CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

Even Arachnophobics will like "Charlotte's Web"

"Charlotte's Web" is E.B. White's must read book for upper level elementary school students. White's novel about farm life begins when Fern (Dakota Fanning) saves the runt pig of a litter and names him Wilbur. Fern nurses Wilbur to health and gives the pig to her Uncle Homer. As the Spring born pig grows, Uncle Homer makes plans to turn Wilbur into pork chops and bacon.

Wilbur makes friends with the various barnyard animals; most notably Templeton the rat (Steve Buscemi) and most importantly, Charlotte the spider (Julia Roberts). Charlotte takes a shine to Wilbur and decides to save the porker's life.

Director Gary Winick is not afraid to provide gallows humor. After the sentimental sequence when Fern spares Wilbur's life, mother is seen frying bacon on the grill. The animation scenes with the animals allows for Wilbur to perform joyful back flips and Templeton to hoard his treasure trove of garbage. The visual poetry of Charlotte's web spinning enchances the film's storyline. The changing of the seasons is presented in bold cinematography, enchancing the themes of life, death and regeneration.

This live action version of "Charlotte's Web" is much more contemporary compared to the animated version of 1973. Danny Elfman's musical score echoes the themes from the "Ma and Pa Kettle" movies. Which is an improvement from the six musical numbers featuring the voices of Debbie Reynolds, Paul Lynde and Artie Johnson. The strong supporting cast in the new film features the voices of John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Redford and Reba McEntire.

For the fun of it, check out the "Charlotte's Web" site at
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