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Dec 29, 2006

Fletch's Film Review: Charlotte's Web

I recently wrote about a number of films that I'm looking forward to in the near future. Unfortunately, the present hasn't been so kind. Aside from the likes of Eragon, my film-viewing partner (aka my first wife) and I tend to get a bit desperate at times and will see just about anything if we are really in the mood to go see a movie, which we often are. 2007 - please be kinder than 2006.

Mix the above with my wife's love of animals (and to an extent, animal movies) and what you end up with is us in the theater with a number of rugrats watching a movie about a talking pig and spider (amongst other animals). Oh, and Dakota Fanning, too.

All that said, Charlotte's Web is a fine film, not just a fine "children's film." Though it may not break new ground like the Disney-Pixar's of the world, it makes for a pleasant 90 minutes or so. The voice talent amassed is diverse and excellent, not to mention pretty star-studded. I can't think of any other times that Robert Redford has lent his voice to an animal. Also on board in the talking animal department are Steve Buscemi (as a rat), Oprah Winfrey and Cedric the Entertainer (ducks), Kathy Bates and Reba McEntire (cows), Thomas Haden Church and Andre Benjamin (crows), John Cleese (sheep), with 10 year-old Dominic Scott Kay as Wilbur the pig and Julia Roberts as Charlotte herself.

If you don't know the story, I won't bother rehashing it here. I would suggest either reading the book or seeing one of the two film adaptations - this one or the fully animated 1973 original. Though I haven't seen the 1973 version since probably around 1982, I think it's safe to say that the technologies available today alone are more than enough to merit the value in this update.

Specifically, I'm referring to a couple scenes that show Charlotte making her magical web(s). Combining the beauty of web-spinning with effects reminiscent of The Matrix, the scenes should awe kids and parents alike. As for seeing closeups of an (albeit) animated spider on a 50 foot screen, this big baby still had some issues.

However, in fitting with one of the main themes of the story (acceptance), I came around and was able to (more or less) look Charlotte in the face without cringing. And we lived happily ever after.

80 out of 100

3 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Charlotte's Web"

Anonymous said...

Charlotte's Web.



Anonymous said...

How are the voices? Julia Roberts' lines on the tv ad I saw sounded like they were phoned in.


Fletch said...

The voices were very good. Roberts is subdued, but caring. Buscemi all but steals the film (no shock there), and Benjamin and Church are entertaining as well.