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Stuart Little (film)

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Stuart Little
A smiling white mouse standing atop a big sneaker. A blue suitcase sits beside it.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rob Minkoff
Produced by Douglas Wick
Screenplay by
Based on Stuart Little
by E. B. White
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Guillermo Navarro
Edited by Tom Finan
Production
companies
  • Franklin/Waterman Productions
  • Global Medien GK
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • December 17, 1999 (1999-12-17)
Running time
84 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $105 million[2] - $133 million[3]
Box office $300.1 million[3]

Stuart Little is a 1999 American live-action / computer animated family film directed by Rob Minkoff. It is loosely based on the novel 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.

The film was released on December 17, 1999, by Columbia Pictures.[3] It received an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects nomination, but lost to The Matrix.[4] 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 Minkoff's first live-action film and Estelle Getty's final film before her retirement in 2001 and her death in 2008.

Plot[edit]

Eleanor and Frederick Little and their young son George are intending to adopt. While George is at school, his parents go to an orphanage where they meet an anthropomorphic teenage mouse named Stuart. Despite misgivings from Mrs. Keeper, they adopt Stuart and take him home. However, Stuart is greeted coldly by 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 quickly feels like an outsider in the large Little family, especially when the family's unknowing relatives bring Stuart large presents and George snaps at his family, claiming out loud that Stuart is not his brother. When Stuart admits his feelings of loneliness to his parents, they ask Mrs. Keeper to do some background research on Stuart's biological family.

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 boat, the Wasp, for an upcoming boat race in Central Park. At the same time, however, one of Snowbell's alley cat friends, Monty, visits unexpectedly and discovers Stuart. Determined not to have his reputation destroyed, Snowbell meets with Monty's leader, Smokey, a mafia don-like Russian Blue, and plots revenge to have Stuart removed from the household without harming him.

Stuart and George finish the Wasp in time for the race, but on the day of the race, the control is smashed when a bystander accidentally steps on it. Stuart pilots the Wasp himself, but ends up in a tussle with a larger boat belonging to George's rival, Anton, who has already smashed the rest of the boats without being disqualified. Stuart snaps the wires of Anton's boat and manages to win the race, at the same time finally winning George's acceptance and respect. During the family celebration, however, the Littles are visited by a mouse couple, Reginald and Camille Stout, who claim to be Stuart's parents who gave him up to the orphanage years ago due to poverty. Reluctantly, Stuart leaves with the Stouts, George presenting him with his toy car as a farewell gift. A few days later, however, 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 and stick posters of Stuart's face across the city.

Meanwhile, Snowbell meets with Smokey and the alley cats: he had actually conspired with them to have the Stouts 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. But the Stouts, having grown to love Stuart like their own, tell him to flee. Smokey subsequently orders a manhunt for Stuart. They corner him in Central Park and a chase ensues. Despite losing his car and almost falling down a storm drain, Stuart manages to evade Smokey and return home, unfortunately, while the Littles are out putting posters up. The only one present is Snowbell, who lies that the Littles have been enjoying themselves greatly since Stuart's departure, and uses Stuart's removed face from the family photograph as proof (which they had actually used for the posters). Heartbroken, Stuart leaves again, but Snowbell begins to question his actions when he sees the pain the Littles are going through.

The alley cats locate Stuart and bring Snowbell for the hunt. Snowbell finds Stuart in an empty bird's nest and saves him from the cats, but they catch up and eventually corner Stuart hanging on a branch. The cats almost catch him, but Snowbell breaks the branch they are standing on, sending them falling into the river below. Smokey ambushes Snowbell from behind, but Stuart hits him off the tree with another branch. All but defeated, Smokey leaves angrily, but is chased off by stray dogs.

Stuart and Snowbell return home and share a happy reunion with the Little family.

Cast[edit]

Live action cast[edit]

Voice cast[edit]

Lost painting unknowingly used on set[edit]

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.[5] In 2014, its owner sold the painting at an auction for €229,500.[6]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

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.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Stuart Little received generally positive reviews from movie critics. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 66% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 97 responses (64 fresh and 33 rotten) with an average rating of 6.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "Stuart Little is charming with kids and adults for its humor and visual effects."[7] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 61 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[8]

Jesus Freak Hideout said that "from start to finish, Stuart Little is a near flawless family film"[9] while Stephen Holden of The New York Times had said that "the only element that doesn't completely harmonize with the rest of the film is the visually unremarkable digital figure of Stuart."[10]

Home media[edit]

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.

Soundtrack[edit]

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 Belong – Trisha Yearwood (4:17)
  4. 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)
  14. That's Amore - Dean Martin (3:08)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stuart Little". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved May 28, 2018. 
  2. ^ "Stuart Little (1999) - Financial Information". the-numbers.com. Retrieved May 28, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Stuart Little (1999)". Box Office Mojo. April 16, 2000. Retrieved May 28, 2018. 
  4. ^ "The 72nd Academy Awards". Academy Awards. Retrieved May 28, 2018. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ Laura Westbrook (December 14, 2014). "Lost painting auctioned after discovery in Stuart Little film". BBC News. Retrieved May 28, 2018. 
  7. ^ "Stuart Little". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 28, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Stuart Little". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 28, 2018. 
  9. ^ "Stuart Little". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved May 28, 2018. 
  10. ^ Stephen Holden (December 17, 1999). "Film Review – Extra! Sly Cat Upstages Stuart Little!". The New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2018. 

External links[edit]