Stuart Little (film)

Stuart Little is a 1999 American family CGI animated/live-action comedy film loosely based on the 1945 novel of the same name by E. B. White. Directed by Rob Minkoff in his live-action debut, the screenplay was written by M. Night Shyamalan and Greg Brooker, and stars Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, and Jonathan Lipnicki, alongside the voices of Michael J. Fox, Nathan Lane, Chazz Palminteri, Steve Zahn, Bruno Kirby, and Jennifer Tilly.

Stuart Little
A smiling white mouse standing atop a big sneaker. A blue suitcase sits beside it.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRob Minkoff
Produced byDouglas Wick
Screenplay by
Based onStuart Little
by E. B. White
Starring
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyGuillermo Navarro
Edited byTom Finan
Production
company
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[2]
Release date
  • December 17, 1999 (1999-12-17)
Running time
84 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$105[4]–133 million[5]
Box office$300.1 million[5]

The film was released on December 17, 1999 by Columbia Pictures.[5] It received an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects nomination, losing to The Matrix.[6] The first film in the Stuart Little series, it was followed by a sequel Stuart Little 2 in 2002, the short-lived television series Stuart Little in 2003, and another sequel in 2005, the direct-to-video Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild. It was Estelle Getty's final film before her retirement in 2001 and her death in 2008.

PlotEdit

Eleanor and Frederick Little are intending to adopt a new family member. They go to an orphanage where they meet an anthropomorphic mouse named Stuart. Despite misgivings from Mrs. Keeper, they adopt Stuart as their son and take him home. However, Stuart is greeted coldly by their younger son George, who refuses to acknowledge the mouse as his brother, and the family cat, Snowbell, who is disgusted at having a mouse for a "master". Despite Eleanor and Frederick's intentions, Stuart is treated as an outcast due to his small size. Stuart admits his feelings of loneliness to his adoptive parents, who ask Mrs. Keeper to search for the whereabouts of Stuart's real biological parents.

After accidentally stumbling across George's playroom in the basement, Stuart finally bonds with George when they play together and plan to finish George's remote-controlled racing sailboat, the Wasp, for an upcoming boat race on Conservatory Water in Central Park. However, Monty, Snowbell's alley cat friend, visits unexpectedly and discovers Stuart. Determined not to have his reputation destroyed, Snowbell later goes with Monty to an alley for a meeting with his boss Smokey, who agrees to have Stuart removed from the household at Snowbell's request.

Stuart and George finish the Wasp in time for the race, but on the day of the race, the controller is smashed by accident. To make it up to George, Stuart pilots the Wasp himself, but ends up in a tussle with a larger boat piloted by George's adversary and bully, Anton. Stuart manages to win the race, gaining George's respect. However, during the family celebration, the Littles are visited by a mouse couple, Camille and Reginald Stout, who claim to be Stuart's birth parents who gave him up to the orphanage due to poverty. Reluctantly, Stuart leaves with the Stouts and George gives him his favorite toy car as a farewell gift. A few days later, Mrs. Keeper arrives at their house and reveals the truth to the Littles that Stuart's real birth parents died many years ago in an accident at a supermarket. Realizing that the Stouts are imposters and mistakenly believing them to be kidnappers, the Littles call the police, who start a search operation.

Fearing retribution should the Littles discover his deception, Snowbell talks with Smokey, who had manipulated the Stouts to become Stuart's parents and forced them to fetch Stuart from the Little household in order to have him brought over to the alley cats, but the Stouts, having grown to love Stuart like their own, reveal to him the truth and instruct him to flee before the cats can find him. In Central Park on his way home, Stuart finds himself confronted by Smokey and his gang, who chase him through the park and into a sewer drain, where he manages to outrun them, but loses his car and luggage in the process. Stuart finally returns home, but he unfortunately comes early to find that the Littles are already gone as they are putting up posters of him all over the city. Stuart enters the house where he meets Snowbell, who lies to him that the Littles have been enjoying themselves greatly since Stuart's departure. Feeling unwanted, a heartbroken Stuart leaves.

The Littles return home with no success of finding Stuart. Meanwhile, Smokey, Monty and the other alley cats manage to pinpoint Stuart's location back to Central Park and bring Snowbell along for the hunt. Snowbell, having suddenly redeemed himself since he felt guilty over his selfishness, finds Stuart and rescues him from the cats while admitting to him that he lied. Although Snowbell defeats Monty and the other cats by snapping a tree branch they are standing on which causes them to land in a river, Smokey attempts to kill him, only for Stuart to intervene and save Snowbell by hitting Smokey in the face with another branch, causing Smokey to land in the same river and resulting in him to be chased off by stray dogs.

Stuart and Snowbell eventually return home, where Stuart happily reunites with the Little family, telling them that Snowbell actually helped him on the way back.

CastEdit

Live-action castEdit

Voice castEdit

  • Michael J. Fox as Stuart Little, an anthropomorphic mouse who is adopted as the middle child of the Little family.
  • Nathan Lane as Snowbell, the Little family's cat who dislikes Stuart.
  • Chazz Palminteri as Smokey, a sadistic Russian Blue cat with the personality of a mobster and the leader of a gang of mafia-like alley cats.
  • Steve Zahn as Monty, Snowbell's best friend and a former member of the alley cats.
  • Jim Doughan as Lucky, a Siamese cat and a member of Smokey's gang. Doughan also played Detective Allen in the film.
  • David Alan Grier as Red, a ginger American Shorthair tomcat and a member of Smokey's gang.
  • Bruno Kirby as Reginald Stout, one of Smokey's pawns, Camille's husband and Stuart's fake father.
  • Jennifer Tilly as Camille Stout, one of Smokey's pawns, Reginald's wife and Stuart's fake mother.

Lost painting unknowingly used on setEdit

One of the paintings used as set dressing for the Littles' home was the 1920s painting Sleeping Lady with Black Vase by Hungarian avant garde painter Róbert Berény, which had long been considered a lost painting. A set designer for the film had purchased the painting at an antiques store in Pasadena, California for $500 for use in the film, unaware of its significance. In 2009, art historian Gergely Barki, while watching Stuart Little on television with his daughter, noticed the painting, and after contacting the studios was able to track down its whereabouts.[7] In 2014, its owner sold the painting at an auction for €229,500.[8]

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

Stuart Little was released theatrically on December 17, 1999. On its opening weekend, Stuart Little grossed $15 million, placing it at #1. It dropped to #2 over its second weekend, but went back to #1 on its third weekend with $16 million. According to Box Office Mojo, its final gross in the United States and Canada was $140 million and it grossed $160.1 million at the international box office, for an estimated total of $300 million worldwide.[5]

Critical receptionEdit

According to Rotten Tomatoes, 67% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 97 responses with an average rating of 6.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "Critics say Stuart Little is charming with kids and adults for its humor and visual effects."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 61 out of 100 from 32 reviews, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[10]

Jesus Freak Hideout said that "from start to finish, Stuart Little is a near flawless family film"[11] while Stephen Holden of The New York Times had said "the only element that doesn't completely harmonize with the rest of the film is the visually unremarkable digital figure of Stuart."[12]

Home mediaEdit

Stuart Little was released to VHS and DVD on April 18, 2000,[13] and in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2000. It was later re-released on a Deluxe Edition on May 21, 2002, and on Blu-ray on June 28, 2011.

SoundtrackEdit

The soundtrack album Stuart Little (Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture) was released by Motown and Universal Records on November 30, 1999, on audio CD and audio cassette. Tracks in bold do not appear in the film.

  1. I Need to Know – R Angels (3:54)
  2. The Two of Us – S Club 7 (3:35)
  3. You're Where I BelongTrisha Yearwood (4:17)
  4. If You Can't Rock Me – The Brian Setzer Orchestra (2:40)
  5. 1+1=2 – Lou Bega (4:04)
  6. He Rules – 702 (3:04)
  7. Home – Brian McKnight (4:22)
  8. Walking Tall – Lyle Lovett (3:16)
  9. Lucky Day – Matt Goss (4:03)
  10. Mouse in the House – Colby O'Donis (4:34)
  11. The Boat Race – Alan Silvestri (5:12)
  12. I'm Gonna Miss You – Alan Silvestri (4:43)
  13. You're Where I Belong (Soul Solution Remix) – Trisha Yearwood (4:04)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Stuart Little". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  2. ^ "Stuart Little". AllMovie. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  3. ^ "Stuart Little". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  4. ^ "Stuart Little (1999) – Financial Information". the-numbers.com. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "Stuart Little (1999)". Box Office Mojo. April 16, 2000. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "The 72nd Academy Awards". Academy Awards. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "Stuart Little leads art historian to long-lost Hungarian masterpiece". The Guardian. Budapest: Guardian Media Group. Agence France-Presse. November 27, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  8. ^ Laura Westbrook (December 14, 2014). "Lost painting auctioned after discovery in Stuart Little film". BBC News. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  9. ^ "Stuart Little". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  10. ^ "Stuart Little". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  11. ^ "Stuart Little". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  12. ^ Stephen Holden (December 17, 1999). "Film Review – Extra! Sly Cat Upstages Stuart Little!". The New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  13. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (March 4, 2000). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. – via Google Books.

External linksEdit