Stuart Little 2 (U)

Review by Jack Foley

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Filmmaker's commentary; 3 DVD-Rom features; 4 featurettes including a Show & Tell interactivity feature; Filmographies; HBO Making Of special; Music video; Colouring contest; Photo gallery; Circle Of Friends set top game; Read-A-Long 'Stuart Little's Big Adventures'; Weblink; Trailers.

Director Rob Minkoff has done a terrific job of reuniting all of the components which made the original so successful, while also adding some new elements which serve to develop the characters in the way that any worthwhile sequel should.

As a result, he has produced a movie which should delight the kids, while providing the occasional nods to adults.

The sequel picks up two years after the original, with Stuart now living comfortably with the Littles, the human family that adopted him, playing football with the boys, driving to school in his mini-car and dreaming of big things.

However, he longs for a friend his own size and when fate unwittingly obliges in the form of a female bird, named Margalo, things seem too good to be true, until Margalo disappears and Stuart is forced to set out on a rescue mission with family cat, Snowbell, to confront the evil falcon who has been terrorising her.

Featuring the vocal talents of Michael J Fox (Stuart), Nathan Lane (Snowbell), James Woods (Falcon), Melanie Griffith (Margalo) and Steve Zahn (fellow cat, Monty), plus returning cast members Hugh Laurie, Geena Davis and Jonathan Lipnicki, Stuart Little 2 is the type of children’s movie which impresses on a number of levels.

While too sweet for some tastes, it builds on the success of the original without ever feeling laboured or empty of ideas, devoting more time to the talking animals and their adventures. The digital animation continues to amaze (with Stuart particularly impressive), while the imaginative use of colour and location (the film is set against a Manhattan backdrop) serve to make things easy on the eye.

For the kids, there’s plenty of gadgets - Stuart gets to fly a model airplane, as well play soccer and skateboard - as well as adventures, including a trip down the plug hole in search of a ring and a hair-raising ordeal on top of a skyscraper, while Bruce Joel Rubin’s polished script contains several wry observations that adults should enjoy.

And while the Littles themselves have very little to do (except create the ‘perfect’ family), there is plenty of fun to be had in hearing the likes of Woods, Lane, Zahn and co put Stuart and friends through their paces - Lane and Zahn, in particular, will have fans purring with delight with their feline antics!

As the poster correctly suggests, this summer, a Little could well go a long way to amusing the kids during the holidays!

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