What was your favorite part of Charlotte’s Web? Was it the alien invasion? Or the French wasp? Or the snake on the cell phone? You don’t recall any of that from the beloved E.B. White tale? Well, I suggest you march over to Amazon and order your copy of Spark Plug Entertainment’s take on the time-honored classic titled Spider’s Web.

Yes, if you ever thought to yourself, I wish Charlotte had a sassy black voice or a Scottish/Jamaican accent, then consider Spider’s Web wish fulfillment.

For the uninitiated, Spark Plug Entertainment is essentially The Asylum of animation. Where Asylum would rush a dime-store knock-off of the latest blockbuster (The Da Vinci Treasure, When A Killer Calls, Transmorphers, Atlantic Rim), Spark Plug specialized in on-the-cheap takes of the latest Disney-Pixar ventures. If Asylum created “The Mockbuster,” Spark Plug is responsible for “Crap-animation.”

Spark Plug is one of several on-the-cheap animation studios, such as Brinquedo and Dingo, who enjoy riding the wake of more successful animated films, but cut corners in areas such as budget, sound, voice acting, storytelling, marketing, and skill in just about every aspect of filmmaking.

Spider’s Web released close to the same time the live-action Charlotte’s Web was spun onto the big screen, but the barnyard setting notwithstanding, there is not a whiff of the classic novel on which it is based. Instead, we are treated to a questionable morality tale that would leave the Brothers Grimm scratching their heads.

Our porcine protagonist here is Walter (voice by… Corinne Orr, who actually gave voice to the original Speed Racer’s Trixie back in the day). He is joined by pairs of other crudely animated animals (another pig, pairs of horses, spiders, and some duck-like creatures) in some overtly Christian-like sunrise worship ceremony straight out of Veggie Tales, in which they must all profess what they are thankful for.

This soon segues into a heart-to-heart between Walter and a wasp who confesses a stinger dysfunction syndrome of sorts, stating he cannot pollinate. The ever-conscientious Walter tells him to just brag that he can when no one is watching (the insect equivalent of claiming you’re not a virgin, I suppose) before the prick-of-a-horse named Mr. Wigglesworth interrupts with an anti-insect rant.

Walter gets an opportunity to demonstrate how easy lying comes to him by telling his mother that he did not eat the cherry pie she baked (yup, despite being barnyard animals, they apparently have access to a kitchen and can display culinary prowess). Walter spins a tale of aliens blowing it up until one of those stupid spiders ruins his ruse and calls him out on his BS… or is it PS?

From there, we get more crudely constructed scenes in which a cell-phone- wielding snake arrives to further the apparent half-hearted allegorical allusions, and virtually and exact earlier scene using different dialogue.

From there, it devolves into further insanity that leaves logic, reason and entertainment value far in the distance. It’s as though the makers had some stock footage of animated objects (a TV that inexplicably comes to life? A slug thingy? A game show in which contestants are paddled like some S&M enthusiasts?) and decided to dust them off and throw them in the film. Trust me, those who lived through the early years of Microsoft Word and can recall that annoying little Paper Clip fella that would ask to help you all the time can understand the level of animated complexity at work here.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of stereotypes to take your mind of the wretched imagery on display. Apparently the filmmakers loathe the French, blacks, teens girls, animals, animation and generally life itself. The film was written and produced by Michael Schelp, who has made a career of, pardon the pun, “piggybacking” on other films (can you guess which films “A Car’s Life,” “Bug Bites,” “Plan Bee” and “Piper Penguin” each cashed in on?).

Spider’s Web though, in notable not only for its remora-like ability to feed off bigger films, but for its lack of concern in every single area of its production. It’s student-film quality not only is a disservice to its youth-aimed audience, it seems to actively dislike them. Just listen to the trailer and see what little enthusiasm the announcer could muster for just two minutes (I’m not positive, but I think I heard him snoring at the end).

Regardless of your take on pork, this is one animated bacon bit that should have never passed inspection.

Article by Lead Entertainment Writer & Film Critic, Rob Rector