Happy Thowback Thursday! In line with this tradition, cineramaetcetera is starting its very own tradition of reviewing old movies from the 50s to the 90s before this site went online in 2010. This week, I’m reviewing the adorable 1999 kids’ movie Stuart Little.
Before Hugh Laurie became television’s eccentric Doctor House, and on the same year M. Night Shyamalan made it big with The Sixth Sense, these two bigshots worked on this movie about a couple who adopts a little mouse to become their son.
Based on the children’s book written by E.B. White, a little white mouse named Stuart (voices by Michael J. Fox) is adopted by the Littles — Eleanor (Geena Davis) and Fredrick (Laurie) to become a brother to their son George (Jonathan Lipnicki, Herry Maguire). But George doesn’t immediately embrace the idea of having a mouse for a brother. Neither does the family cat Snowbell (Nathan Lane) take well to the idea of having a mouse for a master. But family is family and despite the rough start, the Littles are a pretty tightly knit bunch. The movie revolves around Stuart’s adventures as he tries to fit into the household and earn the affection of both his new brother and their feline house pet.
I am not a big fan of mice. But for this, Stuart is a major exception. From the first moment he appeared on screen to talk to the Little couple, I totally rooted for him. This, I attribute to the simplicity and depth of the message that the dialogue carried (kudos to scriptwriters EB White, M. Night Shyamalan and Greg Brooker), as well as Michael J. Fox’s excellent dubbing for Stuart. His acting chops totally transcended the fact that he had absolutely no screen time throughout the entire movie. He made Stuart come alive with his voice acting and this complemented each nuance, each action that the animated mouse made, helping audiences connect to character even if he is of another species.
Unlike most movies today, Stuart Little isn’t all about the razzle dazzle of cool CGI effects. Rather, it relied on the universal message of the essence of family, all presented in sequences of entertaining challenges that the furry hero has to go through to survive a normal human environment (and stay one step ahead of the feline community chomping at the bit to have him for lunch).
I must admit that Stuart Little carried a basic but effective message in a fantastic fictional setting but the way it was laid out made audiences want to become part of the Little family too, with their unconditional acceptance of Fredrick and Eleanor’s decision to adopt a mouse, their blind affection for the new addition to the family. It was just so heartwarming a scene. While it is a children’s movie, it speaks of acceptance and this is something that everybody can learn from, especially during this age of bullying.
All in all, this is a keeper, this movie. One of my favorites from when I was a teenager, and probably one that I will share with my future kids, nieces, nephews, and friends’ offspring. Its a movie where kids can learn something, and adults can enjoy while reliving these values in their own lives. Its a film that is equal parts touching and hilarious. It’s awesome. And if you still can’t tell, I love this flick. Little Hi, Little Ho!