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.
Nanny McPhee arrives to help a harried young mother who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war, though she uses her magic to teach the woman's children and their two spoiled cousins five new lessons.
Molly Mahoney is the awkward and insecure manager of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, the strangest, most fantastic, most wonderful toy store in the world. But when Mr. Magorium, the 243 year-old eccentric who owns the store, bequeaths the store to her, a dark and ominous change begins to take over the once remarkable Emporium.
Based on the beloved children's novel by E.B. White, a young girl named Fern rescues a runty piglet, raises it as her own and names him Wilbur. However, after Wilbur grows into a pig, she is compelled to sell him to her Uncle Homer Zuckerman down the street. At Zuckerman's barn, Wilbur meets a host of animals and later learns from them that come winter, he will be slaughtered for food. Fearing for his life, Charlotte, a gentle and wise spider whom befriended the lonely Wilbur, vows to save his life. Written by
Bring your Kleenex. Maybe it's just coz I'm female, or maybe it's coz my mother read this book to me when I was little -- but every time a new word appeared in that web -- tears rolled down my cheeks!
It's very charming. They have kept to the time frame of the book -- it looks like the 1930s-1950s. They haven't tried to "modernize" it with pop culture references and silly jokes like so many kids' movies nowadays do.
Fern isn't break dancing with the pig. (No, there are no musical numbers.)
Fart jokes were kept to a minimum. (I think they are required by law nowadays to put fart jokes in all children's entertainment.)
They didn't dumb down the lovely words E.B. White used -- Charlotte uses her grand language as she speaks to Wilbur and spins her webs.
I kept thinking of "Babe" at the start of the movie. A white runt pig saved. Similar barnyard companions. Even the voice of Wilbur sounds like the voice of Babe. (Even tho Babe was voiced by a 32 y.o. woman and Wilbur by a 9 y.o. boy!) But I think the writers of Babe must have been fans of the classic "Charlotte's Web".
Steve Buscemi as the voice of Templeton the Rat is just perfect. (Poor guy even has a rat-like face -- is that why they cast him?) And the CGI animation is flawless. You can't tell the animated animals from the real ones. Flawlessly blended.
That little pig is SO cute at the beginning -- I just wanted to watch him play in the mud for 10 minutes. (But no, they kept the story moving along.) They even tried to make the spider cute, but that's quite a challenge. Still Julia Roberts' soothing motherly voice helps. (Nevertheless, the little girl next to me climbed into her grandma's lap when the spider appeared.)
And Dakota Fanning, as always, is a darling.
So go -- and if you loved the book as a child, bring plenty of Kleenex!
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