Will “Charlotte’s Web” Be Broken?

One of my worst film-adaptation nightmares looks like it’s about ready to come true.

Charlotte’s Web, one of my favorite children’s books, was made into a fine animated film decades ago. But with the success of Babe, it became inevitable that the book would be turned into a live-action talking-animal movie.

I hoped and hoped they would do the job with dignity.

But alas, I’ve just seen a preview, and my worst fears are realized:

The trailer prominently displays a moment when a rat is running along a rail and is knocked off by the force of a noisy cow fart.


They’ve brought Charlotte’s Web that low.

Sure, it’s only one moment from the preview. But it’s a moment they’re flaunting, and that does not bode well for the film.

I suspect that E.B. White would be even more disappointed than I am.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • M. Dale Prins

    It is now no. 47 in my Netflix queue.

  • Ellen Collison

    Somehow this is reminding me of Spielberg’s bad remake of Peter Pan, with Julia R. as Tinkerbelle… including fart jokes.

  • Adam Walter

    E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web: I’m not a bad Hollywood movie, I’m not a bad Hollywood movie!
    Sir Bedevere: But you’re dressed like one.
    E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web: They dressed me up like this!
    Crowd: We didn’t! We didn’t. . .
    E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web: And this fart gag isn’t mine. It’s not in the book!
    Sir Bedevere: [makes close visual inspection of said fart gag, obviously “tacked on”] Well.
    Peasant: Well, we did do the fart gag.
    Sir Bedevere: The fart gag. . .
    Peasant: And the silly Julia Roberts voice–but she is a bad Hollywood movie!
    Crowd: Yeah! Burn her, burn her!

  • RC

    That’s disappointing about the cow fart blowing templeton off the tracks…

    now babe…i liked that!

    –RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

  • Kim

    Man. What are kids going to grow up to if all we entertain them with are actors pretending to be dogs, and farts. I’m sad. Probably more sad than that rat was when he fell off the rail.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Isn’t this film being produced by Walden Media, the same outfit that tarnished The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and looks set to do the same with Bridge to Terabithia?