Charlotte’s Web (2006)
September 2nd, 2007 by Maxim · No Comments · 3,480 Views
The plot: Wilbur (voiced by 9 year old Dominic Scott Kay) is a pig who dreads the Christmas because he’s afraid he’s going to be served on the farmer’s table, and he creates a plan to prove to the farmer that he is more valuable alive. Despite their differences, animals on the farm need to work together with Charlotte the spider to save Wilbur. Have your read this E.B. White’s book? I haven’t.
Basically this is yet another Nickelodeon movie for kids 4-12 with talking animals and a lot of encyclopedic information about spiders. It’s a lot like Disney’s ”Home on the Range” released in 2004, but instead of animation it’s got animals and live actors: Dakota Fanning plays Fern, the girl who saved Wilbur from being killed at birth by her farmer father by pleading to him that killing piglets is “unfair and unjust!”. She was also letting the pig sleep in her bed… ehm… have you ever lived on the farm? Would you have an animal like that in your bed? Wilbur the pig is very clean and cute here though. He’s also the pinkest piglet I’ve seen.
A story about miracles created by friendship and sacrifice, humility, fairness, hope and respect… social skills for kids. There’s also quite a bit of talk about death and “full circle of life” stuff. A few fart jokes here and there. The sheep had British accents and I thought that was odd. The animals do a lot of what 7 year olds do, with exclamations like “…Friends Forever! Yeaaaah!” and “we are little spiders who fly through the air! Weeeeeeee!”. Too much narration. To me, as a general rule, if you have to resort to narration, you are not a very good story teller. The exceptions would be Sharshank Redemption and movies like March of the Penguins (is it a coincidence that both movies were narrated by Morgan Freeman?). Templeton the Rat had the best lines. With a few exceptions, the CGI was perfectly blended in with live animals.
A lot of famous actors voiced the animals: I recognized Julia Roberts in Charlotte the Spider. Oprah Winfrey was the voice of one of the geese. Kathy Bates was Bitsy the Cow. Robert Redford and Thomas Haden Church were Ike the Hourse and Brooks the Crow. Steve Buscemi was the voice of Templeton the Rat. Everybody had done a great job. Julia Roberts as Charlotte was very soothing and motherly and slow-spoken, but maybe too slow. But sounded like she had little empathy there, which made her sound fake.
The movie is sweet and kids will love it, especially if they grew up on Nickelodeon. I did not care for it, but I hear a lot of people did, some even cried.
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