Composed By: Danny Elfman
Produced By: Sony BMG Masterworks
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Just before Christmas, I started seeing advertisements for a live action Charlotte’s Web movie. I remember thinking fondly of the book by E.B. White that I had read as a child about a pig named Wilbur, the naïve runt of a litter of pigs. Wilbur was happy on the farm with all of his newfound friends until he realizes that his happiness is not permanent. Wilbur soon learns the harsh reality of farm life – that the life expectancy of a spring pig is a short one and that he will soon find himself gracing someone’s dinner table. With the help of the other animals on the farm, and an incredibly artistic spider, Wilbur hopes to escape the chopping block and become the beloved pet of the family, a prize pig never to be slaughtered.
Thinking back to the animated movie based on the book and wondered just how a live action version of the adorable tale could be pulled off. But, through the use of Hollywood magic…and some pretty cool effects, the story of Charlotte’s Web is fast becoming a favorite for a new generation of children. The movie cast is made up of incredibly talented actors and actresses: Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Robert Redford, John Cleese, and more. Having signed such a talented cast for the film, one would expect the film producers to choose an equally talented composer to create the soundtrack for Charlotte’s Web. That composer is Danny Elfman.
Danny Elfman has been composing and performing since the age of eighteen. The award winning composer has created musical scores for such well-known films as Big Fish, Good Will Hunting, Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Mars Attacks! and more and has a concert album – Serenada Schizophrana - under his belt as well. Elfman’s composition for Charlotte’s Web is nothing short of genius. The score is such that one can actually picture the scenes for which they are written. The Main Title portrays the light an airy, carefree life of a newborn pig born in the country. The Plan Begins perfectly illustrates the gracefulness of Charlotte the spider as she formulates and acts upon her plan to save Wilbur. The hopefulness injected in the music represents the hope spawned by the web Charlotte has begun to spin. In The Dump, one can actually picture Templeton the rat scurrying through the dump in search of scraps of paper for Charlotte’s next creation. The track, Farewell to Charlotte is appropriately somber as Wilbur says a tearful goodbye to his friend and savior.
Also found on the soundtrack of Charlotte’s Web is an original song written by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard and performed by Sarah McLachlan. Dave Stewart is known for his work with such notable artists as Annie Lennox and Bob Dylan. Glen Ballard, a veteran songwriter and record producer, is best known for having produced Alanis Morissette’s landmark album Jagged Little Pill. Their song, Ordinary Miracles, reminds us of the everyday occurrences in nature that we take for granted – the ordinary miracles. Sarah McLachlan, as always, performs the song beautifully.
At $16.00 U.S., the Charlotte’s Web Soundtrack is an excellent deal. Danny Elfman’s composition of the musical score is perfect. The music paints a picture that perfectly relates the tale of the movie. The original song by Sarah Mclachlan is beautifully composed and performed. All in all, the soundtrack is an excellent addition to any music lover’s collection.