The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
Woe be to the child who doesn't mist up at this movie, since it's been made if not with zip, wit, or imagination, then at least with sweetness. But I hope no one will think the film is an adequate replacement for White's book. That would be a crime.
Best of all may be the narration, by Sam Shepard: His voice, the kind of voice God might have if he'd ever smoked Camels, frames this gentle but potent little story with good-natured authority, making it feel modern and ageless at once.
Unfortunately, Charlotte's Web is an unremarkable collection of cute kids, talking animals and syrupy sentiment. There's little of White's original spare style and even less to entertain anyone but the very undemanding.
Like its porcine protagonist, E.B. White's classic 1952 story Charlotte's Web manages to be both radiant and humble. If only the same could be said for Gary Winick's live-action adaptation, which is neither.
Fanning isn't quite right. No doubt the ubiquitous young lady is the first child actor anyone pictures as Fern, but is there ever a moment in which the audience isn't aware they're watching Dakota Fanning in the part?
What do you say about a mediocre movie adaptation of a literary masterpiece? Could have been worse? Or, it could have been much, much better, but even then it probably wouldn't measure up to the original?
How could Charlotte's Web go wrong? It doesn't. It's a perfectly respectful, take-the-kids, down-home but enchanting-enough adaptation of the story of a pig who learns about life from a spider. Take the kids, especially the young, unsullied ones.
Some will bristle at liberties taken. Cows do indeed break wind. Yet the movie's use of flatulence is less a nod to rural truths than a reliance on what has become a go-to gag in movie's made for the booster-seat set.
Director Gary Winick keeps the film's modesty of scale and generosity of spirit in mind throughout. The story has a pull like few others, and Sam Shepard's narration keeps everything easy and unpretentious, in sync with White's prose.
Corny? Overly simplistic? Perhaps. But those were grown-ups snuffling and wiping away tears at a recent screening -- not kids -- as the story reaches its heart-tugging conclusion. And there's no shame in that.