Radiant pig

Charlotte 's Web (Gary Winick). 97 minutes. Opens Friday (December 15). For venues and times, see Movies, page 99. Rating:.


Charlotte ‘s Web (Gary Winick). 97 minutes. Opens Friday (December 15). For venues and times, see Movies, page 99. Rating: NNNN


Director Gary Winick ‘s vibrant adaptation of E. B. White ‘s children’s novel is, at the very least, the best talking-animal movie in recent memory.

Eschewing the genre’s usual dated pop culture references and dumbed-down characters, Winick creates a world with imagination and wonder to spare. The story stays true to White’s tale, in which spring pig Wilbur (voiced by Dominic Scott Kay ) is rescued by farm girl Fern (Dakota Fanning) from her father’s axe.

After Fern finds Wilbur a home in her uncle’s barn, the young runt befriends the spider Charlotte (Julia Roberts) while trying to avoid a winter trip to the smokehouse. Along the way, Charlotte spins a masterful plan to save Wilbur, and each of the other barnyard animals learns a lesson or two about friendship.

While the 1973 version was traditionally animated, this film is more akin to 1995’s Babe, deftly meshing live-action animals and actors with computer animation. The usually grating Fanning is nicely subdued here, and the eclectic voice cast (including Steve Buscemi, Thomas Haden Church and AndrĂ© Benjamin) walks a balanced line between comedy and drama.

The film’s family-friendly take on the cycle of life will certainly cause tears, but the refreshingly smart screenplay steers clear of sentimentality.

Leave your opinion for the editor...We read everything!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *