Last night I came home from uni in a bit of a cranky mood. Instead of trying to do more work in the evening, Andy and I decided to watch some TV shows or maybe a movie on his laptop. We watched an episode of The Office, the original BBC version and not the crappy American knock-off. That is a funny show. I was still a bit of a cranky-pants, so I got to make all the decisions about what to watch. It was getting a bit late, so I figured we would stick to TV shows rather than movies, but then I saw Charlotte's Web. It was only 90 minutes, and when I skipped ahead to see the quality, it was a scene where an adorable little pig is talking with some geese. I decided right then that we were watching it.
What a good movie. I've read the book ages ago, and I've seen the animated film many times (as recently as last year), so it's not like I didn't know the plot. But every time I see it I'm surprised at the vegan-ness of the message. The very first scene involves Fern (Dakota Fanning) telling her father that there is no difference between her and the pig--"The pig couldn't help being born small, could it? If I had been small at birth, would you have killed me"? I had tears in my eyes from the start (okay, mostly because I was in that kind of mood, but it was really good)--Fern loves her porcine friend and will do anything for him. But, unfortunately, her mum and dad get in the way of things. Her mum goes so far as to consult a doctor, finding it unhealthy for Fern to spend so much time in a barn and--*gasp*--to believe that animals can actually talk to her.
I think the message that should be retrieved from this movie is an important one: all animals are worthwhile for their own sake. Unfortunately, it takes a pig that can garner media attention for the Zuckerman farm to see this. But the beautiful relationships between Fern and Wilbur, between Wilbur and Charlotte, and between the rest of the animals in the barn were moving. Even Templeton, "the rat", is lovable for his seeming selfishness. The relationships really seemed to highlight the fact that all animals are beautiful, complex creatures--even an ugly spider.
So, although it was simplistic in its critique of animal exploitation, I thought Charlotte's Web was freakin' awesome. Of course it's simplistic--it's based very closely on a children's book. The movie was beautifully done, and I think that young and old alike will really appreciate it. Do yourself a favour--if you haven't seen it yet, watch it. If nothing else, it's a nice trip down memory lane.