O.K., I admit it, I cried at Charlotte's Web today. Why? Because, grumpy Osewalrus that I am, I am, under the right circumstacnes, a sentimental pile of goo.
And the remake of Charlotte's Web brings that out beuatifully. It is a rare treat to find a kids movie that is neither unduly sappy or unduly hip and chok full of jarring references for the adults. For example, in Happy Feet, do we really need to name the father Penguin "Memphis" and have him sing and waggle his hips like Elvis? Or have the mother Penguin be "Norma Jean"? Yes it's cute. But it is like dropping a modern reference in a period story in SCA storytelling-- cheap easy laugh that gets in the way of creating a mood.
Charlotte's Web is all about mood. It is set in an idealized 1950s without the least appology or self-consciousness. It is a time when a little girl's determination to save the runt of a litter and the sanctity of a promise to a friend, whether that's a pig or a spider or a rat, is believable. It's an idealized nostalgia for a time that never was, except in children's stories. But, knowing that, we can apreciate a brief respite from a world grown too wise and hip, or that believes that the only alternative is a nauseating saccarine.