In case you have not read the book or seen either movie adaptation (there was a live action film released in 2006), then here is an overview. Wilbur (voice of Henry Gibson) is a pig who was born the runt of the litter. The farmer who owned the pigs was going to do away with him, but the farmer’s daughter begged him to spare Wilbur’s life. He did and the girl raised him as a pet. Unfortunately, because Wilbur lived the farmer eventually had to sell him off, although Wilbur was kept longer than any of his siblings.
At first the new farm he goes to is very strange, but he eventually makes friends with the other animals there. Among them is
, a spider. Debbie Reynolds provided the voice for Charlotte , reportedly for free because she so loved the book. Charlotte
Wilbur is happy until one of the animals tells him they will not be his friend since in a few months he will just be turned into bacon and ham. Wilbur is scared, but
comes up with an idea of spinning words into her web to attract attention to Wilbur and maybe save his life. Charlotte
From this overview you can tell that this is not like the Disney movies of its day where death is never a possibility.
’s Web is more like the early Disney films (i.e. Bambi) where children are not shielded from the sadness of possibly losing someone they care about. Personally, I think it is important to not talk down to kids. Yes, they need to be protected, but they should not be hermetically sealed away from seeing anything that might make them sad. In fact, parents are probably more bothered by the sadness because they think it might be hurting their kids far more than it actually is. Charlotte
Reportedly, White wasn’t thrilled by the studio adding in some songs to the story, but test audiences for the live action version actually caused the studio to make some changes to accommodate the fans who loved certain songs in the original. I have not seen the live action remake, so I cannot compare the two films. I’m assuming it’s a bit like The Parent Trap remake where they had the girl in the second film singing one line of the Let’s Get Together song that was performed in the original.
My positive memories of
’s Web are from the perspective of a child. As I mentioned above, I saw it again as an adult, but I do not really remember my impressions of it then. This leads me to believe that the film is probably best viewed by children and that adults might not be as thrilled with it. If you’ve got a young child, though, especially one that has read the book, then I recommend you give this film a try. Charlotte
Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars