Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stuart Little: The Animated Series- "All Revved Up!"

When I first wrote this review, North Dakota had just gone through a horrible blizzard that had me cowering in my apartment for a couple of days. I caught up on some reading, and watched a couple of my kids' videos with a critical eye. I have been a film critic for as long as I can remember, so the old instincts kicked in.

Stuart Little, the creation of E.B. White, really took off in a couple of live action films released a few years back. You see, Stuart Little is a mouse adopted by a human family. He has a Mom, a Dad, a brother named George, a sister named Martha, and a family cat named Snowball. Stuart can talk, is understood, and the family and those around him do not seem to notice that he is a mouse.

The third film in the series was computer animated and released straight to video, and this brief two dimensionally animated television series followed. Hugh Laurie, voicing Mr. Little, is the only cast member returning from the films. The other voices in the series kind of sound like Michael J. Fox, Nathan Lane, Geena Davis, and the other film performers, but are obviously not. Each episode is book ended by a computer animated Stuart giving a brief life lesson for the kids.

"Stuart Little: All Revved Up!" consists of three episodes, and no extras:

"The Meatloaf Bandit" (written by Melody Fox, directed by Bob Hathcock)
In the first episode, Stuart and George must protect the Little house from whomever is stealing meat loaves in the neighborhood. While the animation is okay, the story is too mild, resulting in a quiet boredom. Nathan Lane's Snowball the cat was ten times funnier than the series' imposter. On the 1 to 5 star scale, I give this a (* * *).

"A Model Driver" (written by Carin Greenberg-Baker, directed by Bert King)
A better episode than the first has older sibling George jealous of Stuart's miniature boat, car, and flying kite, and his ability to have more fun than a human boy thanks to his size. George decides to build himself a full sized car, and the Little parents worry. More laughs and excitement help, and kids learn that parents might look like they favor one child over another, but actually love them all equally...except in my family's case, where I am still the favorite. On the 1 to 5 star scale, I give this a (* * * *).

"Team Little" (written by Amy Wolfman, directed by Rich Wilkie)
The third and final episode has the Little family taking on another family that cheats in neighborhood games like three-legged races and water balloon tosses. This one is pretty amusing, thanks to Hugh Laurie's voice work, and the message for kids is demonstrated well. On the 1 to 5 star scale, I give this a (* * * *).

The DVD runs just sixty-seven minutes, and contains no extras. Kids wanting to read along onscreen are also out of luck since there are no subtitles recorded. While my then-eleven year old and then-seven year old boys were entertained, I doubt "Stuart Little: All Revved Up!" is at the top of their repeat performance list. Overall, I would give the whole collection a (* * * *) out of five stars. Get this collection now!: Stuart Little: All Revved Up!