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IN SHORT: Delightful. [Rated G, 85 minutes]
As always, no comparison is made to the Source Material which, if you're still breathing, you've either read or had read to you as a child.
Frankly, and I'm bending the rules a bit, the original story by E.B. White is so darn good, that it'd be hard to screw it up. Which means, in these minutes approaching the triple zero year, the effects work turning his mouse character into a living, breathing being had better be darned good, or you've lost the game before the first ball is thrown. Or cheese is sliced, in this case. John Dykstra supervised the visual effects which, to those who know the name, means a lot. To those that don't know it means the effects, by Henry Anderson and Jerome Chen and their respective teams, are so top notch and so well integrated that, once you get through the whole flick, you'll feel kidlet-like again. Unless, of course, you're still a kidlet . . .
Cross-town from where Cranky lives in Manhattan is an all too spacious brownstone belonging the the Little family. There's bow-tie wearing Mr. Little (Hugh Laurie) -- wearing bow-ties seems to be a tradition in the family, the All-American loving and devoted wife Mrs. Little (Geena Davis) and their 9-year old son George (Jonathan Lipnicki). As the film begins, Mr. and Mrs. are off to the local orphanage to pick out a new brother for George. "A little brother," says their boy, "not a big one!"
Remember the old expression "Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it"? George gets it in a furry little three inch high package. A well-dressed, well-spoken, and totally polite little mouse named Stuart (voiced by Michael J. Fox). "We advise clients to adopt within their own species," says Mrs. Keeper (Julia Sweeney) at the orphanage, but the Littles show no prejudice as to color, race, size or species. So they bring Stuart home.
It's a short-lived homecoming, almost spoiled by the growling stomach of Snowbell the Cat and the utter disappointment of George. What seems sweet enough to put you into sugar shock pops you into a whole 'nother reality when, after the humans are gone, Snowbell sets down his foot, er, paw, and talks. Nathan Lane is the voice. From this point on Stuart Little takes off like a rocket on the fourth of July. Not only must he deal with the technology of the human world, Stuart must win over George and deal with the most twisted case of sibling rivalry ever seen, since he now has a "pet cat." How does Snowbell explain this to his friend Monty (Steve Zahn) or the much nastier alley cat crew led by Smokey (Chazz Palminteri) and Red (David Alan Grier)? And what happens when Stuart's "real" parents (Bruno Kirby and Jennifer Tilley) show up?
It's a trip to wonderland folks. Pure and simple. Stuart Little works beautifully at every level both for us old fogeys and for the kidlets. All of Cranky's nieces and nephews, up to age 11, are anxiously awaiting this flick. They won't be disappointed.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Stuart Little, he would have paid...
If he were still breathing, E.B. White would be bursting with pride.
(and before you start with the dissmail, that's the same original rating as Toy Story 2. This site has it's rules and you don't need to know the original to enjoy this holiday flick.)
28 Weeks Later
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