|STUART LITTLE (1999)|
Michael J. Fox
|"Mr. and Mrs. Little, we try to discourage couples from adopting outside of their own... species. It rarely works out."|
|Time: 84 mins.|
Official Web Site
Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.
Not being a child or a parent, I don't usually rush out to see family movies. In fact, it's quite rare that I actually see one, since, most of the time, I find the stories overly sentimental and the humor extremely juvenile. I heard good things about STUART LITTLE, so when I had the chance to watch the film on DVD I decided to give it a try. I was looking for a little light entertainment and for the money (I saw it for free), it was much better than I expected. I've known about the story from my own childhood, but I never did read it. I'm sure the filmmakers took license with the original, however, they managed to create something I think most people will be just as enchanted by. At least I was. Stuart, voiced wonderfully by Michael J. Fox, is an endearing character who's just looking for a family to be part of, which he finds with the Littles. It's a fairy tale with a modern sensibility. A feel good movie that you and your children will enjoy.
The Littles played by Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie and Jonathan Lipnicki begin the film in a search for another child, a brother for George. When they come home with Stuart, a mouse, George isn't entirely pleased. He wanted someone he could romp around with, not a sibling he could crush with one misstep. However, Stuart is thrilled. He's never had a home and the Littles' seem to be the perfect parents. The villain in this piece is Snowball, the family cat voice by Nathan Lane. How will it look to his friends if they find out he's the pet of a mouse. He convinces his friend Monty to help him get rid of Stuart. When Stuart's "real" parents, the Stouts, miraculously arrive on the Littles' doorstep, they are devastated at the thought of losing Stuart.
Though they don't want to lose him, everyone believes his life would be better with his own kind. Even George is sad to see his brother go. However, Stuart soon discovers that the Stouts aren't his real parents and attempts to find his way home. Meanwhile, the Littles make the same discovery and launch an all out search to find him. Craziness ensues as Stuart crosses Central Park while being chased by an angry band of alley cats just dying to make him dinner. He manages to narrowly escape their clutches with the help of his betrayer. In the end, Stuart's fairy tale comes true after all.
In the case of Stuart, the CGI makes the mouse. It's absolutely flawless and incredibly believable. Of course, a huge part of that is the performances of the actors. It can't be easy playing to a puppet or in some cases nothing at all. That is why they get paid the big bucks, but still, they do a wonderful job. If you don't believe that they see and accept this talking mouse as a normal character, the whole movie would be shot. The scenes with Lipnicki and the mouse are hysterical. You can't help but be amazed at this kid's talent. Fox does a great job as well, giving his voice an earnest, trusting, lovable quality that really gives the character life. This may not be the deepest film on the planet, but it has a lot of heart and some great laughs. If you have the chance to see it, it's definitely worth the time.