E.B. White‘s book Charlotte’s Web has been made into a film twice and as much as I love the 1973 animated version (especially Paul Lynde’s performance as Templeton) I have to say that the 2006 live action version is my favourite. I am a huge fan of all three of his children’s books: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan especially the first and last. Like Roald Dahl’s work, White’s work always made me wish I could write like that!
I would recommend this movie very highly and definitely wish to own it. Some of the voice talent that stood out for me:
Julia Roberts – Charlotte the Spider –kept low key and earthy: very well done and true to the book
Steve Buscemi – Templeton the Rat –terrific
John Cleese – Samuel the Sheep
Oprah Winfrey – Gussy the Goose
Cedric the Entertainer – Golly the Goose
Kathy Bates – Bitsy the Cow –hilarious
Reba McEntire – Betsy the Cow –ditto
Robert Redford – Ike the Horse –nice and sombre for a horse whisperer
Thomas Haden Church – Brooks the Crow –very funny
André Benjamin – Elwyn the Crow –funny
Dominic Scott Kay – Wilbur –very much like the voice I heard when I read the book.
Sam Shepard – Narrator –fantastic
The voices and animatronics for the crows Elwyn and Brooks provide a very entertaining and comedic counterpoint to Templeton. I was wondering about their names until I remembered that that is what the E.B. in E.B. White stood for: Elwyn Brooks White. A nice touch! Hopefully my memory serves but I don’t think that crows were in the book.
Also I was really impressed by Dakota Fanning (Fern) and Kevin Anderson as her father Mr. Arable, Siobhan Fallon (Mrs. Zuckerman) and Nate Mooney as Lurvy.