Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Charlotte's Web" is some movie!

My freelance review...
Salutations, readers.

The animated film version of "Charlotte's Web," released in 1973, has held up for a third of a century, entertaining multiple generations with its story of the unlikely friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte.

This holiday season comes a live-action remake, complete with tons of computer-generated effects showing real animals talking out loud to each other. Exceptions to this are Templeton the rat and Charlotte, both of whom are entirely computer-generated.

As with the cartoon version, the remake is faithful to E.B. White's children's book. The sweet story goes mostly unchanged -- at least in terms of the core characters, plot and theme. The remake retains the simple charm and beauty of the book and the old cartoon version.

The voices of the barn animals are provided by pros such as Julia Roberts, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer and Robert Redford. And as Fern, the little girl who befriends Wibur, Dakota Fanning is charming and cute.

This remake is a good movie, although I think I prefer the simple sweetness of the original cartoon version. It's great, though, that the movie has been remade, as its sweet, gentle story about life, friendship -- and dying -- will get increased exposure within today's generation. It's also nice to see a kids movie with a decent story and something real to say to kids -- kids who are young-in-age and/or young-at-heart.

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