Stuart Little (film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rob Minkoff|
|Produced by||Douglas Wick|
|Based on||Stuart Little
by E. B. White
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Edited by||Tom Finan|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Budget||$105 million - $133 million|
|Box office||$300.1 million|
Stuart Little is a 1999 American live-action/CGI animated family film directed by Rob Minkoff. It is loosely based on the novel of the same name by E. B. White. It combines live action and computer animation. The screenplay was written by M. Night Shyamalan and Greg Brooker. The plot bears little resemblance to that of the book, as only some of the characters and one or two minor plot elements are the same. The film's sequel more closely resembles the original novel.
In this, Minkoff's first live-action film, Michael J. Fox is the voice of Stuart Little. Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie star as Eleanor and Frederick Little, with Jonathan Lipnicki as Stuart's big brother George and Nathan Lane as the voice of the family cat Snowbell.
The film was released on December 17, 1999, by Columbia Pictures. It received an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects nomination, but lost to The Matrix. The film, the first in the film series, spawned a sequel in 2002, Stuart Little 2, the short-lived television series Stuart Little: The Animated Series 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.
Eleanor Little (Geena Davis) and Frederick Little (Hugh Laurie) go to an orphanage to adopt a younger brother for their son George (Jonathan Lipnicki). At the orphanage, they meet and fall in love with an anthropomorphic mouse named Stuart (voiced by Michael J. Fox). Despite discouragement from Mrs. Keeper (Julia Sweeney), they adopt Stuart and take him home. However, Stuart is poorly received by George, who refuses to acknowledge the mouse as his brother, and the family cat Snowbell (Nathan Lane), who is against the idea of having a mouse for a "master".
Stuart's new life at the house gets off to a bad start when George unknowingly traps him in a pile of laundry and his mother puts the laundry in the washing machine. Stuart quickly feels ostracised in the large Little family, especially when George declares Stuart is not his brother, but simply a mouse. When Stuart tells his parents that he is lonely, they ask Mrs. Keeper to do some background research on Stuart's biological family. After accidentally stumbling across George's playroom in the basement one day, Stuart and George get to know each other and plan to finish George's remote-controlled boat, the Wasp, for an upcoming boat race in Central Park. At the same time, one of Snowbell's alley cat friends, Monty (Steve Zahn), visits unexpectedly and discovers Stuart. Determined not to have his reputation ruined, Snowbell meets with Monty's leader, Smokey (Chazz Palminteri), a mafia don-like alley cat, and plots to remove Stuart from the household without harming him.
Stuart and George finish the Wasp in time, but when the controller gets broken on the day of the race, Stuart pilots the Wasp himself. He ends up entangled with a larger boat belonging to George's rival, Anton (Miles Marsico) who always cheats by crashing other competitors boats, but Stuart snaps the wires of Anton's boat, making it inoperable, and manages to win the race. After this, George feels more comfortable with Stuart and calls him "his brother". During the family celebration, however, the Littles are visited by a mouse couple, Reginald and Camille Stout (Bruno Kirby and Jennifer Tilly), who claim to be Stuart's parents and that they gave him up for adoption years ago due to poverty. Somberly, Stuart leaves with the Stouts. Three days later, Mrs. Keeper comes to visit and tells the Littles that Stuart's parents actually died many years ago in a supermarket accident. Realizing their son has been kidnapped, the Littles call the police, who start a search operation.
That night, Snowbell meets with Smokey and the alley cats, who reveal they had forced the Stouts to pose as Stuart's parents in order to remove Stuart from the household. Fearing retribution should the Littles discover Snowbell's deception, Smokey orders the Stouts to hand Stuart over to them. However, the Stouts, having bonded with Stuart, tell him the truth and instruct him to escape. Smokey subsequently orders a mouse hunt for Stuart. He and the alley cats confront him in Central Park, and chase him into a sewer drain, but he manages to outrun them, losing his roadster and suitcase in the process. He returns home, but finds the Littles absent, going out to put up posters of him. The only one present is Snowbell, who lies that the Littles have been enjoying themselves since Stuart's departure and uses Stuart's removed face from the family photograph as proof (which they had actually used for the posters). Stuart sadly leaves again.
When the Littles return with no success of finding Stuart, Snowbell starts to recognize his selfishness and feels saddened for what he has done. The cats pinpoint Stuart's location in Central Park and bring Snowbell along for the hunt. However, he finds Stuart thoughtfully sitting in a bird's nest in a tree and decides to save him from the cats, admitting that he lied and the Littles do love him. Snowbell then tries to reason with Smokey to leave Stuart alone, but Smokey refuses to listen and demands his gang to kill both Stuart and Snowbell. Stuart lures the cats away, but is left hanging from a tree branch. Monty and the cats group together on a lower branch to catch Stuart, but Snowbell breaks the branch they are standing on, sending them falling down into the river below. Smokey, seeking revenge, sneaks up from behind Snowbell and is about to kill Snowbell, but Stuart releases a thin branch that hits Smokey in the face, and sends him falling into the water below. Devastated, Smokey runs off, only to encounter a pack of vicious dogs. Stuart rides Snowbell all the way home and they share a happy reunion with the Little family when they arrive to find Stuart safely back home.
- Michael J. Fox as Stuart Little
- Geena Davis as Eleanor Little
- Hugh Laurie as Frederick Little
- Jonathan Lipnicki as George Little
- Nathan Lane as Snowbell
- Chazz Palminteri as Smokey
- Steve Zahn as Monty
- Jim Doughan as Officer Allen and Lucky
- David Alan Grier as Red
- Bruno Kirby as Reginald Stout
- Jennifer Tilly as Camille Stout
- Stan Freberg as Race Announcer
- Jeffrey Jones as Uncle Crenshaw
- Connie Ray as Aunt Tina
- Allyce Beasley as Aunt Beatrice
- Brian Doyle-Murray as Cousin Edgar
- Estelle Getty as Grandma Estelle
- Harold Gould as Grandpa Spencer
- Patrick Thomas O'Brien as Uncle Stretch
- Julia Sweeney as Mrs. Keeper
- Dabney Coleman as Dr. Beechwood
- Miles Marsico as Anton
- Jon Polito as Officer Sherman
- Joe Bays as Race Starter
- Taylor Negron as Salesman
One of the paintings used as a prop 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 provenance. 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. In 2014, its owner sold the painting at an auction for €229,500.
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.
Stuart Little received generally positive reviews from movie critics. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 66% of critics gave the film a positive review. The site's consensus reads: "Stuart Little is charming with kids and adults for its humor and visual effects." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 61 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.
The film was released to VHS and DVD on April 18, 2000. It was later released on a Deluxe edition on May 21, 2002 and on Blu-Ray Disc on June 28, 2011.
The soundtrack album Stuart Little (Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture) was released by Motown/Universal Records on November 30, 1999, on audio CD and compact cassette. Tracks in bold do not appear in the film.
- I Need to Know – R Angels (3:54)
- The Two of Us – S Club 7 (3:35)
- You're Where I Belong – Trisha Yearwood (4:17)
- You Can't Rock Me – The Brian Setzer Orchestra (2:40)
- 1+1=2 – Lou Bega (4:04)
- He Rules – 702 (3:04)
- Home – Brian McKnight (4:22)
- Walking Tall – Lyle Lovett (3:16)
- Lucky Day – Matt Goss (4:03)
- Mouse in the House – Colby O'Donis (4:34)
- The Boat Race – Alan Silvestri (5:12)
- I'm Gonna Miss You – Alan Silvestri (4:43)
- You're Where I Belong (Soul Solution Remix) – Trisha Yearwood (4:04)
- "Stuart Little". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
- "Stuart Little (1999) - Financial Information". the-numbers.com. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Stuart Little (1999)". Box Office Mojo. 2000-04-16. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- "Stuart Little leads art historian to long-lost Hungarian masterpiece". Guardian. Agence France-Presse in Budapest. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- Westbrook, Laura (14 December 2014). "Lost painting auctioned after discovery in Stuart Little film". BBC News.
- "Stuart Little". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- "Stuart Little". metacritic.com. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
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