Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|CHARLOTTES WEB 2006 W/SPIDER WEB PATTERN BOOK COVER |
Genres: Kids & Family
Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 08/17/2007
Mel Odom | Moore, OK USA | 01/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen several movie versions of CHARLOTTE'S WEB. The story of the friendship between a runt pig and a spider in the barn has been around entertaining children for dozens of years. But I have never seen a production that came even close to the new movie in theaters everywhere.
The recent release of CHARLOTTE'S WEB is simply amazing. I can't wait for the DVD to come out, and I'll really be disappointed if there isn't some in-depth special features regarding the making the of the film, particularly the computer animation aspects. Watching the animals talking and interacting onscreen was nothing short of magical.
There is an incredible shift from the human point of view in the film to the animal one that is almost seamless unless you're looking for it. I was, and it was still so effortless that the transition doesn't jar viewers at all. The handoff is smooth and remains highly believable.
My 9-year-old went with my wife and I, and even though he'd seen the story a number of times on DVD, he fell in love with it all over again. I loved hearing him laugh, and I couldn't help but remember the first time I'd heard CHARLOTTE'S WEB read to me by a schoolteacher.
The story is timeless and will always be around. But it's been waiting all this time for movie-making magic to truly unlock a way for audiences to watch it presented so much in the flesh.
No only is the video aspect so good, but the voice talent gathered for the film is outstanding. Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric The Entertainer, Reba McEntire, and many other recognizeable voices (including Sam Shepard as the narrator) all contributed to this amazing experience.
If you want to have a great time and be a child again, go see CHARLOTTE'S WEB. If you want to bring delight to a child, take one with you. You'll be glad you did."
The 1973 animated version is much better
Clint D. Hayes | Dallas, TX USA | 03/24/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As with Walden's first adaptation--The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe--this is an okay movie that could have been vastly better. It is a superior adaptation to Wardrobe, in that it follows the source material more faithfully both in story and characterization, but it still fails most in those key areas, and in important ways that the animated version didn't.
The most off-putting and probably most egregious error on director Winick's part is to make Fern such an impertinent, downright snotty little girl. In the book Fern is determined, but not rude. Neither is her father the milquetoast that he's made to be in the film. Ditto Templeton the rat, who is turned from an irascible malcontent into an outright bully. Such characterizations are completely unnecessary and in fact detract from the story. (Which again was the core failure with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Seems to be a Walden thing.)
This ties into a problem with the casting in general. Julia Roberts was simply the wrong voice for Charlotte. The '73 version had the good grace and foresight to cast Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte. Reynolds' soothing, melodic voice was perfect for a creature meant to be soothing and enchanting. There is life and wonder and hope in it. Roberts' voice is simply too flat and nasally, and becomes actually grating. The casting on the rest of the animals was fine (though the body humor got old after the second "joke"; I long for the days when body "humor" wasn't considered simply part of kids' movie genre), but of the humans only Beau Bridges stands out. I like the actors who played the various parts, but they too come off as lifeless. The whole affair is simply flat, which is ironic considering the wondrousness of the tale attempting to be told.
And then there's the decision to go with hyperrealistic special effects. I found myself wishing they'd stayed with the neat animation that introduced the movie. Instead we're treated to super-macro shots of a spider worthy of an electron microscope. Director Winick should have had the sense to realize that there's no way to make a spider cuddly in close-up. The animated '73 film was wise enough not to try; it showed Charlotte in just enough detail to give her form and features, and left it that. This one, again like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, wants to show off at the expense of the story.
Some of the non-book material is witty, but for the most part it's not and obviously tacked on to tickle kiddies' funny bones. It does, so in that sense I suppose it works, but it's laziness on the part of the filmmakers to feel it's necessary.
In sum, what should be a magical, uplifting movie comes off as flat and, in fact, a little boring. Maybe one of these days the film industry will discover that special effects and high-caliber casts aren't enough to save a lackluster script. It always comes down to the writing, and it simply isn't very good in this version of Charlotte's Web. It has its heart in the right place, and doesn't stray far from the original book in actual plot, for which I have to commend it at least three stars, but it's more interested in being a comedy made for kids than a drama made for smart people, young and old. This is why the '73 version continues to hold my kids in thrall after at least a score of viewings, but they were so bored on a second watching of this new film that they wanted to leave early."
Some Pig Indeed: Moving Story of Charlotte and Wilbur
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 12/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First I must confess that I have never read the original book `Charlotte's Web' by E. B. White or seen the 1973 animated film version (with Debbie Reynolds' voice). So please read my review of this new live-action version as such, though probably this kind of confession is really unnecessary.
Wilbur is a `spring pig' who is destined never to see the winter. Charlotte, a spider living in Wilbur's pen, hatches a plan with Wilbur to change his fate. The story is deceptively simple, but there are messages behind it, which is not hard even for the kids to find as the story unfolds. Even for the adults the film's last 20 minutes is quite moving.
Dakota Fanning plays a girl Fern, who saves the life of Wilbur in the earlier part of the film. One thing I like about the film's script (by Susannah Grant and Karey Kirkpatrick) is that there is another coming-of-age story about this girl, who is about to grow up and leave her childhood behind. At first Fern and Wilbur look like inseparable friends. Fern tries to bring the pig to the school, hiding him in the desk. However, by the end of the film you will be seeing another Fern, more grown-up, less childlike. No one can remain a child forever, and Fern, or perhaps Dakota Fanning herself, embodies this poignant fact.
Charlotte's voice is provided by Julia Roberts. It may be slightly weird to imagine a spider speaking with Julia's voice, but it works with her voice expressing the motherly wisdom and concerns convincingly. Impressive cast is gathered for the voices of the animals in the barnyard, and Steve Buscemi as Templeton the Rat and John Cleese as Samuel the Sheep are standout.
These animals are all perfectly created with impeccable special effects, but you may feel some part of the film detract from their effects on us. I am not sure the film really needs two meddling crows or fart jokes, and if the film company thinks that their film needs them to keep the kids interested, they are utterly mistaken. They have a charming story of Wilbur and Charlotte, and they should be much more confident, especially when they have this cast and Danny Elfman's wonderful score.
If I may borrow Charlotte's word, `Charlotte's Web' is truly `some' film, and its radiant charms are more than this single word can convey."
Endearing enterntainment for the whole family!
Melissa Markham | Huddleston, VA USA | 03/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Charlotte's Web is enchanting and will hold your attention from the beginning to the end. The writers stay true to the story on this one and this classic still ahs the ability to warm your heart and take you back to the first time you read the story of the profound friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur. My children, 10 and 6, were captivated throughout the movie. Dakota Fanning did an excellent job as always. I enjoyed the simpler tone of the movie and the story of how we can make a difference by using our talents. I recommend this movie for your viewing pleasure! It is one the whole family can watch and enjoy!"