By Stephanie Ciccarelli
January 10, 2007
Remembering the old and ringing in the new voice casts of Charlotte's Web.
If you've read the classic children's novel Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, you've likely heard about the new Charlotte's Web movie (2006), complete with computer generated characters alongside a human cast, starring the voice talents of Julia Roberts as the beloved spider and heroine, Charlotte A. Cavatica.
Charlotte's Web is the story of how an ordinary pig, a runt in a reality, was saved by a little girl named Fern who lived on her family's farm.
Fern reminds us of the right to life at all stages by challenging her father in the barn that fateful morning; a morning that would set the tone for the rest of the movie, placing an emphasis on friendship and the dignity of life for all of God's creatures, big and small.
In the end, a community was strengthened and brought together by means of the miraculous writings of a devoted friend on her web to save the life of a spring pig, declaring Wilbur as "Some Pig", "Terrific", "Radiant" and "Humble".
Charlotte's Web teaches us about life and death, trust and friendship and also proves that we can all make a difference in the lives of others if we try.
Going back to the movie, the film is stocked with Hollywood superstars, starring Julia Roberts as Charlotte the Spider, Steve Buscemi as Templeton the Rat, John Cleese as Samuel the Sheep, Oprah Winfrey as Gussy the Goose, Cedric the Entertainer as Golly the Goose, Kathy Bates as Bitsy the Cow, Reba McEntire as Betsy the Cow, Robert Redford as Ike the Horse, Thomas Haden Church as Brooks the Crow, AndrÃ© Benjamin as Elwyn the Crow, Sam Shepard as the Narrator, Dakota Fanning as Fern, and Dominic Scott Kay as Wilbur.
While today's generation of children will remember the film starring Dakota Fanning and Julia Roberts, those of us born in the eighties and beforehand know a different, gentler Charlotte's Web, presented as an animated feature film produced in 1973, starring the voice talents of Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte the Spider, Paul Lynde as Templeton the Rat, and Henry Gibson as Wilbur.
You may also appreciate that Don Messick played the role of Jeffrey and that Rex Allen was the Narrator.
Something I loved about the first version and miss in the new version is the music. I tracked down all of the lyrics to the songs featured in the original Charlotte's Web movie for those who are interested in taking a stroll down memory lane.
If you've made the trek to the theatre, leave a comment about what you thought about the new Charlotte's Web.
If you remember the first movie, you're invited to leave a comment too :)
Lastly, if you've seen both, let us know which one you prefer and why.
P.S. Check out the official movie website for Charlotte's Web. Loads of interactive fun!
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