Charlotte's Web (2006) Poster

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9/10
Radiant!
hellokristen9 December 2006
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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9/10
Beautifully done, very true to the story
pkuras16 December 2006
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.

Highly recommended.
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8/10
moving, beautifully shot/animated
serenade713 December 2006
It's a beautiful movie and wonderfully true to the book. A fan of EB White's brilliant work, I could recite the last lines alongside the movie. The friend I went with is a die-hard fan of the older, animated Charlotte's Web; his only complaint was that this one had fewer musical numbers (read: none). Also, I felt the beginning and end credits act as somewhat of a homage to the animated version.

The voices are very well cast; Julia Roberts is a comforting and delightful Charlotte, and while the opening shots of the spider made some in the audience go "Ew," we grow, like the barn animals, to embrace her warm nature. I found her quite beautiful in the end.

Steve Buscemi is perfect as Templeton. Knowing John Cleese is behind the head sheep makes it even funnier. And Dakota Fanning finally gets to play a little girl being a little girl.

It only made me tear up twice, but I'm a big softy. Take the family, the kids, and anyone who's ever enjoyed EB White's classic story.
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8/10
A great remake with a great voice cast
harris12620 November 2006
I attended an advanced screening recently in Nashville, TN. I loved John Cleese as the sheep. Steve Buscemi was perfect as Templeton. Thomas Haden Church is so funny. He played his crow like Lowell Mather from "Wings". This guy can play the perfect moron. Dakota Fanning just gets better with each role. She will be a hot property for some time to come. She may not ever achieve "Tom Cruise level" stardom, but she is extremely talented.

I could not believe how many people cried. The cast really did a great job of making the audience CARE about the characters.

Children and adults will enjoy this film. There is plenty of humor to offset the tragic elements of the story.
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8/10
A Nutshell Review: Charlotte's Web
DICK STEEL16 December 2006
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.
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9/10
a very good movie
inigoii13 December 2006
I saw this movie with my two sons and wife and we all enjoyed it. We were very familiar with both the book and original animated movie, which we highly enjoyed. This movie is very well done both in terms of money spent, but also in the time and quality taken. The story moves along nicely, never dragging, and the emotions are never overwhelming. I do have to say that I missed Henry Gibson as the voice of Wilbur but that was a personal bias, the young actor who voiced Wilbur did a good job. My sons found many things to laugh at and the darker moments, (not wanting to spoil anything for anyone who does not know the story)are handled deftly so sensitive children will not get upset. An excellent family movie.
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10/10
Truly Moving Picture
tollini24 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film on November 13th, 2006 in Indianapolis. I am one of the judges for the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award. A Truly Moving Picture "…explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland gave that award to this film.

There is a lot of responsibility to be taken on when you put an E.B. White classic book to film. There is even more responsibility when there is already a wonderful and popular animation video of the book available. But this film takes on this responsibility in spectacular fashion. Half live animal animation as in "Babe" and half live action, the film is stunningly made.

The story is about the runt of a pig litter. There are ten teats available and eleven piglets. The eleventh piglet is doomed to be destroyed until the farmer's daughter (Dakota Fanning) saves and adopts the runt who is named Wilbur.

Finally the piglet, Wilbur, gets to be too big to be a pet in the house and is sent across the road to another farm. The farm animals and Wilbur become "humanized" as we understand their animal talk. Five (5) goats, two (2) cows, two (2) geese, one (1) horse, one (1) rat and one (1) spider become a microcosm of society and Wilbur's family and friends and neighbors.

It sounds preposterous, but it is utterly believable because the special effects are so good it all seems real and your disbelief disappears so you can get lost in the story. And … what a story.

Wilbur slowly realizes that he is an animal raised for his meat and the end of his life is months away and he is disconcerted to say the least. But he has a friend determined to help him out – a spider named Charlotte (voice by Julia Roberts), who will try many things to keep Wilbur as a permanent farm animal and not just food on the table for the farm family.

The society of animals have many lessons to teach children (and adults); specifically, friendship, sacrifice, living with the death issue, hope, determination, love, duty, fairness, respect, humility, and much more.

However, this is not a heavy lesson on mature life issues. Laughter and joy permeate the film and puns and chuckles are everywhere throughout the film.

The artistry of the film is outstanding. The farms and surroundings are idyllic. The synchronizing of the words and animal movements are right on. Everything on the screen leads you to believe the story is real.

FYI – There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.
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7/10
Nice adaptation, perhaps a little trigger happy on the CGI
elphish16 December 2006
With this movie made in part in my hometown (Williamstown) I dragged the kids along to check it out.

Being well familiar with the story, I expected this to be pretty light hearted fair, but the wife still managed to turn into a blubbing mess at the end.

The movie had an uneasy feel about the setting; didn't feel current or old for that matter, so perhaps will age OK.

The CGI was pretty amazing. I'd hate to imagine what someone from a time capsule or straight out of jail would imagine has happened in our world since they left. Talking animals and spiders, so realistic the kids don't even blink twice.

Good for young kids (mine are 4 and 2), and not monotonously boring like many of the other CGI laden kids movies out there.
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8/10
Great family movie in time for the holidays!
rlnutt17 December 2006
I'm not sure where all of the criticism of this movie is coming from! My wife and I watched and enjoyed every moment of this children's classic and didn't feel cheated in any way by the telling!

The story is close to the children's book but a couple of goofy crows are added with the voices of Thomas Haden Church and Andre Benjamin. They only added a mild comic subplot but didn't affect the telling in any way. Every time I hear THC's voice, I always see his character from Wings blabbering on about something mundane! He's quite silly as a starving crow!

If you want high drama this year, go see Apocalypto, or Blood Diamond... for good family entertainment, Charlotte's Web is the perfect counter to any heavy story lines from those other movies!
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8/10
Not radiant, but is a humble and 'some movie'.
themovieclub17 December 2006
Charlotte's Web has always been one of my favourite children's books. When I was ten, I used to imagine having a pig as my pet and tear at the disconsolate ending.

One of the classic stories of loyalty, trust, and sacrifice comes to life in this live-action adaptation. Dakota Fanning plays Fern who keeps an unlikely pet of Wilber the pig. As winter comes, the family decides that Wilbur would make delicious smoked ham on their dining table. It was the 'ugly' and small spider with a big heart, Charlotte who saves his life with her web and words.

More than a decade ago, the world was thrilled by Babe, the courageous sheep chaser. During that time, the CGI was considered ground-breaking, thus Wilbur may not be as celebrated as Babe. (I remembered I swore off pork for a week after Babe.) Although the movie boosts a heavyweight cast of Oprah Winfrey, Kathy Bates and Cedric the Entertainer, it was Academy Award Winner Julia Roberts who breathes in life into Charlotte with maturity and genuineness.

Pardon me, but I never found Dakota Fanning cute or sweet in any way. (She was really quite irritating in War of the Worlds.) Perhaps she is too mature and smart for her age, and thus somebody younger and more innocent may be suitable for the role of Fern.

Children of all ages should be thrilled by talking animals and a charming storyline by E.B. White. This is a moving story to teach them about life and death, trust and friendship. Adults may be a little impatient at the bland storytelling, and most would have already known the ending.

The final scene will still tug heart strings and do bring your Kleenex. Do not be too skeptical, and you will enjoy this magical and childlike fantasy.

http://themovieclub.blogspot.com
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10/10
loved it!
beckie_dillinger15 December 2006
When I was a kid I loved this story. I read it in school and watched the cartoon version. Now that I'm an adult I still love this story...the movie was great, my kids loved it as well! They did an awesome job on this one! They couldn't have picked a better person to play the part of Fern. Aside for the red hair, she's perfect for the part. Well done on all accounts! Another reason this movie was terrific for me is because I absolutely love pigs! The pigs they used for the movie were adorable too! And I really liked the detail they put into Charlotte spinning her webs, it was pretty neat to watch how it's done, my kids really liked that part too.
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10/10
This is one tender children's movie that the whole family will love
the-movie-guy12 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
(Synopsis) With the birth of a new litter of 11 piglets, the farmer must eliminate one so the mother can feed them. The farmer gets his ax and selects the runt of the litter when he is stopped by his daughter, Fern (Dakota Fanning). Fern begins to feed her new piglet and names him Wilbur (voice of Dominic Scott Kay). After Wilbur gets strong enough to be on his own, he is put into the barn across the road. In the new barn, he meets many different animals: cows, sheep, geese, a rat, a horse, and of course a spider named Charlotte (voice of Julia Roberts). Wilbur's friendship with all the animals in the barn brings them all together, and they become one big happy family. There is only one problem that Wilbur doesn't know, he is a spring pig, and they don't usually get to see winter. Charlotte promises Wilbur that she will do something to save his life. Charlotte spins the words "some pig" in her web to show the farmer a miracle that may save Wilbur's life.

(My Comment) This classic story teaches the values of friendship, trust, and sacrifice that unites an assortment of creatures for a common cause. The pig is so cute that you would love to play with him. We get to hear the animals talk, and they become kind of human to the audience. Julia Roberts' voice is enchanting and so motherly that she could get you to do anything. It may be hard to believe, but the CG special effects are so good and look so real that you begin to think that it is normal for the animals to talk. You even begin to lose yourself into the story and look at the movie as a band of talking animals bonding together like a family to save Wilbur. The film will make you laugh and cry, but I think the best things it teaches are the many values and lessons of life, especially to children. Dakota Fanning's acting was just excellent. It may be a cliché, but this is one tender children's movie that the whole family will love. I loved it, and I actually shed tears at the end. (Paramount Pictures, Run time 1:37, Rated G)(10/10)
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5/10
A sweet movie
laraemeadows24 January 2007
Charlotte's Web, based on the book by E.B. White, directed by Gary Winick, film story by Earl Hamner Jr. and screenplay by Susannah Grant and Karey Kirkpatrick is a heart warming story of friendship, loyalty and acceptance.

When a runt pig is born, a little girl, Fern, talks her father out of slaughtering the pig. Fern, played by Dakota Fanning, raises the pig, Wilbur, by hand until the pig is too large to stay in the house. She takes Wilbur, voice by Dominic Scott Kay, to live with her uncle. It is only after Wilbur goes to live with her uncle that Fern realizes that her pig will be slaughtered for Christmas dinner.

In the barn where Wilbur goes to live there is a collection of funny and uptight animal characters. Each character's voice is provided by a recognizable, familiar voice. Samuel the sheep, voice by John Cleese, is the uptight leader of the sheep and occasionally provider of sage advice. Steve Buscemi provides his voice for the mischievous and self-minded Templeton the Rat. Expecting geese parents Gussy and Golly Goose, whose voices are provided by Oprah Winfrey and Cedric the Entertainer. Bitsey, Kahty Bates, and Betsy, Reba McEntire, cows, provide the physical and fart humor for the movie. Wilbur is not so delicately informed by Templeton that he will be slaughtered.

This sends Wilbur into an emotional down-spiral. Luckily for him, he makes a new friend, Charlotte the Spider, who promises to find a way to keep him from being slaughtered. Taking her promise seriously, Charlotte spins a series of webs that have the words, "Radiant" and "Some Pig" to draw attention to how special Wilbur truly is.

Julia Roberts was a wonderful cast for Charlotte. Her soft, sweet voice effectivelyembodies the spirit of E.B. White's character. Charlotte's cool head,and confident demeanor, give hope to the barn and most importantly, Wilbur. Roberts does a great job at making Charlotte a constant and level character. Charlotte was completely animated. The computer animation wasn't anything to sneeze at, nor was it anything to praise.

There were several scenes where Charlotte looks to be the size of, or larger, that of a tarantula. There are other times when she doesn't seem to be a daddy long legs. Still, the animators did a good job of making her feel like a character rich with emotion. I'm sure it was a challenge to make a spider both realistic and emotional.

Dakota Fanning was adorable in the movie. I was disappointed because at times her acting was inconsistent and strained. Still, there is a reason why she is one of the most desired child actors in Hollywood. The problem with having voices done by celebrities is you spend so much of your time seeing their faces, instead of the character that it can be a little confusing. Can you imagine a movie where Julia Roberts is put in a jar by a little boy as Cedric the Entertainer and Oprah Winfrey stand by and watch? It gets even worse when you associate a voice to a character. One of the crows is played by Thomas Haden Church. Church used to play the airplane mechanic on "Wings". During the extremely funny scenes with the crows, all I could see was the mechanic on "Wings. " While I think you should defiantly have a recognizable voice in your film, if you do too many it's distracting.

Even though I was distracted by the different voices occasionally, I was generally lost in the story. I was in a theater with several small children and most of them made it though the movie with out yelling, fussing or getting bored. Either they were the best behaved children ever or they were truly enjoying the movie.

I knew how the story was going to end; I started to cry when it actually happened.

I don't think this movie is the end all be all of what Charlotte's Web could be. I think it will do just fine until a better one comes out. Don't be afraid to take your children, they'll love it!
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6/10
Take the Kids, Read the Book
aivilo_elleon7 January 2007
I have for years adored the book Charlotte's Web. As a parent of two children, I was happy to own the 1973 animated version of this book, which I believe was a splendid adaptation of the book.

I was somewhat apprehensive about taking my children to see this movie because I was afraid that it would be so different from the animated film that they already knew by heart and loved, I feared that my children would immediately have a disdain for this new version.

I was pleasantly surprised. My seven year old and four year old both laughed, sat at the edge of their seats, and yes, cried with the movie. I enjoyed the movie for the most part. There was enough subtle adult humor that I laughed at, which my children did not "get".

However, as brilliant as Steve Buscemi's narration was, I was sorely disappointed with Julia Roberts performance.

Charlotte is a loving, wise spider, almost a foster parent to Wilbur. I found Ms. Robert's narration dull, humdrum and frankly, tedious. I could actually visualize her reading her lines into the microphone, her hands and body moving slightly with the flowing of her words ... all the while Ms. Roberts was counting the dollars in her mind that she would collect for this job. It sounded like she was simply doing her job, and frankly, with little or no conviction, compassion or empathy.

Perhaps Ms. Roberts reading of children's stories would be best left to those times with her own children. Not to paying audiences.

The animation was very good, impressive most of the time. Steve Buscemi as Templeton is definitely a fine performance; Dakota Fanning will continue to capture America's heart for many years to come.

I wish that I could rate the movie higher, because it was a fine adaptation of the book. However, Julia Roberts performance was so disappointing that I cringe to think of her ever narrating another animated character.

Take your children, they will love it. Just try to ignore Ms. Roberts.
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7/10
Good adaptation
barrys8219 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A great film for kids, although if you have read the book or seen the animated version you will enjoy it too, but if not you will fell kind of out of place at the beginning but will spend a good time then. A movie that teaches about how strong a friendship can be no matter what. It was a very good adaptation, everything is just as it is, the characters, the scenery. It has some funny moments and it is also very touching and emotional, for example in the scene when Charlotte dies you might drop a tear or two. The effects are very good also, its like the animals really could talk. The cast is good, Dakota Fanning's performance was good, she is one of the best young actresses nowadays. The voices were great every character voice was a good actor or at least someone famous, Julia Roberts as Charlotte, John Cleese as one of the Sheep, Oprah as the goose, Kathy Bates and Reba McEntire as the cows and in my opinion the best one of all was Steve Buscemi as the rat
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7/10
More for kids, movie.
crempelthiessen31 December 2006
I saw the film because it was based on a classic tale...and I know Oprah was going to be the female goose. The pig, rat and spider are cute - in an animal-sort-of-way. The cows were hard to hear. So I tried to listen for when they were talking. Maybe there was other noise then or they spoke under their breath. But I got a kick out of the crows.

I Barnyard the Cows all had udders. The male and female cows alike. At least this one is more authentic - true to the species. The close-up of the spider and web is extremely well done... and all the oral animation matches the mouth movements.

Oh yeah, and i learned some BIG words, too. Like: languishing. More-for-kids movie.
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10/10
An instant classic that will have you laughing and crying and truly saying, "Some Pig" indeed!
george.schmidt21 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
CHARLOTTE'S WEB (2006) **** (Voices of : Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Enterainer, Kathy Bates, Reba McEntire, Robert Redford, Thomas Haden Church, Andre Benjamin, Dominic Scott Kay, Sam Shepard (narrator), Abraham Benrubi), Dakota Fanning, Kevin Anderson, Essie Davis, Louis Corbert, Julian O'Donnell, Siobhan Fallon, Gary Basaraba, Nate Mooney, Beau Bridges. Fantastic adaptation of the E.B. White children's classic about a runt pig (Kay) named Wilbur, who finds a barnyard of animal friends, especially the mother figure of Charlotte the Spider (splendidly voiced by Roberts), who helps her new charge avoid his eventual fate: the smokehouse. A star-studded cavalcade lends their voices with wonderful aplomb (particularly Cleese as the pusillanimous Samuel the Sheep and Buscemi perfectly cast as Templeton the snarky rat who steals the show) and incredibly detailed CGI enhanced mixed with live animals skillfully balanced by director Gary Winick (and a pitch-perfect screenplay by Susannah Grant and Karey Kirkpatrick & Earl Hamner Jr.). An instant classic that will have you laughing and crying and truly saying, "Some Pig" indeed!
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6/10
Its OK, but for real talking pig action, see Babe or its sequel.
BA_Harrison19 May 2007
A friendly spider helps out a pig destined to become a Christmas ham.

I'm not ashamed to admit that spiders freak me out (even CGI ones with smiley faces), but the fact that Charlotte's Web also had talking farm animals was enough for me to overcome my arachnophobia and settle down with my kids to watch the latest adaptation of E. B. White's feel-good classic.

With a huge budget, a multitude of A-listers lending their vocal talents, and creepy child star Dakota Fanning starring as Fern, would this be an overblown Hollywood mess, or a charmingly told tale to warm the heart? Neither, actually; it lands somewhere in the middle.

Parts of the film work wonderfully, whilst others fall flat on their face. During the opening credits, brilliant animation perfectly sets the tone: we see a picture-book rural utopia which looks positively magical. But later on we also get fart jokes (I enjoy toilet humour, but here it seems totally out of place).

The script is also a mixed bag: most of the humour is spot on (yes, I actually enjoyed the antics of the two crows); however, the inclusion of a romance between Fern and a local boy seemed totally unnecessary.

The direction is adequate, but rarely rises above 'workmanlike'. However, the effects are fantastic—a seamless blend of real life footage, animatronics, and computer wizardry—and these alone are worth seeing the film for (what else would you really expect from the combined talents of Phil Tippet and Stan Winstons' FX studios?).

Charlotte's Web ain't a patch on Babe or Pig In The City (but then what is?) It is, however, a reasonable way to pass the time—even if you hate arachnids.
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Satisfying holiday fare
jdesando13 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"The season developed and matured. Another year's installment of flowers, leaves, nightingales, thrushes, finches, and such ephemeral creatures, took up their positions where only a year ago others had stood in their place when these were nothing more than germs and inorganic particles." Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

The Mainefarm is idealized, almost as if there were no smells from farting cows or slops to muddy the barn. But in the new Charlotte's Web both are sweetly displayed in a still pristine world where a pig wins your heart and a spider is all heart. Welcome to old time film-making that updates itself with CG-assisted animatronics and pretty people dragged off the pages of a children's story book.

This new version, also standing proudly next to the successful first Babe, is refreshing with an absence of sardonic pop culture references prevalent today in children's films. Just a solid classic where a lovely spider named Charlotte (the voice of Julia Roberts - - maybe her best work yet!) saves a lovable spring runt–of-the-litter piglet named Wilbur (Dominic Scott Kay) from the smokehouse by relying on an arsenal of words.

As has always been the case with the 1952 E.B. White classic, adults can enjoy the story, given the allegorical levels of meaning that jump out like "Rat" (Steve Buscemi) out of his extravagant hole. On one level Charlotte's Web is about promises kept, as the spider fulfills her promise to Wilbur despite the sacrifice she will have to make. On another level, it is about the cycles of life that include the glory of birth and the inevitability of death. White and Winick don't hammer the lessons home; they gently portray them as if we were listening to a song about every season having its turn.

As Charlotte searches for the right words to save Wilbur, another level of the allegory is the necessity to be educated if you want to be a surviving, productive being. This film, together with the word-heavy History Boys, has renewed my enthusiasm for satisfying holiday fare.
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10/10
Wonderful
hispanix5 December 2006
A miracle, in a time when we don't see many miraculous things! I strongly disagree in the words of the "biased" (in his own word) Mr. Glendower. Thank Goodness for Charlottes Web and the controversial Happy Feet! Comments on children's movies have to be done with children in your mind....and with them present at screenings.

THUMBS UP! from all the cheers I heard!!!

Wonderful to bring a favorite back!........(yes, the old was good, but, please, give a good remake a break! ...gets the kiddies to laugh (and cry), and discover the old dusty book that nobody reads at the library a checkout!)
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10/10
Charlotte's web was amazing
tiawilso16 December 2006
I have just seen this film today and I loved it very much. They didn't change the story line one bit.Even some of the lines were from the book and the old cartoon film.It was very enjoyable.A film for the hole family.My favorite part was when everyone in the theater clapped.It was lovely.There was no reason anyone should be unsatisfied.The animation was fabulous and the casting was great too.It was fun.I really feel like a child again.It brought back memories of my sweet childhood.I love Daktoa Fanning, and putting her with animals was just the cherry one top of the ice cream! She was wonderful!A delight for the whole family! I loved the pig! He was so cute!The voice of the pig was wonderful! It was sad too.I cried :( (yeah I'm a big baby!)the movie showed that even when the best thing is gone...it still lives in your heart.
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9/10
Warm, nicely done and cute
TheLittleSongbird21 September 2009
As much as I like the animated film, I do think this is better, only by one point though. Based on the timeless book by EB White, this is a warm, nicely done and cute film. The book is better, but this is so charming, you can't help like it. The real charm comes from the story, which here is so well told. The film is beautifully shot with lovely photography and stunning locations, and the music is gorgeous. Of course the script isn't as sharp as it could have been, but that is a minor criticism compared to how wonderful this was. Dakota Fanning gets better and better every time I see her, what a very talented child actress she is! Wilbur was just adorable, even more adorable than he was in the animated film. And the voice acting is top notch, Julia Roberts being the biggest surprise in a very warm vocal performance as Charlotte. John Cleese and Thomas Haden Church are sterling in their roles as the sheep and the crow, but other than Roberts, the real standout is Steve Buschemi as the hilarious Templeton. All in all, lovely to watch, definitely memorable and cute, not as good as the book, but well worth the watch. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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9/10
Good kids movie
bgreenwood-25 January 2007
This is a very good kids movie, All the actors were spot on and could not have picked a better cast of characters. The spider kind of creeps you out, but all in all a very good movie. I liked the time setting, 1970 or so, all the cars and costumes worn by the cast were of that time period. The voice characters are very good, funny, the setting was very well done also, perfect buildings and location. Dakota Fanning was a perfect fit as well as Emma Davis as the mother. No objectionable material or cussing, very nice for todays movies. The character picked for the uncle and his family were just spot on. Movie holds true to story line of E. B. Whites story of the same name. Very well done.
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9/10
Somewhat condensed from the book,if memory serves
KUAlum2629 December 2006
I read this book when I was in first grade,and while it made an impression on me,first grade for me was twenty-eight years ago,so I probably could've used a little bit of a refresher on this story. Still,I'd say this movie helped revive some fond memories for me,and that alone could be testament to how good this film is.

Wilbur the pig(voiced by Dominic Scott Kay)is adopted by twelve-year old farm girl Fern Abarle(Dakota Fanning,seamlessly moving from whip-smart "cute" to bright tweener)when she learns her dad is going to kill it for being a runt. She grows attached to the creature,as it does to her,but can't keep him with her all the time as she'd like. Reluctantly she leaves the piglet at the barn belonging to her uncle. There,Wilbur meets the residents: Gussy and Golly(voices:Oprah Winfrey and Cedric the Entertainer,respectively)the geese,Bitsy and Betsy(voices:Kathy Bates and Reba McINtyre,natch)the cows,Ike the horse(voice of Robert Redford),the sheep,led by Samuel(voice:JOhn Cleese),a rat named Templeton(voice of Steve Buscemi,perfect!)and,last but not least,a wise and industrious spider named Charlotte(voiced superbly by Julia Roberts). Wilbur doesn't warm hearts right away,and it takes some time,along with the gentle cajoling of Charlotte,before there is established a sort of harmony amongst most of the animals.

It becomes slowly evident to Wilbur that he's on borrowed time at the Zukerman's farm,as the shadow of the dreaded Smokehouse spells what awaits for the Spring pig.This inspires Charlotte to weave webs of messages that reflect what she sees in him,as a gratitude to him for his friendship. The messages create a sensation around the barn and the small farm town,and set off a chain of unlikely and remarkable events.

Director Gary Winick,along with the script adaptation by Samantha Grant and KArey Kilpatrick,craft a delightful movie that is never TOO heavy in sentiment or gimmick,but entertaining and thought-provoking. An effective use of narration(provided by Sam Shepherd)and of music(particularly the sublime Sarah MacLachlan's "Ordinary Miracles")effectively frame the story. The title of my comment goes to the fact that it appears that the movie had to omit some chapters of the book to condense it to a near-neat ninety-one minutes,and to chime in what one critic(I forget which newspaper)said that this movie,as good as it is,SHOULD NOT be a replacement for the book. While I'd say,as talking animal movies go,that Babe is still closer to my favorite,I was quite pleased with this offering.
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9/10
A Wonderful Film
scooterberwyn23 December 2006
I went to see Charlotte's Web last night with a friend who had not read the book nor seen the 1972 animated film. My friend is not the emotional type, and he frequently makes fun of me when I cry at a particularly sad or romantic moment in a film. I glanced over at him last night near the end, and he was actually dabbing his eyes. I had already brought out the tissues and was using them in abundance, so I handed him one, which he happily accepted.

We both thought this was an excellent film, with a plot line that was more faithful to its source than most film adaptations are. The fact that it was NOT a musical was a big point in my preference for this version over the earlier film. The film was perfectly cast, both with the live actors and the voices of the animals.

I'll be making this part of my DVD library as soon as it's released on video. Strongly recommended for both children and adults.
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