Charlotte's Web (2006)
USA / English
"Pig Tales "Wilbur the pig is scared of the end of the season, because he knows that come that time, he will end up on the dinner table. He hatches a plan with Charlotte, a spider that lives in his pen, to ensure that this will never happen.
A Nutshell Review: Charlotte's Web
I had initial hesitation in deciding whether to watch this movie - not
because it features a talking pig ala Babe, but probably because, if
rumour has you believe, that viewers will swear off pork. They look so
cute that you would not imagine them being on your dinner table, ever
after. I've read the book when I was a kid, but heck, I can't remember
much of the details beyond the friendship between spider and pig.
Wilbur the piglet's destiny is set from birth - being the odd one out
without access to its mother's teat, he's earmarked for immediate
transformation to pork, but the intervention of a young girl Fern
(Dakota Fanning) helped prevent it, albeit for a little while. Put in a
barn with the other animals, Wilbur is in desperate need of friendship
to wilt away his loneliness, but given the indifferent attitudes
amongst the resident animals, he gets a none too friendly introduction
to farm life. That is until he meets Charlotte, a spider who will try
help to extend the lifespan of Wilbur, saving the spring pig from
becoming Christmas ham.
It's a story about friendship, and the miracles gained from trust,
help, and the fulfilling of promises. And this movie gets a huge boost
through its A-list voice talents, with the likes of, check this out -
Julia Roberts as Charlotte, Steve Buscemi as Templeton the selfish rat,
John Cleese as Sam Sheep, leader of the pack of sheep followers (played
to hilarity), Katy Bates, Cedric the Entertainer, Oprah Winfrey, Robert
Redford, Thomas Haden Church, Andre Benjamin and Sam Shepard. They
seemed to have a rip-roaring time, and I thought Julia Roberts'
Charlotte came across as extremely calm and collected, while probably
the character with the best lines was Templeton the rat.
Fanning already got experience playing opposite her animal
counterparts, like in Dreamer earlier this year, though this time in
the barnyard the animals are enhanced by technology and graphics. Her
role however is limited in screen time, and although there are hints on
puppy love, it's very much unexplored in depth as the focus is squarely
on our animal friends. The score is an unrecognizable Danny Elfman
contribution without the dark overtones, and the songs played during
the animated stills of the end credits, do sound radio friendly enough
to warrant airplay.
Charlotte's Web is a feel good, heartwarming family movie which is
suitable for this holiday season. It is uncomplicated, and has a simple
message, but is engaging enough for both children and adults. A warning
though, the movie is poignant yet hopeful, so to sentimental folks, a
tissue or two will help.