Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Stuart Little ramblings


(Small note: I'm trying to actually post everything I write, so this is my draft of a review of Stuart Little)

Stuart Little is a cute, safe movie. Though the story (Shyamalan? Really?) won't win any awards, it also doesn't feature any problematic scenes, and seems like it would shine as a family movie you can just put on when you want some safe mid-day entertainment while you get stuff done.
There's a few things here you don't usually see in children's movies.
I like that none of the adults are bad guys. Stuart's adoptive parents really try their best and love him for who he is, they make mistakes, but they wholeheartedly love their sons, and the rest of the family are supportive and good guys too. Even the orphanage manager and Stuart's "real" parents are good guys, leaving this as one of the few children's movies that doesn't feature adults as bad guys.


What makes the movie stand out among the crop is the team behind it. Everyone connected to this project treated the movie seriously and with respect. From Hugh Laurie's amazing performance as mr. Little to the great New York score, the movie features interesting direction the whole way through. The set pieces (especially the Little house) have a very deliberate design that makes everything a bit otherworldly, the boat race in Central Park is very interestingly directed, using either stop motion or puppeteering, and all the cats are played by actual cats with only their faces cgi'd, which lets the movie focus on Stuart's animation.


But what really makes the movie worth watching, even as an adult, is the amazing cinematography by Guillermo Navarro, most known for classics such as Pan's Labyrinth, Jackie Brown and Hellboy II. There's wide lens shots, pan shots, creative camera angles.. There's one scene in particular, where Stuart is contemplating life with his real parents and the loss of the Little family, where he looks out of the window and the camera slowly pans out from his close-up to show the New York City backdrop in a way that could rival any emotional moment in any classic.
I have never seen this level of cinematography in a children's movie, and I sorely appreciate how much love, care and quality Navarro put into his work.

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