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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 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 million[4] - $133 million[5]
Box office$300.1 million[5]

Stuart Little is a 1999 American family comedy film loosely based on the 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 and Nathan Lane. 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.[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.

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 their relatives bring Stuart large presents and George snaps at his family, claiming 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. Smokey Plans to have Stuart removed from the household.

Stuart and George finish the Wasp in time for the race, but on the day of the race, the controller 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 wiped out the other boats. Stuart snaps the wires of Anton's boat and wins the race, finally winning George's respect. During the family celebration, 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 a toy car as a farewell gift. A few days later, however, Mrs. Keeper arrives to tell the Littles that Stuart's parents actually died years ago in a supermarket accident, prompting them to call the police believing he was kidnapped.

Meanwhile, Snowbell meets with Smokey and the alley cats, who reveal that 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. But the Stouts, having grown to love Stuart like their own, tell him the truth and instruct him to escape. Furious, Smokey orders a manhunt for Stuart, with the other cats (minus Snowbell and Monty) cornering him in Central Park and causing a chase. Despite losing his car and almost falling down a storm drain, Stuart manages to evade Smokey's gang and return home, despite the Littles having put up posters of him all over the city. The only one present is Snowbell, who lies that the Littles have been enjoying themselves greatly since Stuart's departure, and uses his removed face from the family photograph as proof (which was actually used for the posters). Heartbroken, Stuart leaves the house again.

When the Littles return home with no success of finding Stuart, Snowbell begins to realize his selfishness and starts to feel incredibly guilty for everything he's done. Later, Smokey, Monty and the other alley cats pinpoint Stuart's location back to Central Park and bring Snowbell along for the hunt. Snowbell finds Stuart in an empty bird's nest and saves him from the cats, confessing that the Littles truly do love him. Smokey, Monty and the other cats eventually catch up and corner Stuart on a branch. Before the cats can catch him, Snowbell breaks the branch they are standing on, sending them (Monty included) falling into the river below. Smokey then tries to ambush Snowbell from behind, but Stuart hits him off the tree with another branch. Smokey then leaves angrily, but is chased off by stray dogs as Stuart and Snowbell return home and reunite 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.[7] In 2014, its owner sold the painting at an auction for €229,500.[8]

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.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Stuart Little received generally positive reviews from movie critics. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 67% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 96 responses 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."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 61 out of 100, 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 that "the only element that doesn't completely harmonize with the rest of the film is the visually unremarkable digital figure of Stuart."[12]

Home media[edit]

Stuart Little was released to VHS and DVD on April 18, 2000. It was later re-released on a Deluxe Edition on May 21, 2002, and was released 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)

References[edit]

  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 November 20, 2018.
  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.

External links[edit]