NOSTALGIA LANE MOVIE REVIEW: “Stuart Little” stars Geena Davis (Beetlejuice, Thelma & Louise), Hugh Laurie (House [TV series], Tomorrowland), and Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire, The Little Vampire), with voice work from Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future, Family Ties [TV series]), Nathan Lane (The Lion King, The Birdcage), Chazz Palminteri (The Usual Suspects, A Bronx Tale), Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club, Sahara), Bruno Kirby (The Godfather: Part II, Donnie Brasco), and Jennifer Tilly (Monsters Inc., Liar Liar). It is directed by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Mr. Peabody & Sherman), while the screenplay is written by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs) and Greg Brooker. Based on the book by E.B. White, this film tells the story of two parents adopting a mouse named Stuart (Fox), regardless of his size and species. Stuart will have to overcome many obstacles in his new home, including his new brother George (Lipnicki) and the family cat Snowbell (Lane).
Take a moment to soak this in: M. Night Shyamalan co-wrote the screenplay for “Stuart Little.” What!? How come I did not know this? I gotta tell you, when his name came up in the opening credits it caught me off guard (on a side note, I also realized that I’m now reading the opening credits to films). Why he would pen this, I don’t know; he’s a man of many surprises. Maybe he loved the children books or wanted to dive into a family-friendly affair. This surely did have that sugary, kiddy feel. So much so that in order to watch it you have to see it as a kid. That’s not to say that this isn’t for adults. All you really need to do is look at this as if you were a kid in order to understand and appreciate it fully. Otherwise, you’ll begin questioning a lot of things. One question in particular is how the heck a talking mouse wouldn’t scare the heck out of the parents. They walk into an orphanage looking for a brother for George, only to leave with a mouse named Stuart because he was either calmer than the other kids or they pitied him for being there that long. The whole talking mouse thing was rather hard to swallow being as how the other animals in this world don’t speak English. You could say the cats do, but they aren’t heard by the humans. That’s either because they hide it or the “Rugrats” card is thrown into play where only other animals understand them. Whatever it is, this concept was a bit jarring, causing me to resort to my old ways of thinking. As a younger kid this didn’t phase me at all. A talking mouse made sense as long as everyone in the movie was cool with it; the child’s brain is a funny thing to learn. E.B. White always had a way of writing towards a kid’s innocence, and that’s what comes into play here. It’s a story of an orphan wanting a home of love, though receiving it proves hard in being accepted by everyone. The mouse card is constantly referenced, even though it’s more of a “he’s not a human” rather than “he’s a freaking talking mouse!” The tone reminded me of “Winnie the Pooh” stories, and I liked that. Performances displayed were good for what dialogue they were given, and they acted according to the kid watching the screen; in a calm, loving persona. Well, except George and Snowbell, who were supposed to provide conflict throughout the feature. I thought it was a nice little flick, filled with some jokes I laughed at as well as a big heart. The musical score in this, while repetitive, was catchy and genius, all thanks to the wonderful Alan Silvestri. Also, I liked the direction and cinematography that fleshed out the plot. It was a visually beautiful movie as a whole. When it came to the CGI of Stuart and any other computer generated animal, it was give-or-take. For the most part, it held up for being made in 1999. Of course, we’ve come far since then, but there is plenty to respect in this for being what it is. I guess what it comes down to when critiquing this film is how it holds up in my older age. Adults will most likely not have as much fun with this as their kids do. It’s predictable and has a few plot holes, including Stuart’s use of an RC car and boat without the remote control. Heck, his whole lifestyle is hard to figure out (like the small, operational sink that was fitted for him). But like I said, you have to leave these logical conceptions at the door to further enjoy. It’s a charming story with a lot of heart, and that’s its purpose in the end. For what it’s worth, “Stuart Little” is a nice, harmless movie to show kids, and it took me back in watching it. If that’s what the writers were shooting for, then consider it a job well done. FINAL SCORE: 76%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: