Musical-theater purists can be almost as fussy as Star Wars fanatics, so expect a certain amount of kvetching over the new adaptation of Annie (previously filmed in ’82). The beloved 1977 Broadway show gets a thorough reworking, with rewritten lyrics, funked-up music, and a time-shift to the present day. (The comic-inspired original was a Depression-era fable, complete with cameo by Franklin Roosevelt.) Though it’s going to get lambasted, this new Annie is actually kind of fun on its own terms, with a rapid-fire pace and actors who aren’t afraid to be silly.
The role of Annie usually goes to girls who sound as though they’ve swallowed Ethel Merman’s trumpet, but here the part is played by soft-voiced Quvenzhané Wallis, the kid from Beasts of the Southern Wild.