27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Some Pig Indeed: Moving Story of Charlotte and Wilbur,
First I must confess that I have never read the original book `Charlotte's Web' by E. B. White or seen the 1973 animated film version (with Debbie Reynolds' voice). So please read my review of this new live-action version as such, though probably this kind of confession is really unnecessary.
Wilbur is a `spring pig' who is destined never to see the winter. Charlotte, a spider living in Wilbur's pen, hatches a plan with Wilbur to change his fate. The story is deceptively simple, but there are messages behind it, which is not hard even for the kids to find as the story unfolds. Even for the adults the film's last 20 minutes is quite moving.
Dakota Fanning plays a girl Fern, who saves the life of Wilbur in the earlier part of the film. One thing I like about the film's script (by Susannah Grant and Karey Kirkpatrick) is that there is another coming-of-age story about this girl, who is about to grow up and leave her childhood behind. At first Fern and Wilbur look like inseparable friends. Fern tries to bring the pig to the school, hiding him in the desk. However, by the end of the film you will be seeing another Fern, more grown-up, less childlike. No one can remain a child forever, and Fern, or perhaps Dakota Fanning herself, embodies this poignant fact.
Charlotte's voice is provided by Julia Roberts. It may be slightly weird to imagine a spider speaking with Julia's voice, but it works with her voice expressing the motherly wisdom and concerns convincingly. Impressive cast is gathered for the voices of the animals in the barnyard, and Steve Buscemi as Templeton the Rat and John Cleese as Samuel the Sheep are standout.
These animals are all perfectly created with impeccable special effects, but you may feel some part of the film detract from their effects on us. I am not sure the film really needs two meddling crows or fart jokes, and if the film company thinks that their film needs them to keep the kids interested, they are utterly mistaken. They have a charming story of Wilbur and Charlotte, and they should be much more confident, especially when they have this cast and Danny Elfman's wonderful score.
If I may borrow Charlotte's word, `Charlotte's Web' is truly `some' film, and its radiant charms are more than this single word can convey.
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Initial post: Apr 1, 2007 1:38:55 PM PDT
I enjoyed your review and voted for it as helpful. And actually, the fact that you mentioned that you never read the book or saw the animated movie is relevant. It shows that your review is not biased due to your feelings about the book or the first film, and with book-to-film adaptations like this, your opinion can make a huge difference depending on whether or not you read the story.
I agree that the special effects were sometimes distracting, and the plot with the crows was definitely unnecessary, but I would still rate the movie as an above average children's film. It had an excellent message, and of course I am interested in anything that has Dakota Fanning in it. :)
Posted on Nov 14, 2011 1:10:48 PM PST
Gerald Cox says:
This review is not of this particular item. Ignore it.
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