Charlotte's Web

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Director: Gary Winick
Starring: Dakota Fanning
Voices of: Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, Cedric The Entertainer, Reba McEntire, Kathy Bates, Thomas Haden Church, Andre Benjamin
RunTime: 108 mins
Genre: Family, Animated/Live-Action
Rating: PG

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 char siew mee for a week after Babe.) Although the movie boosts a celebrated 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 a tad 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.

Charlotte’s Web – Not radiant, but is a humble and 'some movie'.

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