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.
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
I was prepared for almost anything going into this movie, knowing that so many filmmakers who adapt classic stories think it is their duty to "update" the story, or feel the need to add a lot of comic relief.
Thankfully, Winick did not succumb to these temptations. Instead, he offers a delightfully filmed version of the story, with CG effects so realistic and subtle that they detract from the live action base not even a little bit.
This movie is very true to the original story, and the comic relief was, in my opinion, not at all overbearing. I got a lot of genuine laughs out of the movie, and, at 40, that's saying something for a G-rated movie aimed at families with small children.
The movie has an old-fashioned but familiar feel to it. It seems to represent the America we all think we remember, and want to see when we visit the country. It seems in many ways timeless, without feeling Disney-esquire. I'm sure this is what the filmmakers were going for, and they hit it right on the nose.
I thought the casting was excellent, for the most part. Though Agnes Moorehead (from the original animated version) absolutely bowls Oprah Winfrey over as the goose, and Julia Roberts' voice was maybe a bit too matter-of-fact for Charlotte. Debbie Reynolds' extra-sweet voice did, I think, a just-so-slightly better job in the original. That aside, Miss Fanning is perfect as Fern, and Siobhan Fallon could not play the incredulous Mrs. Zuckerman one iota better.
I think E.B. White would be pleased. This is as honest a representation of his wonderful story as anyone could hope for.
If you have small kids, read them the book, and then go see the movie.
If you read the book as a kid, and still smile when you think about it, then go see it yourself.
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