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PCR # 351  (Vol. 7, No. 50)  This edition is for the week of December 11--17, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Charlotte's Web"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part Two  by Will Moriaty
"Eragon"  by Mike Smith
"Charlotte's Web"  by Mike Smith
First Screening of Creature Productions' "Dark Dimensions"  by Nolan B. Canova
The Tampa Film Review for December  by Nolan B. Canova
Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! Part 3  by Drew Reiber
DVD Grindhouse: Horror Classics - 50 Movie Pack DVD Collection (Part 1)....Peter Boyle is Gone  by Andy Lalino
The Globes....Texas Boud....Passing On....Next Year....My Favorite Films, Part 50: "1941"  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Dakota Fanning and the voices of Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi and Dominic Scott Ray
Directed by: Gary Winick
Rated: G
Running Time: 1 hour 37 mins

Based on the classic children's book by E.B. White, "Charlotte's Web" is the rare family film that the whole family can enjoy. The story should be familiar: a litter of pigs is born on the Zuckerman farm with one piglet being deemed the runt and destined for a short life. Daughter Fern (Fanning) begs her father to let her raise it as a pet and soon Wilbur, as he is named, finds himself out in the barn with a true menagerie of animals, all of whom keep to themselves. None of them have the heart to tell Wilbur that, as a spring pig, he will be the center piece of Christmas dinner. As summer comes, Wilbur makes friends with one Charlotte A. Cavatica (Roberts), a spider who has made her home in a corner of the barn. When she learns of Wilbur's future, she promises to help him avoid the trip to the smoke house. One morning, the farmer is amazed to find Wilbur standing underneath a glistening spider web, woven to spell out the words SOME PIG. Soon the entire town comes to visit Wilbur and take in the miracle. As summer progresses, Charlotte weaves her magic often, bringing life not only to the farm but to the community as well.

What a magical film. If I praised "Eragon" for its single dragon, the praise for "Charlotte's Web" is ten-fold. Fanning is well-cast as Fern but it is the animals and their personalities that stand out here. Like "Babe," "Charlotte's Web" uses real and animatronic animals almost seamlessly. Be it Templeton the Rat (Buscemi) rattling off the reasons he isn't helpful or a pair of geese (voiced by Oprah Winfrey and Cedric the Entertainer) commenting on the day's events, the voice actors fit their characters perfectly. Other cast members include Kathy Bates and Reba McEntire as cows Bitsy and Betsy, John Cleese as Samuel the Sheep and, in a case of inspired casting, Robert Redford as the wise horse, Ike. As Charlotte, Roberts' voice is soft and reassuring while Dominic Scott Ray gives voice to Wilbur with all of the amazement and wonder the world brings to it. If I could spin a web, I would declare "Charlotte's Web" SOME FILM!

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Charlotte's Web"  Four stars

This week's movie review of "Charlotte's Web" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.