E.B. White's classic tale gets aBabe-like makeover inCharlotte's Web, a delightful and well-made film that is sure to become a family classic. Directed by Gary Winick (13 Going on 30), the new version eschews the musical numbers of the 1973 cartoon and mixes CGI with live-action animals. Dakota Fanning brings the right amount of chutzpah to Fern, the young farm girl who rescues a runt, Wilbur, from death and visits him every day at her Uncle Homer's farm. But it's Wilbur's friendship with Charlotte the spider (voiced by Julia Roberts) that ultimately saves him from the "smoke house" (a kid-friendly alternative term to the slaughterhouse), for Charlotte's talent for weaving praiseworthy words about Wilbur into her web turns the Zuckerman farm into a tourist attraction. The more tragic elements of the book are handled sensitively by Winick, working from a script by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich), and Roberts' soothing, maternal voice (who knew it would work so well?) makes it all go down easy. It turns out to be just one of many perfect celebrity voice-casting choices, for the farm animals, voiced by an all-star cast including Oprah Winfrey (the goose), Robert Redford (the horse), Steve Buscemi (Templeton the rat), and John Cleese (the sheep), lend plenty of sharp humor. But it's two corn-hungry crows, voiced by Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) and OutKast's Andre "3000" Benjamin who steal the show. (Ages 4 and older)-- Ellen A. Kim
This movie is a wonderful and entertaining adaptation of the children's book by E B. White, which was published all the way back in 1952. Lending their voices are celebs like Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Buscemi, Kathy Bates, John Cleese, Thomas Haden Church, Robert Redford, Cedric the Entertainer, Reba McIntyre, Andre Benjamin and Sam Shepard, plus live performances by Dakota Fanning and Beau Bridges, among others. With this kind of star power, who can resist taking a peek at this version … more
Most Americans are familiar with the story of Charlotte's web so I will not go over either the movie plot or its similarities with the book. I will say that the movie was executed very well. The casting was great with Julia Roberts being the perfect voice for Charlotte the spider, and Dakota Fanning lighting up the screen again. Surprisingly, the voice of Wilbur sounds very close to that of the other famous pig movie, Babe. The CGI effects were great, and are noticeably better than other animal-centric … more
This is an awesome family movie!! My 5 year old LOVES it and got her interested in having me read the full length book to her before bed each night (a chapter or two a night). The animals are adorable and the characters are excellent! Lots of laughs and great heartfelt meaning!
Unable to come up with any major criticisms, 'Charlotte's Web' is a five-star family movie. With enough updates to the script (Thanks to screenwriters Susannah Grant and Gary Winisk) version 2006 gets more than a whole new look. The casting is impeccable. Dakota Fanning plays a fiesty Fern, and the voice overs fill every bill: Steve Buscemi as Templeton the Rat, almost makes us forget the late Paul Lynde's enduring performance. And the rest of the barnyard animals are no small (tail) shakes, either. … more