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STUART LITTLE 2

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Nathan Lane, James Woods, Jonathan Lipnicki
Director: Rob Minkoff
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital, English/French
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen & 1.33:1 Standard Full Screen
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Features: See Review
Length: 78 Minutes
Release Date: December 10, 2002

“Look what I’m reduced to…I’m a handy wipe with hair!”

Film ***

I absolutely adore Nathan Lane, and simply because of that fact, I had to see this movie!  I wasn’t disappointed, and was really pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed all of the other characters and the movie itself. 

Stuart Little 2 picks up a couple years after the first movie ended.   The Leave It To Beaver mom and dad types played by Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie were so over the top, kooky and sweet that I couldn’t help but enjoy their portrayals of Eleanor and Frederick Little.   Jonathan Lipnicki is back again as Stuart’s older brother George, and Nathan Lane once again lends his vocal talents to the very annoyed and always troublesome cat Snowball.

Stuart is on the soccer team and drives a sports car to school everyday.   He’s heading home from school one day when a Canary named Margalow lands in the passenger seat of his car and he has to put the petal to the metal to escape the Falcon who’s trying to capture her.   Stuart takes her home and before you know it, he’s got a crush on the pretty little gal.  I think it’s time for Mr. Little to have a chat with Stuart about the birds and the bees, or, well, mice in this case! 

Unfortunately for him Margalow flies the coop and on her way out, she takes mother Little’s diamond ring with her.   It seems the Falcon is a gangster type and Margalow is being forced to work with him.  Stuart realizes that the Falcon has Margalow and isn’t planning on letting her go, so he sets out with Snowball to save her.   Can a mouse with a plan and a cat with an attitude arrive in time to help Margalow make like a jailbird and fly?

I have to say that Michael J. Fox did a wonderful job voicing Stuart.   His hesitations at just the right moments and the inflections in the tone of his voice helped to really bring out the shining personality of the tough and tinkering little mouse.   Margalow the Canary, as voiced by Melanie Griffith, was absolutely adorable.   The part of Margalow needed to be brought to life gently in order for the audience to believe in her like they do Stuart.  Griffith’s soft tones and the gentle way she delivered her lines made Margalow very likeable indeed.   Now add the outrageous Nathan Lane as Snowball the cat and James Woods as the Falcon, and how can a movie like this go wrong?

Snowball’s dialogue was absolutely hilarious…however, there were a couple of times where I’m sure most kids under the age of ten probably didn’t get the joke.  But hey, that’s what helps to make this movie so great for people of all ages.   James Woods did an excellent job as the voice of Falcon.  He added just enough edge to his dialogue to make him sound rough and tough without making it too rough on the ears of the kiddies watching.  

This movie is definitely a must see if you have small children, but at the same time, if you love animation like I do, then it won’t matter if your 8 or 18…you’ll get a kick out of this DVD. 

Video ***

CGI has come a long way over the past few years and with each new step, character generated images are gaining ground on real actors everywhere.   Stuart Little 2 is a shining example of how to do CGI, the right way!  The detail that went into the character named Falcon was amazing.  The colors were brilliant and very crisp and clear in every scene.  The blending of CGI and real actors was pretty much flawless.  The animation on Stuart was exceptionally clean with only the barest hints of digital lines visible, but it’s so minimal that the average watcher won’t notice a thing.  

You get the option of viewing this DVD in a 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format or 1.33:1 Standard Full Screen format.  I think you get to see more of the action if you watch it in the widescreen format, but either way, you’ll enjoy the experience.  

Audio ***

The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for this DVD was quite good.   The mix itself only suffered in a few places where there was too much background noise, and the main dialogue was high pitched screaming by a mouse, but otherwise, it was clean and clear.  No audible dips or bad voiceovers.  Everything was synced really well and the blending was barely noticeable.

Features ****

This DVD was packed with features mostly for the kids whom I’m sure will adore them, but adults can have some fun, too.

The Filmmakers’ Commentary was really nice, and you get to see into the minds of the people who made this movie so fantastically real.  Activating “Show and Tell” allows you to get behind the scenes with some of the characters to learn more about how the film was made.

“A Touch of Evil - Creating the Perfect Villain” gives you a pretty good look at how the evil character Falcon was created and brought to life through animated CGI. 

“Life In the Fast Lane” was a really, and I mean REALLY quick trip through the making of this movie.  The dialogue was read a bit too fast for anyone to really enjoy it unless you have the attention span of a gnat and don’t mind the quick flyby of all the scenes.

“Stuart Little’s Big Adventures Read Along”, is definitely something for the kids but it can be set so that the story is read out loud, and you can follow along or you can turn off the audio and read the story yourself.  I know some moms who wouldn’t mind an educational DVD to help their kids reading skills improve, not to mention how much fun the story itself is.

There’s an interactive game called “Stuart’s Circle Of Friends” where you get to hear the description and you get three pictures to choose from as to who the description is talking about.  Depending on how well you know Stuart and his friends you will either make the right choice and get a word of praise from Stuart or make the wrong choice and get to hear him give you words of encouragement to try again.  I got all six correct on the first try, just in case you were wondering!

The music video for the song “I’m Alive” is included, as well as a promo for the Stuart Little 2 Playstation Game.   The Theatrical Trailers were pretty nice, and the overall experience was enhanced by the animated menus that had Stuart talking to you.   The DVD is also a DVD ROM that you can insert into your PC and it will give you web links to a lot of cool stuff at the official Stuart Little website. 

Filmographies for the Director, Producers as well as the Actors are included to round out this DVD’s features.  

Summary:

If your in the mood for some light hearted entertainment with a powder puff twist, then put away the mousetraps, hide the D-Con, and break out the cheese, cause you’ll definitely want to bring this furry little guy home on DVD!