Excellent SFX, excellent bonus "Making of"
from London, UK
, 22 Jun 2009
I haven't read the book, so it hasn't brought a waft of nostalgia for me as it has done for so many other viewers, but I enjoyed this all the same. Of course, comparisons will be made with 'Babe' and they shouldn't be... (hey, not often you get films about talking piglets interacting with humans). I don't think it's as good as 'Babe' as far as a story is concerned, and even though the effects are far better than 'Babe', 'Babe' was so groundbreaking for its time that... oh dear, I'm making comparisons, aren't I? Well, what more can I say about this film?... It will be enjoyed by children and childish adults. No 'in jokes' that only adults would get, which is why I probably only give this three stars (from a comedy/story point of view, it is pretty lame: nowhere near enough adventures for a film this length. Compare it to, say, 'Toy Story').
However, for me, it is the SFX that save this film for the adults. When you watch the 'Making of' and see how cleverly the creators have used animatronics together with real animals and CGI (eg when Wilbur is washed in buttermilk and the rat is swimming around underneath, Wilbur in this scene is the real piglet and the rat is CGI), then you can appreciate the film for what it really is: a masterpiece of SFX that bizarrely wasn't even nominated for a single Oscar (not even those boring SFX ones). This may not come as much of a surprise, until you realise that 'Babe' not only won the SFX Oscar but was nominated for 6 more, (best supporting actor, best art/set decoration, best DIRECTOR!, best film editing, best PICTURE! and best SCREENPLAY!). OK, 'Babe' was first, but surely, surely, 'Charlotte's Web' deserved at least an SFX nom? Good grief, even the dire 'Babe: Pig in the City' picked up one nomination!
As for the message in this film, I've just realised that today I have already both killed a spider and had a bacon baguette (which was lovely, although a bit too much fat, which I enjoyed feeding to the pigeons who ended up having a tug of war over a long piece of Wilbur). Funnily enough, 'Ant Bully', with its rather less sophisticated animation, but far better story, has had a profounder effect on me. I don't think I've killed any ants since seeing that! And certainly haven't poisoned any or destroyed any nests. Perhaps it's better for these 'animated features' not to be so lifelike. They seem to pick up more awards, and have a more lasting positive effect on my own behaviour and psyche.
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