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A spy says CHARLOTTE'S WEB is T double E double R double I double F double I double C-C-C!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I grew up with the '70s animated CHARLOTTE'S WEB and have such an amazing soft spot for it, I can't even tell ya'. I get warm fuzzies when I think about that movie or hear one of its songs. As a result I'm not totally onboard with this live-action flick, but I'm willing to give it a shot. The below reviewer, Fargo Fellini, really took to it. Enjoy the review!!!

Hey Harry & Crew - The last time I wrote in was back in the spring reporting on the Antonio Bandaras abortion of a movie "Take the Lead," but this time I can give you something a little more positive. Tonight producer Jordan Kerner came to the North Carolina School of the Arts and unveiled his latest picture, the re-make adaptation of "Charlotte's Web." To say that I was a bit skeptical going in would be an under statement. I grew up on the book and the 1973 film, and the idea of a re-make featuring the voices of Cedric the Entertainer and Andre 3000 didn't exactly bode well with me. How wrong I was... As I learned tonight E.B. White wrote the book to be a metaphor for the creation of the United Nations, and thus the story was really a parable on race relations. These themes of compassion, friendship, and loyalty really shine through in Gary Winwick's masterful telling of this classic tale. A room full of cynical film students is hardly the target audience for a film like "Charlotte's Web" but dare I say by the end of the screening I saw more than a few people in tears. The performances amongst the humans were ho-hum, Dakota Fanning was excellent, but praising Fanning at this point is akin to praising Meryl Streep... you KNOW she's good. But this film is about the animals, and each of the actors bring their best to the table. Two particular stand outs were Thomas Hayden Church and (yes) Andre "3000" Benjamin as two crows, who are attempting to get corn throughout the film and keep getting scared off by the scare crow. Danny Elfman's score is among his best work in the past decade. Echo's of his Edward Scissorhand's choral score can be heard throughout, and if I were Paramount I would be seriously pushing this film for the Best Original Score award. Beautiful cinematography abounds, and Gary Winick has really come a long was as a filmmaker. He's an interesting one to watch. I give him particular credit for not making the movie overly sentimental. The film has a lot of sentiment, but is not by anymeans sentimental. His knows when to push emotion, and when to hold back. I have no doubt that this film will be a massive success when it's released on December 15th. For as much as I love the 1973 animated version, this version is much more faithful to E.B. White's novel, and doesn't feel as though it was made strictly for kids. This is a film that will appeal to just about anyone (as demonstrated by a room full of crying college kids). Until Next Time, -- Fargo Fellini
Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 18, 2006, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Sounds good

    by Ridge

    I too grew up with it on Beta, watched it all the time, I remember many fond days of watching Wilbur and singing along. I can't wait to see this.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 4:08 a.m. CST

    Okay

    by acroyear77

    n ow

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 4:21 a.m. CST

    That's Some Pig

    by DOGSOUP

    That'll do pig, that'll do

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 4:53 a.m. CST

    A fair is a veritable smorgasbord...

    by zacdilone

    What wonderful memories...Paul Lynde, that dude from the Partridge Family, Debbie Reynolds...I just don't see how this will measure up in comparison.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 4:57 a.m. CST

    Plants can go to hell

    by random dude

    Fawk plants. And you know what I'm talking about.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 5:04 a.m. CST

    I'm not one to cry "plant" but,

    by CoursinLarry

    I find it odd that the reviewer would feel it necessary to include the release date in the review. Seems a bit weird to me.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 5:19 a.m. CST

    dakota fanning and meryl streep?

    by BadMrWonka

    I know she's good, but come on...you had to roll your eyes when you read that...and if anyone posts a link to that Up Up and Crap youtube shite, I will come to your house and step on your balls...

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 6:19 a.m. CST

    CHARLOTTE'S PLANT

    by wanton_wallie

    I love that movie

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 6:36 a.m. CST

    More Conspiracy, Cousin Larry!

    by theBigE

    That release date just got changed this week, but the reviewer has the new one! <p> Still, I hope it's good, as I don't want to have to watch crap like "Night at the Museum" and "Happy Feet" with my kids this Christmas break.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 6:44 a.m. CST

    Take the Lead wasn't bad

    by c4andmore

    My wife made me watch that because I made her see The Descent. Decent trade. Take the Lead was a pretty formulaic teacher-ghetto kid interaction movie, but Banderas is usually charming and he saved the movie. Worth a rental with a wife/date or both if your lucky.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 6:55 a.m. CST

    The ultimate plant "review"

    by zekmoe

    Why not say it's the next Star Wars or Titanic? It's planty mcplantatron.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 6:56 a.m. CST

    I don't know...

    by Darkman

    I can scarcely resist the power of Danny Elfman, but seeing the previews, this film looks a couple steps shy of RACING STRIPES (anyone else remember that one?); not really the vibe I want to have when thinking of an adaptation of a children's classic.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 7:11 a.m. CST

    Jeremy's Iron

    by Shaw

    Here's a ball, perhaps you'd like to bounce it.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 7:27 a.m. CST

    Dakota Fanning has been 11 for ten years now

    by CTU Mole

    I don't think it's good for her to be frozen and unfrozen in carbonite repeatedly like this.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 7:29 a.m. CST

    If this guy isn't a plant

    by CTU Mole

    He has an innate talent for writing like a marketing weasel. For either reason he should be banished.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 8:11 a.m. CST

    The Hanna Barbara Charlotte's Web was pig shit.

    by Uncle Stan

    I dare say, the worst animated feature ever.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 8:20 a.m. CST

    A talk backer says that the Charlotte's Web review is a

    by zufflezipperfish

    ...P....double L.....double A.... double N.....double T

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 8:37 a.m. CST

    That'll do pig, That'll do!

    by Squashua

    Wilbur was a lazy fuck. Fucking spiders did all the work for his fat, lazy ass.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 9:13 a.m. CST

    pigs are tasty

    by jccalhoun

    maybe it is because I grew up next to a hog lot, but I never really got into Charlotte's Web as a kid. Even then I thought it was stupid that the spider was able to write words in the spider web, and the people were such morons that they believed the words and didn't stop to think about how amazing it was that a spider could spell...

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Crying film students?

    by Mister Man

    Um, as a USC film grad, I can assure you that the LAST place a studio would test a film is with film school students. So, why this producer brought his film to yours, I cannot imagine. Perhaps it's because you all cry, are known for crying, and he can tell the studio you cried, making everyone feel warm and gooey inside. And for those of us that read the book a dozen times as kids, the 70s CARTOON was el-crap-o.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 10:27 a.m. CST

    In the never-ending quest for a sustainable ecosystem

    by Harry Weinstein

    ...it is important to reme- aw, fuck it, this is a shameless plant. I saw the trailer for this. Whoever thought this needed fart jokes ought to simply be shot in the face. With a cruise missile.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Checked their Web site

    by Mister Man

    And, yup, he was there. But, it's WINSTON-SALEM. Mary-Louise Parker is their main claim to fame, although I've never heard of this place.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 10:37 a.m. CST

    FARTING COWS

    by Osmosis Jones

    This movie has FARTING COWS.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 11:11 a.m. CST

    shine through in Gary Winwick's masterful telling

    by Alonzo Mosely

    I am not going to call you a plant, but I would strongly consider a future in writing press releases. Because that is pretty much what you did...

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 12:07 p.m. CST

    United Nations? Are you kidding me?

    by jbum

    Charlotte's web was not a metaphopr for the creation of the UN, it was a book about death (or more broadly, the cycle of life) - pure and simple. What incredible bullshit.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Spoiler

    by Reelheed

    Spider dies. Isn't this film s'posed to be sentimental? Also the trailer riffs heavy on comedy but notice how our boy "Fargo" doesn't mention that the film is funny at all. However folks seem to like the cute talking animals bandwagon so I guess will be made to watch this. Hope it's not the totally pointless exercise in extorting parents that I fear it is.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 12:10 p.m. CST

    No mentions of the huge CG spider.

    by jbum

    And how come not a single mention of the giant hairy spid^H^H^H^H elephant in the room? This movie contains close ups of an enormous CG spider. How is this accomplished without scaring the beejeejuz out of all the 5 year olds in the room?

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 12:31 p.m. CST

    A metaphor for the creation of the UN?

    by Bazzz

    That might explain Templeton's obsession with garbage. Gimme a break.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 12:33 p.m. CST

    "Echo's of his Edward Scissorhand's choral score..."

    by 3 Bag Enema

    "...can be heard throughout...." everything he fucking does!!!

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Damn You Plantchael Plant

    by KarmicRelief

    Damn you Plantchael Plant!

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 12:41 p.m. CST

    hey look..

    by fannypacoderus

    a talking singing PLANT... dakota fanning is creepy and cedric the entertainer sucks diahrea from a buffalos dick..

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 1:11 p.m. CST

    3 Bag

    by BenBraddock

    Listen to some of his other scores - there's a lot more to D.E. than just choirs, Enema

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 1:30 p.m. CST

    BABE is delicious

    by Pipple

    And it's a great talking pig movie. This movie looks like a babe wannabe.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Speaking of plants...

    by Eyegore

    Ever wonder why so many people are quick to cry 'Plant!'? Could it be that they are counter plants from other studios? Hmmm...makes you think doesn't it. Maybe everything you thought you knew up to know is wrong? Or maybe they are all just a bunch of attention whoring fools on the same level as people who post 'First!'?

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 7:06 p.m. CST

    Who is voicing Templeton?...

    by DanielKurland

    And is a Paul Lynde impersonation being done? Because he had a fucking marvelous voice.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Another screening review,

    by Novaman5000

    another talkback filled with screams of "PLANT!" You guys are getting a bit predicatble.

  • Nov. 18, 2006, 11:09 p.m. CST

    The problem I have with the movie...

    by Cartagia

    The spider looks too fucking real. I hate spiders and I saw the trailer and my immediate reaction was "FUCK that." Talking spider's get squished... unless they are just a black little speck with eight squiggles that are supposed to be legs.

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 12:59 a.m. CST

    Right out of chapter 1 of the plant handbook

    by TheyCallHimFlane

    "To say that I was a bit skeptical going in would be an under statement," shortly followed by a declaration that they were completely wrong? Jumping Jefferson's ghost! At least make things a little less obvious for us.

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 1:31 a.m. CST

    Think I'll just watch "Babe" again

    by Zeke25:17

    Yeah, yeah, I know, Charlotte came first...and I loved the cartoon. But what THAT had going for it was the marvelously warm voice of Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte; by comparison, Julia Roberts sounds about as warm as a shaken not stirred martini at the ass end of a penguin with a case of happy feet. Could someone explain to me why Roberts' voice, flat as a pancake, was picked for the part? Does she still have that much star power? Here's just a few that coulda done a better job (and remember, I'm not talking about FACES here, dummies; we're just gonna HEAR em, not SEE em): Liv Tyler. Elizabeth Mitchell. Naomi Watts. Famke Janssen. Whoever voiced "Lisa" in Team America! Dammit! Looks like the only good bit of voice casting was Steve Buscemi as Templeton. Julia Roberts is supposed to update Debbie Reynolds? What next, Daniel Craig out-Bonds Sean Connery?

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 2:09 a.m. CST

    Meryl Streep is not talented

    by jimmy_009

    WTF? Meryl Streep hasn't done shit in decades. She's overrated and always has been.

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 2:09 a.m. CST

    banana

    by Cedar_Room

    This film looks shite and this "reviewer" needs to read Plant Studies Chapter 1 - never mention that the original score deserves and oscar - nobody gives a shit about that stuff except the studios. And when exactly is Dakota Fanning going to grow up??? I thought this was going to be her first difficult teenager film but she still looks 9. Are those rumours about her being an evil studio cyborg really true??

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 2:32 a.m. CST

    I found the whole subject matter to be pointless

    by Doc_Strange

    I mean the fucking spider dies. There's a good way to make little kids cry. I never got how this could appeal to little children if all it leads up to is death. WTF?

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 3:08 a.m. CST

    templeton is...

    by radjac33

    Steve Buscemi. awesome choice I think

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 3:10 a.m. CST

    The Original Sucks

    by Toshiro Kurasawa

    The animation is inconsistent. They can't even get the size of the animals the same in some scenes. Very disappointing.

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 7:18 a.m. CST

    Greatest children's book: Number the Stars.

    by CreasyBear

    This needs to become a movie. Directed by Paul Verhoeven (Denmark, Holland, close enough).

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 7:45 a.m. CST

    it will gives children nightmare...

    by DarthBakpao

    spiders are scary...

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Plant? No. I was there.

    by johnhawks

    No, this ain't a plant. Kerner really did come to NCSA and show his film, but this review is exaggerating a little bit. Most the kids I know, really didn't like it all that much. There were some people crying, but I think at least half felt that the dialouge was awful, and the actors really didn't have anything to work with because of it. At least that's how I felt. *shrug*

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 9:02 p.m. CST

    Talkbacks like these....

    by MattCG

    are the primary reason why I can't understand why there are talkbacks at this site. I think the absolute cynicism of the average talkbacker (myself included) has rendered discussions on pretty much everything just another chance to demonstate said cynicism. It's a fucking talking pig movie, people. Exactly what the fuck are you expecting?

  • Nov. 19, 2006, 10:09 p.m. CST

    The live action wrapped 1.5 years ago

    by ETI

    Thus explaining why Dakota looks 10. She had just turned 11. In fact this was filmed shortly after War Of The Worlds.

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 5:40 a.m. CST

    I thought it was going to spell T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E..!

    by workshed

    Could be good but it will never match the dark brilliance of 'Babe - Pig In The City'. A film that. imho, gets better with each passing year. My kids love the novel Charlotte's Web and i presume they will devour the movie. It will make kerzillions.

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 6:29 a.m. CST

    Saw this yesterday with my 11 year-old daughter

    by MKiro

    'Nice' film, I thought. Maybe a little overtly sentimental. The V.O.s were great across the board, with Julia Roberts bringing just the right amount of gravitas to Charlotte.Never thought I would sympathise with a spider! The animation of the spider was first-rate and the general level of the effects showed just how far it has all come since Babe. I enjoyed it, but my daughter ADORED it. My conclusion - take a kid and you'll get more from it. As a 'standalone adult' it's probably too blatantly manipulative.

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 8:02 a.m. CST

    This is great, saw it yesterday

    by filmcoyote

    I don't know if this guy's a plant, but this is a truly great family film, in the true sense, suitable for the whole family, not just full of lame in-jokes and toilet humour. It's like Babe in that it is a beautiful, simply, uplifting adaptation of a children's favourite.

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 10:01 a.m. CST

    2 words...

    by Cellar Door

    IT'S BACON!!!!!

  • Nov. 20, 2006, 5:21 p.m. CST

    It's a veritable greenhouse, this review.......

    by Jimmy Jazz

    I know reflexively yelling "Plant" to every positive review is a pretty douchebag thing to do, but this guy sounds almost like your average junket whore from a Tulsa Fox affiliate. I can see the blurb now on the ads "You'll.....be in Tears!...". That's pretty leafy. Anyway, I think I must have read the book at one point, but don't remember it. I did see the animated movie, but all I really remember of that was the sappy doe-eyed character design and Paul Lynde as the rat. This seems like yet another CGI talking animal crapfest with stunt voice casting and fart jokes. Like we need more of that.