In a recent post I spoke dismissively of the 2006 live-action and CGI adaptation of Charlotte’s Web, a movie I had judged harshly largely on the trailer, which made me think the movie had been commandeered by the celebrity voice talent. I also thought they’d loaded the movie with fart jokes. Neither fear was completely unfounded, but the movie is a million times better than I expected. In particular, Dakota Fanning (as Fern) and Julia Roberts (as Charlotte) give moving performances, while the writing and direction are true to the spirit and time of the book. Steve Buscemi’s Templeton threatens to steal the movie but the makers hearts were in the right place.
There are a few touches that they really appreciate the book, such as leaving in at least a glimpse of Fern on the rope swing, and including a compressed version of the doctor’s lecture, which didn’t make the animated movie from the 1970s. The crows, though a gratuitous addition, are named Elwyn and Brooks. Awwww.