leave a comment --Robert Pardi
The bittersweet CHARLOTTE'S WEB (1973) was a surprise hit that subsequently became a children's classic, but not-so-fetching sequel rolls in mawkishness like a piggie in mud. Misfit Wilbur the Pig (voice of David Beron) bonds with new arrival to the farm, Cardigan the Lamb (Harrison Chad). Rejected by the other lambs, the baby black sheep basks in Wilbur's friendship until a journey to the County Fair threatens the animals' status quo. A neighboring farmer decides to purchase Cardigan for his unusual wool, and despite the intercession of little farm-gal Fern (Debi Derryberry), who understands barnyard animals' relationships, Cardigan will soon be getting shorn at another location. Determined to locate his buddy, Wilbur recalls the way Charlotte the Spider once saved his life by weaving the words "Some Pig" on her web. Since he's supposed to be special, Wilbur decides it's incumbent on him to do something extraordinary, like keeping Cardigan safe. Wilbur promises to babysit for Templeton the Rat's bratty litter if Templeton (Charlie Adler) will act as a travel guide to the other farm. The late Charlotte's three daughters, Nellie, Joy and Aranea (Amanda Bynes, Nellie Anndi MacAfee, Maria Bamford) join the entourage to keep over-exuberant Wilbur out of trouble. Sure enough, Wilbur falls into the underbrush, and comes out with burrs and prickles on his coat that make him look like a feral pig. Meanwhile, Farley the Fox (Rob Paulsen) has been invading the countryside's chicken coops, but the locals farmers suspect a wild boar of the thefts. Once again, Wilbur looks to the spider kingdom; Nellie, Joy and Aranea weave a way for Wilbur to reveal his true identity and point an accusatory hoof at Farley. If they can't, Wilbur may never see Cardigan again.
This 20-years-later follow-up fails to capture the zest of the original cartoon, transforming E.B. White's beloved characters into cute sidekicks worthy of Barney. The animation is only workmanlike, and the character conceptions are as pallid as the "original" tunes.