Hubby and I watched Charlotte's Web last night (the one with Dakota Fanning). Well, hubby watched it. I watched a portion of it and then took Bubby for a walk. Afterwards, I asked hubby how it was. He wasn't impressed.
Early on, I found it to be not as good as the animated version I grew up with. I think what really got me to not liking it was the character Fern. In the animated one she was much like in the book. She was quiet, good, sweet and obeyed her mother. In the live action version, she was very much a 21st century girl in a 1950's styled movie. It starts with her father going to kill Wilbur because he's the runt and won't survive anyway. In the animated version (AV) Fern is very much a little girl who is upset and crying over the simple fact that Wilbur is cute and she doesn't want him to die. In the live action version (LAV) she doesn't cry, but puts on this PETA style front as she argues with her father. It isn't emotionally driven like the AV which seems more little girl reality believable to me. It's agenda driven. Subtle, but there.
Then, when her father says that Fern was up early ridding the world of injustice, in the AV, Fern is pleased with the love she's already forming for Wilbur. In the LAV, Fern looks smug and pleased with herself.
Then, in the LAV the movie makers put us through a small montage of Wilbur growing up with Fern caring for him. In the AV, Fern takes care of Wilbur properly on top of all her other chores and obedience to her parents. When mother calls, Fern comes quietly and sweetly. In the LAV, Fern seems to forget everything else, argues and whines to her mother when she can't have her way about Wilbur, takes Wilbur to school, etc. It actually got annoying after a while.
Fern is supposed to be known for her quiet, sweet and gentle nature. They show this in the AV. She would just sit with the animals and listen to them. In the LAV, she seems more jumpy, loud and boisterous. One scene that kinda confused me on how they were trying to portray Fern was when she was swinging in the barn going, "Wheeee." Doesn't the book say the animals liked and trusted Fern because she was still and quiet?
Soon after that, I took my son for a walk.
My conclusion about the Live Action Version of Charlotte's Web is to pass it up and rent or buy the Animated Version instead.