If you're going to remake a classic film, you can do it one of two ways: Either you take the path of doing something so completely different from the original that their mutual origin is practically indistinguishable, or you pay homage to the first by sticking as close as possible to where you started. Charlotte's Web, starring Dakota Fanning as the spirited farmgirl, Fern, who saves the life of a runty pig, and Julia Roberts as the indefatigable spider who weaves a magical web to save him again.

I was five when the classic animated adaptation of the E.B. White book came out; I've watched it countless times -- especially as my own children came to love the film and watched it over (and over ... and over) on videocassette and then DVD -- and it's always held a special place in my heart. So when I heard a remake was in the works, I was a smidge ambivalent. Why mess with something that already works so well? Who could ever replace Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte A. Cavativa, the arachnoid with a heart of gold? Julia Roberts, that's who.

categories Reviews, Cinematical