attachment to her even though she is his superior. The film also shows his relationships with his roommates, clashes as well as friendships, especially his support of a heavyweight candidate who is very self-conscious about his abilities.
The film treads all the familiar ground of recruitment, training, clashes with superiors, wanting to opt out, deciding to go back no matter what the cost. The other aspect of the film is that it is a boxing film, the young recruit is a champion in his own area, trains, clashes with one of his superior officers (Tyrese Gibson) and ultimately is made to fight in unfair circumstances. However, he acquits himself well and is allowed to stay at the academy even though he incurs some penalties.
Direction is by Justin Lim who directed some of the sequels to The Fast and the Furious.
1.The familiarity of military and naval training films? This film following the standard formula? The introduction of the boxing theme?
2.The aspects of Maryland, Annapolis itself, the buildings, the yards, the training centres? The boxing atmosphere and the rings? The musical score?
3.The focus on Jake, his skill at boxing, his relationship with his father, not wanting to stay in boatbuilding? His friends, celebrations, their joke about Ali being an escort? Her playing along? His acceptance into Annapolis, the support of the officers including Lieutenant Burton? His going, his arrival, the checking in? His roommates and relationships with them? Estrada, the lies and his being reported by Loo? Loo and his uprightness? Twins and his weight, his being insulted by the trainers? The mutual support? Jake and the training, meeting Ali? His getting into difficulties, the clashes with authorities, especially Cole? The holiday, his not wanting to go back, discussions with his father? His late return? Continuing on? The boxing training, the build-up to the fight, his being put in an unfair situation? His fight, acquitting himself well? His support? His graduation? People being proud of him?
4.The training at Annapolis, the background of such films as An Officer and a Gentleman, Full Metal Jacket? The humiliation technique? The rigorous physical training? The skills required for naval officers?
5.Ali, her role as an officer, the joke at the beginning? The friendship with Jake? Fraternising? Her support, the ending?
6.Loo, efficient, conscientious, reporting Estrada and his lie? Estrada, his being insulted about his smell, the discipline of the showers, his missing one, his fight with Loo, his being dismissed? Twins, the insults, his weight, his hard work, looking at the photos on his computer? The support of Jake, cleaning up the mess for him? The mutual friendship?
7.The officers, standard characterisations?
8.The familiar material, particularly American – and its serving as a kind of recruiting poster?