Charlotte's Web (2006)
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Susannah Grant, Karey Kirkpatrick
Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Andre Benjamin, Thomas Haden Church, Robert Redford, Reba McEntire, Kathy Bates
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|Movie Review by Zara |
February 16th, 2007
1/2 off for not having more crows
I know that I read this book when I was a little kid. They more or less shoved it down your throat, or at least they did where I was going to school. It was supposed to be the seminal tome for little girls, something that would make them get all teary eyed. It never had that effect on me. Something about the dull nature of the prose. I just didn't follow along with the story all that well.
So I never watched the original movie that was released during the '70's. Just didn't appeal to me. Since I never pushed the issue, neither did my parents. I've learned later on in life that this is the approach to have with your kids. If they say they're not interested, don't bother wasting your money trying to convince them otherwise.
When the movie started getting luke warm reviews, I was grateful that my mom decided to take my Midget to go see the movie so that I wouldn't have to sit through it or waste my money on it. When she came home ranting and raving that it was really good, I chalked it up to her being an excitable little girl.
In my line of work I have the great fortune of being able to see movies on occasion and get paid for it. I work with a group of developmentally disabled adults and once a month we'll head to the theaters as a special treat, usually to take in some family fare at the local second run theater. (All seats $3. Gotta love that.) Today we went to go see CHARLOTTE'S WEB and I was more than pleasantly surprised.
Where I was at first instantly taken with Dakota Fanning when I saw her in I AM SAM, I have become like most of the American public and tired of seeing her deer-in-headlights expression in every other movie that's been released over the last 3 years. I wasn't thrilled to see her in this, but thankfully she doesn't overpower the film.
Instead, the power of the movie goes to Wilbur, the adorable pig in the center of the story. As the runt of a litter who is saved from death by his faithful human friend Fern (Fanning) and later sent to live on her uncle's farm across the road from her, Wilbur befriends the other animals in the barn, including a spider named Charlotte. When everyone else shuns her, he is the only one who sees the beauty in what she is and what she does.
Charlotte (voiced quite nicely by Julia Roberts) in turn helps to save Wilbur's neck from the chopping block and his fate to be Christmas dinner. Wilbur's enthusiasm helps to bring together all of the animals in the barn, from the flatulent cows to the smarmy rat (voiced fabulously as only he can by Steve Buscemi). Charlotte's messages, spun in her web, help to gain the attention of the farm owners and the rest of their small community.
The movie is filmed beautifully, the animals are adorable and the voice talent is perfect. I can't get over how funny the crows were to me in their mission to get corn and how it is repeatedly thwarted by the scarecrow.
I was expecting to be fairly unimpressed with a movie that was based on a book that never impressed me as I was growing up. Instead I found a movie that I would and could gratefully watch with my daughter, my secondary family (those 4 wonderful people I work with) and anyone else who has a soft spot in their heart for a warm story of love and friendship as seen through the eyes of animals.
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May 31, 2007 3:56 PM
|I see on a note from the Humane Society that Igot the other day that this film won an award for Outstanding Family Film "For a charming adaptation of a timeless tale about friendship, loyalty and respect for all living creatures."|
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