The Littles (Hugh Laurie and Geena Davis) head off to the local orphanage to adopt a child. Their son George (Jonathan Lipnicki) is hoping for a little brother, but what he gets is considerably smaller than he had in mind: talking mouse Stuart (voice of Michael J. Fox). We follow Stuart’s misadventures as he adapts to his new family, and they adapt to him. Nathan Lane does the voice of Snowball, the very put-out cat.
The sound is very clear, and Alan Sil…estri’s score, though rather repetitive, is given is stupendous mix. This does seem to come at the expense of the sound effects, however. They have very little by way of rear speaker presence, and there is not much sense of an environment when watching the film.
The colours are marvellous: warm, bright and vibrant. The contrasts, flesh tones and blacks are all stunning. There is only very slight edge enhancement visible. This has all the earmarkings of a first-class transfer, except for one thing: the picture is in fullscreen (and the drawbacks are noticeable, particularly during the credit sequence). With the gazillion extras on this disc, was a widescreen option really too much to ask?
First, the menu. It has a very elaborate intro (which is, curiously, in widescreen). The intro goes on for so long, in fact, that I thought the movie had begun. The beginnings of the main page and of the first tier secondary pages are animated and scored, but once established, each page is limited to music.
Okay, now the extras. There are two commentary tracks. The first is by director Rob Minkoff and animation supervisor Henry Anderson, and covers the film’s genesis, the animation, the art design, and so on. Though quite technical, it is not nearly as much as the second track, by FX men John Dykstra and Jerome Chen. One face of the extras, then, is deeply nuts-and-bolts. Along the same lines are animators’ screen tests; six deleted scenes (with optional commentary); an early production reel of the boat race; a scrapbook of sketches divided into “Stuart,” “Concepts,” and “Cars and Boats”; liner notes; and an interactive FX featurette which allows you to examine (with commentary) the various stages of six different sequences. The other end of the extras spectrum is the kids’ stuff: a “Central Park Adventure” game; a DVD-ROM game; and a read-along story book – “My Family Album” (with optional voice-over). More general features the visual FX gag reel (two scenes); the production gag reel (largely lame moments of actors laughing); three music videos – “If You Can’t Rock Me” by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, “You’re Where I Belong” by Trisha Yearwood, and “I Need to Know” by R. Angels; a sneak peak at Stuart Little 2; a promo HBO featurette narrated by Stuart; thumbnail bios of Minkoff, Davis, Laurie, Fox, Lipnicki and Lane; and trailers for Stuart Little, Stuart Little 2, Kermit’s Swamp Years, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, The Trumpet of the Swan and Little Secrets.
I am astonished that this is a single disc. There’s more packed onto it than is the case with many a double set. If only the picture had been widescreen.
Special Features List
- Two Commentary Tracks
- Read-Along Storybook
- “Adventure in Central Park” Game
- Artists’ Screen Tests
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
- Visual FX Gag Reel
- Production Gag Reel
- Boat Race Early Production Reel
- 3 Music Videos
- Stuart Little 2 Sneak Peaks
- “Making It Big” HBO Featurette
- Talent Files
- Trailers and more