Stuart Little 2 Review
By Shawn McKenzie 07/31/2002
I think it is probably pretty hard to do a sequel to a family film and not make it sappily bad. Stuart Little 2 could have easily gone down that road, but fortunately, it didnít.
The movie takes place probably about two or three years after the original 1999 movie. Stuart (voiced by Michael J. Fox) has become accepted fully into the Little household (which has since added a little baby daughter), but almost a little too much. His mother, Eleanor (Geena Davis), has become very overprotective of Stuart, which both he and his dad, Fredrick (Hugh Laurie), think she is going overboard (I didnít think so, because he is three inches tall and he wanted to play soccer with a ball that could squish him!) Nevertheless, besides the domineering of his mom, there is the acceptance of his peers, especially amongst his older brother (Jonathan Lipnicki) and his friends. He is just a little too different to hang with them, so he begins to desire a friend he can relate to. One day a friend literally drops in, in the form of Margalo (voiced by Melanie Griffith.) Margalo is a canary who drops from the sky into Stuartís car after being chased by Falcon (voiced by James! Woods.) They get away and Stuart nurses Margalo back to health. They become friends (or more, since Fredrick thinks Stuart has a crush on her.) One day, Margalo disappears and Stuart suspects that Falcon got her. With the help of the Littleís cat Snowbell (voiced by Nathan Lane), they set out to try and find her. Snowbellís alley cat friend Monty (voiced by Steve Zahn) makes a few brief appearances in order to help Stuart and Snowbell find Margalo (and showcase Zahnís goofy and funny vocal talents.)
Although the movie takes place in the present, it certainly has a retro style in terms of clothes and demeanor. Itís very "Brady Bunch" family style. Costumes-wise, it felt like it was out of the fifties. Eleanor wore a string of pearls, for Godís sake! I canít remember, but I even think Fredrick was smoking a pipe (or maybe that was in the last movieÖor maybe Iím thinking of a dad in a fifties Disney movie who looks just like his characterÖwhatever.) The point is, this movie was not looking to go after the latest fads in anything, which was rather refreshing. It set its own tone.
The effects in this movie were impressive for every character with the exception of Stuart himself. Iím trying to figure out of this was on purpose or not. One of the cool things about the first movie was that the graphics were so good that it actually looked like a real mouse who just happened to talk and do other human-like things. In this one, he seemed less mouse-like, but I donít know if that was a bout of laziness on the effects team, or because they wanted to make the audience realize that he had been living with humans so long that he just picked up more of their traits. I would guess itís the latter, because all the other animals were graphically awesome. I was especially impressed with Margalo, because they kept the jerky movements of a canary while still allowing her to interact well with the humans and other characters.
Will anyone other than kids like this movie? Well, honestly, this movie is a lot less hip than the first movie, so I donít think it will appeal to teens and young adults. It isnít so sappy that parents are going to feel tortured throughout the movie. The kids, of course will love it! I will add, for the sake of finding something that will appeal to the parents, that Nathan Lane once again steals the show. He has some of the best lines in the movie and delivers them well.
I do recommend this movie as a family film. Although it is rated PG, it might as well have been rated G, because there is nothing in it that is really objectionable (other than the fact that you shouldnít encourage your older brother to lie for you while you spend two days looking for a friend, but even that had a lesson in it.) This film is a good alternative to the other films out there that might be just a little too crass for the little ones. You might find yourself smiling once or twice during Stuart Little 2 too.
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