Film: Stuart Little

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Film:

Stuart Little

Director: Rob Minkoff
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Sony Pictures

This live-action version of E.B. White’s novel doesn’t have quite the magic of, say, Toy Story. Instead of entertainment the whole family can be enthralled with, Stuart Little is squarely aimed, and successfully so, at the 4- to 10-year-old watcher. Does this make it a bad family film? Not in the slightest. The gee-whiz visual effects (created by original Star Wars wizard John Dykstra) and the film’s ebullient wholesomeness make this a welcome addition to the home library.

In E.B. White’s world, it’s hardly surprising that human parents…

Reviews

Amazon.com

This live-action version of E.B. White’s novel doesn’t have quite the magic of, say, Toy Story. Instead of entertainment the whole family can be enthralled with, Stuart Little is squarely aimed, and successfully so, at the 4- to 10-year-old watcher. Does this make it a bad family film? Not in the slightest. The gee-whiz visual effects (created by original Star Wars wizard John Dykstra) and the film’s ebullient wholesomeness make this a welcome addition to the home library.

In E.B. White’s world, it’s hardly surprising that human parents would adopt “outside their species.” The smooth-talking mouse Stuart (voiced by Michael J. Fox) seems the perfect new child for parents Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie, especially with an adorable wardrobe of very small sweaters and pants. Harder is fitting in with the Little’s family cat, Snowbell (voiced by Nathan Lane, who also deftly voiced Timon in director Rob Minkoff’s last feature, The Lion King). The simple story deals with Stuart trying to fit in with his new life, including big brother George (Jerry Maguire’s scene-stealing Jonathan Lipnicki). And of course there’s an adventure when Snowbell’s schemes lead Stuart into true danger, in the form of the devious plans of an alley cat named Smokey (voiced by Chazz Palminteri). Brisk—85 minutes—amusing, and tolerably cute, Stuart Little stands tall. Two curios: The effects are so cleanly done that we could call Stuart the first successfully computer-animated actor, and the screenplay was cowritten by M. Night Shyamalan, who made bigger waves in 1999 writing and directing The Sixth Sense. —Doug Thomas

Barnes and Noble

You will believe a mouse can talk. Oh, and pilot a toy sailboat, among other anthropomorphic feats. Directed by Ron Minkoff (codirector of Disney’s The Lion King) and coadapted for the screen by Oscar nominee M. Night Shyamalan ( The Sixth Sense), this delightful film combines live action with state-of-the-art, Oscar-nominated visual effects. The story comes from E. B. White’s beloved book: Hugh Laurie and Oscar-winner Geena Davis star as Mr. and Mrs. Little, who set out to adopt a baby brother for their son George (Jonathan Lipnicki of Jerry Maguire) but instead return home with a mouse (ingratiatingly voiced by Michael J. Fox). The fuzzy white rodent, whom they name Stuart, is not a hit at home. “He’s only a mouse,” George grouses. The house cat, Snowball (Nathan Lane, perfectly catty), is even nastier, especially after Mr. Little admonishes, “We do not eat family members.” Shamed by his status as a cat with a mouse master, he goes on the offensive. A few climactic scenes of peril and some mild profanity (Snowball to Stuart: “Talk to the butt!”) earned Stuart Little its PG rating. But the family themes explored here are heartfelt and thought-provoking, especially for children with new siblings. Donald Liebenson

Related Works

Book:Stuart Little

Stuart Little

E.B. White

Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure.

Stuart’s greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?

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