This past Friday, my sons and I went to see “Charlotte’s Web.” E.B. White’s book has been treasured by generations of children since it was first published in 1952, and it is now a live action movie for the first time.
If you are one of the two people in the country who haven’t read this classic, let me give you a quick summary. Fern is a young girl who rescues a runt pig from her father’s axe. She promptly names him Wilbur and begins to care for him.
As Wilbur grows, he is moved to the barn where he meets a variety of barnyard animals. His best friend is Charllote, the motherly spider who promises to care for him and prevent him from being an unwilling participant in Christmas dinner. The story centers around her attempt to fulfill that promise.
The movie features Dakota Fanning as 12 year old Fern, Julia Roberts as the voice of Charlotte, and an all-star cast of voices for the other animals. Oprah Winfrey (Gussy the Goose), Robert Redford (Ike the Horse),Reba McEntire (Betsy the Cow) to name a few. The best by far, however, is Steve Buscemi as “Templeton the Rat.”
Mr. White’s original story is laregly left intact, with only minor touches added. Humorous, yet unnecessary animal flatulance jokes may be the only fly in the oinment for some. (Children would have loved this movie without the nod to modern sensibility.) However, nothing is added that detracts from the story itself.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable film. It held the attention of children from 2 to 72 in the theater we were in. Once again, here is evidence that the appeal of good story telling spans generations. With a G rating, no profanity, and no negative characters, this is good fare for the whole family. A welcome reprieve from the “slop” normally dished out by Hollywood.