Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My response to "Revolting Musings on the 1973 Animated Version of Charlotte's Web"

This is my response to the post Revolting Musings on the 1973 Animated Version of Charlotte's Web from the blog of an old college mate, Derek Leif.

I always liked film. As much as I never really cared for Hanna-Barbara, and never cared for the restrained design of most the film (especially the humans), it all just seems to work, just like Wilbur himself seems to be a winner with just a little P.R.

While I guess you have a point about Henry Gibson's pathetic interpretation of Wilbur, you have to agree it's faithful to the book. Perhaps the real mistake is having an adult play the voice; a real child's voice might've inspired more sympathy for a character who is mostly helpless. Babe was voiced by an adult, but sounded like a child. It helps us root for him.

Your ability to find the twistedly morbid in the supposedly wholesome remains undiluted, and still makes me wish you would join Up With People just so you could cheer and coo alongside them, only to make one superficially innocuous remark that would pass right over the heads of your team mates, and would only later make them jump out of their respective beds with night terrors.

Just the same, I was surprised you neglected to speculate on the grisly fate of the pig Wilbur edges out for the prize. Even as a kid, I did sorta think, "Well, he's going on the chopping block." I can imagine him being loaded up on his owner's truck, and in the scant seconds as his cage passes Wilbur's pen, hearing the little pig quietly state, "Salutations; have a nice death."


At 3/25/10, 3:01 AM, Anonymous Boston Bill said...

To Monster, Indeed: I couldn't seem to publish my comment on 'Revolting Musings', so I'll stick it here!
Okay, while the movie isn't the in the Top Ten Animated Films of All Time List, I'm glad I didn't see your version when I was a kid!
Actually, CW is an excellent film. The songs are genuinely toe-tapping, and there aren't too many of them. And while it's Hanna Barbara, it's not Disney. When Charlotte dies, Templeton (bless him) couldn't care less! What confused me was why everyone wasn't obsessed with the spelling spider. Yes, as a grown-up, I see that EB White was making a comment about advertising. But HELL, a spelling spider, now that's TERRIFIC!
As a father of two under-10's, I had to endure the 2006 version. If you think Julia Roberts is a passable actress, then see her in a role that only utilises her monotone voice! And the one we were supposed to feel sorry for was Fern, which is all wrong! Oh how I longed for the barber shop quartet from the first film to jump in and belt: 'Oh Wow, look at him now, Zuckerman's famous pig...'
And no, Tom, I never felt that sorry for the other pig since Wilbur's pardon was an exception; not exactly Barrabas taking Jesus's only shot at a pardon.

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