Charlotte's Web

The classic E.B. White story, already an animation classic, gets a live-action nonmusical feature that does the book justice. Director Gary Winick and company use live actors and animals, mixed with CGI effects, to bring White’s world to life with grand results. When a runt pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte (voice of Julia Roberts), the spider pledges to save his life and comes up with a magical means of doing so. The visual effects are spectacular, especially when it comes to Charlotte the spider and Templeton the rat (voiced by Steve Buscemi). Dakota Fanning heads the human cast, and she’s emerging as a great actress after freaking me out for a couple of years. Other voices include Oprah as a goose, Thomas Haden Church as a crow and a funny Robert Redford as a horse afraid of spiders. One of 2006’s best, and easily the year’s finest family film. The film year has been sucking wind, and this one certainly breathes some life into it.

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