Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure (2003)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Game-Meet the Animals
Game-Rhyme and Colour Activity
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Mario Piluso|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
If your children loved the original animated story of Charlotte's Web, they'll probably enjoy revisiting Wilbur and cheering him on in this journey of self-discovery. As an adult watching in, you may be disappointed that the charm and simple pathos of the first story has been somewhat lost. That story more elegantly dipped its lid to the eloquent and sadly heroic story by Elwyn Brooks White, where the glorious spider, Charlotte A. Cavitica (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) saves Wilbur the pig from the chopping block by enigmatically weaving "Some Pig" into her final and most magnificent web before she quietly dies alone.
This time, it's Wilbur's turn to assimilate the gracious lessons he's learned and rescue another outsider.
It is a simple morality story of identity and acceptance. A little black sheep, Cardigan, is born, and is immediately rejected by his flock as being too different. Always something of an outsider himself, Wilbur forms a friendship with the lamb, and determines to rescue him when he is sold on to another farmer.
Charlotte's memory (and thus, justification for using her name in the title) is evoked by the inclusion of three of her intrepid daughters to assist Wilbur in his quest, and together they need to solve various personal challenges and the treachery of a sly fox to ultimately succeed.
The original cartoon of Charlotte's Web was created in 1973, and was itself not without its controversy at the time, taking on as it did the hallowed source material of E. B. White's much-loved classic. It was almost a kiddy version of the uproar that swelled when it was announced that Peter Jackson was going to tackle Lord Of The Rings; and, whilst it certainly did not deliver the extraordinary product that Mr Jackson has thus far provided us with, the cartoon did have a certain charm. Debbie Reynolds lent her voice to a delightful Charlotte, and the Kleenex quotient of the film was fittingly high. Thirty years later, this sequelled production doesn't have that je ne sais quoi that would elevate it to a higher status than that of a rainy Saturday afternoon filler. Most deeply missed was the voice of sadly departed Paul Lynde who played Templeton in the original. His snide and snivelly ingratiating tones were just perfect - and their absence was very apparent to this sentimental reviewer.
To get a quick summation of the standard of this latter production, you may like to note that it was a straight-to-video production. Probably enough said.
So, if your children loved the real Charlotte's Web, they may enjoy the chance to return to the farm. If they haven't seen that yet, then my advice is go to the original first, and use this production as a stocking filler for later.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and given that it was, as stated, a straight-to-video release, that's to be expected. It is not 16x9 enhanced.
Generally, as one would expect with animation, it was pin sharp and showed no evidence of low level noise. It was a bright, clean transfer.
The colours were suitably luminous and almost primary, as may be expected in a movie of this genre. Strong colours were everywhere, and the animations were of the block colour variety - always vivid and well represented on screen.
Occasionally, there was evidence of interlacing but it was not pronounced, and the transfer was generally crisp and clean without any major problems in attendance. There were no subtitles.
This disc is a single sided, single layered disc.
The audio track on this DVD is English Dolby Digital 2.0 and all the action occurs way up front.
The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times. There was some hiss apparent in the start up sequence of the film, but this settled down quickly. Audio sync was not an issue.
The musical score was a simple little affair that was suitably pleasant and non intrusive to the piece.
Forget about any ambient sense of sound with this transfer. The surrounds and the subwoofer all had a little holiday for the entire 79 minutes.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu was fully animated and bristling with cheery music. It was presented in 16x9 format and was easy to navigate.
Well, it's going to offend the intelligence of anyone over 4, but for the littlies, it may produce a moment's involvement.
OK game of predicting a rhyme to select a colour to paint a picture. Several correct guesses in a row are rewarded with an animated sequence from the movie.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
It appears that both versions are identical, so R4 wins for local availability.
Who can know the minds of children when it comes to children's movies? If your particular batch of little'uns enjoyed the original, they may very well enjoy this.
For my taste, it simply made me miss the original more.
|DVD||Singer SGD-001, using S-Video output|
|Display||Teac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Teac 5.1 integrated system|
|Speakers||Teac 5.1 integrated system|