Charlotte's Web is a 2006 American live-action/computer-animated feature film, based off the novel as written by E. B. White and also based off the 1973 theatrical cartoon film of the same name. It is directed by Gary Winick and produced by Paramount Pictures, Walden Media, The K Entertainment Company and Nickelodeon Movies. The screenplay was written by Susannah Grant and Karey Kirkpatrick, based on White's book.
One spring on a Maine farm, Fern Arable (Dakota Fanning) learns that her father plans to kill a newborn pig litter's runt. She successfully begs him to spare its life. He gives it to her, who names him Wilbur and raises him as her pet. To her regret, when he grows into an adult pig, she is forced to take him to the Zuckerman farm, where he is to be prepared as dinner in due time.
Charlotte (Julia Roberts), a spider, lives in the space above Wilbur's sty in the Zuckermans' barn; she befriends him and decides to help prevent him from being eaten. With the help of the other barn animals, including a rat named Templeton (Steve Buscemi), she convinces the Zuckerman family that Wilbur is actually quite special, by spelling out descriptions of him in her web: "Some pig", "Terrific", "Radiant" and "Humble". She gives her full name as Charlotte A. Cavatica, revealing her as a barn spider.
The Arables, Zuckermans, Wilbur, Charlotte, and Templeton go to a fair, where Wilbur is entered in a contest. While there, Charlotte produces an egg sac. She cannot return home because she is dying. Wilbur tearfully says goodbye to her but manages to take her egg sac home, where hundreds of offspring emerge. Most of the young spiders soon leave, but three, named Joy, Aranea, and Nellie, stay and become Wilbur's friends.
- Dakota Fanning (Fern Arable)
- Kevin Anderson (John Arable, Fern’s father)
- Beau Bridges (Dr. Dorian)
- Louis Corbett (Avery Arable)
- Essie Davis (Mrs. Arable, Fern's mother)
- Dominic Scott Kay (Wilbur the Pig)
- Julia Roberts (Charlotte the Spider)
- Steve Buscemi (Templeton the Rat)
- Oprah Winfrey (Gussie the Goose)
- Cedric the Entertainer (Golly the Goose)
- Kathy Bates (Bitsy the Cow)
- Reba McEntire (Betsy the Cow)
- Robert Redford (Ike the Horse)
- Thomas Haden Church and André Benjamin (Brooks & Elwyn the Crows)
- Abraham Benrubi (Uncle the Pig)
The film was at one time intended for a June 2006 release, but was pushed back to December 2006 to avoid competition with two other films from Nickelodeon Movies - Nacho Libre and Barnyard - as well as the DreamWorks film, Over the Hedge and Cars among other films. It was released in Australia on December 7, 2006 and in the United States and Canada on December 15, 2006. The DVD was released on April 3, 2007 in the United States and Canada.
Reviews were generally positive, especially with respect to Dakota Fanning's portrayal of Fern. Michael Medved gave Charlotte's Web three and a half stars (out of four) calling it "irresistible" and "glowing with goodness". Medved also said that Dakota Fanning's performance was "delightfully spunky". Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman complains that the film is "a bit noisy" but applauds the director for putting "the book, in all its glorious tall-tale reverence, right up on screen." He goes on to say that "What hooks you from the start is Dakota Fanning's unfussy passion as Fern."
- This was Nickelodeon's first and only film to receive a G rating in 5 years.
- It was also Nickelodeon's only live-action film to be designated a G rating by the MPAA as well as Nickelodeon's first live-action film not to be rated PG.
- It was the fourth live-action adaptation of an animated classic to be designated the same MPAA rating as the original classic after 1996's 101 Dalmatians, 1998's direct-to-video The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story, and 2000's sequel 102 Dalmatians (all of which were made by Disney).
- The original book was also seen in Barnyard.
- This is the second time Nickelodeon has contributed to the Charlotte's Web franchise. The first was Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure, which was the sequel to the Hanna-Barbera version.
- There were 47 piglets used on set for the role of Wilbur due to the piglets' fast aging.
- For security reasons, early prints of the film were shipped under the title "Bacon".
- Tim Burton was originally the director, but he later turned down.
- Walden Media, the film's co-production company, is also a family production company.
- This is the second film from Nickelodeon to feature music by Danny Elfman
- ↑ "Charlotte's Web". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- ↑ Medved, Michael (2006-12-15). Charlotte's Web. Michael Medved's Eye on Entertainment. MichaelMedved.com. Retrieved on 2006-12-18.
- ↑ Gleiberman, Owen (2006-12-15). Movie Review: Charlotte's Web. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2006-12-18.