Film / Stuart Little

Stuart Little is a live-action/computer-animated film series, based on the 1945 children's novel by E. B. White. The films are produced by Franklin/Waterman Productions and released by Columbia Pictures. Live-action roles include Jonathan Lipnicki, Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie, while the voice-over roles include Michael J. Fox and Nathan Lane.

Tropes in the films include:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Snowbell. In the book, he is very nasty toward Stuart, without a hint of remorse. In the movies, while villainous at first, the cat eventually becomes one of Stuart's allies.
  • Adaptation Species Change: It's never explained why Stuart looks like a mouse in Stuart Little. He is the biological son of two normal humans and it's never referred to as any sort of fictional disorder. He's just presumed to be a mouse looking boy. In the films he is an actual mouse who ends up adopted by the Little family.
  • Adult Fear: The scene where Stuart's parents find out his biological parents actually have been confirmed as being dead for years and the time they spend in the police station afterwards would be absolutely terrifying to parents.note  They find out that their son has been kidnapped by a couple of strangers, and that, according to the authorities, their modus operandi fits criminals interested in thrill-killing, not ransom. Luckily, Stuart's fake parents turn out to have a conscience and he finds his way home, but Mr. and Mrs. Little are scared to death in the meantime.
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: In the first film, based on the corresponding scene from the book. Most of the boats in the race are being operated by remote control.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In Call of the Wild, when Reeko is trying to talk Stuart out of attempting to save Snowbell, we have this exchange.
    Reeko: The Beast, she's heartless. She doesn't care about anyone but herself.
    Stuart: You two must have a lot in common, huh?
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The film got a PG rating by having the villains occasionally say "damn" or "hell."
  • Berserk Button: Anton pushes George's during the boat race by calling Stuart a stupid mouse, then saying he's actually a stupid rat. Big mistake.
  • Big Bad: Smokey, the mob boss-like leader of a pack of cats, in the first film. The Falcon, a vicious tyrant who forces Margalo to do his bidding, is this in the second film. The Beast, a deadly Mountain Lion who forces Reeko to do his bidding, serves as the primary villain of the third film.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: When he actually has Stuart in his talons, instead of eating him, Falcon drops Stuart - who, fortunately, lands on a soft garbage bag. To be fair, though, this is how Monte described Falcon's feeding habits earlier in the film.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: In Stuart Little 2, Stuart and Snowbell head out to a seedier part of town to find the whereabouts of the villainous Falcon, Stuart as intrepid as usual, and Snowbell in the need of a litter box. They meet up with Monte, who explains to the two how sinister the Falcon is. Snowbell is left terrified:
    Stuart: Snowbell, are you all right?
    Snowbell: Yeah. In fact, good news. I no longer need a litter box.
    Monte: Mop up on aisle three!
  • The Bully: Anton in the first film is this to George.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Averted through the movies, particularly with Falcon in the second - he didn't eat Margalo because he needed an Artful Dodger, and repeatedly tells her that if HE gets his talons into Stuart, he'll eat him. Of course, when he finally does get Stuart in his talons, Bond Villain Stupidity takes over.
  • Catch Phrase: Monty's "Pleeeeease."
  • Cats Are Mean: Played with in the films. Snowbell starts out very antagonistic toward Stuart, even trying to eat him and kill him, but later is shown as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and, when his street cat friends from the alley want him to eat Stuart to be In with the In Crowd, he ultimately sides with Stuart.
  • Chained to a Railway: Stuart pretends this in the first film in front of George. However, it was a toy train and he used his tail.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Anton rams other boats with his during the boat race in order to damage or sink them, much to the anger of one of the other racers. The controls to his boat fail and he loses the race after Stuart manages to untangle his boat from Anton's.
  • Damsel in Distress: Margalo feigns this to get Stuart to trust her. In the end, inverted: she saves Stuart from falling to his death after he Plane Fus Falcon.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Though Snowbell is (as expected) the biggest culprit, (movie) Margalo lets a little of this sneak through from time to time, when her Ditz armor starts to crack around Stuart.
  • Description Cut: In Stuart Little 2:
    Stuart: Don't worry about Snowbell, he wouldn't hurt a fly.
    Cut to Snowbell catching and eating a fly.
    Snowbell: (burp) Oh, those flies really repeat on ya.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted, Smokey and Falcon both fall from a great height but both survive. However, Smokey is chased by dogs and never seen again. Falcon lands in a garbage can in front of Monte; though his fate isn't revealed, it looks like Monte's got quite a feast.
  • Dissimile: In Stuart Little 2:
    Snowbell: (after Stuart's car overheats) I'm telling you, Stuart, it's a sign. This is just like the Burning Bush — except it's a carburetor, and... I'm not Moses.
  • The Ditz: Margalo puts on an understated version of this, mostly to throw Stuart off the fact that she's an Artful Dodger.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the second film, the relationship between Falcon and Margalo seems very similar to that of a domestic abuser and their victim respectively, especially when Falcon is angry.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Margalo apparently does this to Falcon after landing in Stuart's car. It's all fake, to ingratiate her to Stuart. Stuart lampshades it, though: "Do we really want to antagonize him?"
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Smokey is chased away by dogs at the end of the first film.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Falcon talks casually, but when something gets in the way of his shinies, the talons immediately come out.
  • Feathered Fiend: A rare "noble" example: the (Peregrine) Falcon of the second movie, who fancies himself a feathered Fagin to Margalo's Artful Dodger.
    Falcon: Don't make friends I can eat.
  • Fluffy Dry Cat: Snowbell in the animated series.
  • Furry Confusion: In the film, Stuart is an anthropomorphic mouse adopted as a son by humans; as a result he has a pet cat. Snowbell also speaks, however. It's implied that all cats and mice have intelligence in this world, but are generally treated as we treat animals anyway. Stuart being given "special treatment" creates a bit of a social scandal in both the human and animal worlds.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Falcon explaining to Stuart that Margalo is simply an Artful Dodger, and her friendship was a lie to get the Littles' wedding ring. Stuart stops it by shooting an arrow at him, which simply pisses him off.
  • Happily Adopted: Stuart. Somewhat averted in that there is initially a little sibling tension within his new family.
  • Happily Married: Frederick and Eleanor, to the point where they each finished the other's sentences. The moment they couldn't tell what the other was thinking led to slight panic, but all got resolved.
  • Heroic BSOD: Stuart suffers one in the second movie after he ends up in a landfill. Then he finds the wreckage of his plane...
  • In-Name-Only: The books were set in the late 1940s, Stuart was born from a human mother rather than adopted, and only the boat race in the first movie bears any resemblance to the events of the book. The films sequel follows the original novel more closely.
  • Interspecies Adoption: As mentioned above, the book claims that Stuart was born from a human mother, but the movie explains this as the reason why Stuart has human parents to begin with.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Snowbell.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Anton gets his during the boat race when the controls to his boat fail after he had used it to ram other boats and sink them. See also Cheaters Never Prosper.
  • Literal-Minded: In "Stuart Little 3":
    Mrs. Little: I don't know, Stuart. Something could happen to you.
    Stuart: But I want something to happen to me.
  • Magic Realism
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In "Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild", The Beast, which audiences assume to be a bear, is revealed to actually be a cougar.
  • Mouse World
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Margalo says this almost word-for-word after Falcon apparently drops Stuart to his death.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Falcon has quite the reputation, even among the street cats.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The first film is a criminal offender. Several commercials show Stuart flying a plane or fighting the cat and other cool things, but none of that happens in the film. But they do happen in the ending credits in a montage that depicts what happens after the story is over.
  • No Sell: The second film has something sort of like this. After being told that Margalo isn't going anywhere, Stuart replies, "Yes she is!" and fires an arrow at Falcon - which simply bounces off his beak. He grabs Stuart in his talons and drops him off the building.
    Falcon: Is that your best shot? Now let me show you mine.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging/Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Margalo is assigned by the evil Falcon to steal household valuables from the Little family. However, Margalo can't seem to focus on her assignment as she starts to enjoy spending time with the family, and becoming smitten with Stuart. Finally losing his patience, Falcon threatens Margalo to steal Mrs. Little's ring or else he'll kill Stuart. Reluctantly, Margalo steals Mrs. Little's wedding ring. When the Littles notice the ring missing, they think it's fallen down the drain and Stuart volunteers to go after it, but the string that's holding him breaks. Margalo saves him, but Stuart's gratitude towards her only makes her feel more guilty.
    Stuart: Margalo, You're the best friend I ever had.
    (hugs Margalo, who sadly hangs her head in guilt)
    • Later that night, Margalo gives a sleeping Stuart her precious jeweled stick-pin, before leaving the house out of guilt and shame.
    Margalo (opens the window and looks back at the sleeping Stuart): I'm sorry, Stuart. (sadly flies out the window)
  • Raised by Humans: Stuart in the films (as opposed to the books, where he's a mouse mysteriously born to human parents).
  • Recycled: The Series: Received an animated adaptation on HBO Family in 2003- it ran for 13 episodes, and the 3rd movie served as a followup to the show.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The cougar in "Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild" turns out to be female.
  • Shout-Out: "You do too much, you're not Mighty Mouse you know?"
  • Smug Snake: Anton. He's a bully to George and is smug most of the time with little reason to be.
  • Surprisingly Functional Toys: Stuart drives an off-the-shelf RC car around, as opposed to the book version, where it was custom made.
  • Smelly Skunk: Reeko from the third film. Ultimately is used on the Beast in the end.
  • Trailer Spoof: The trailer for Stuart Little 2 imitated moments from the first Spider-Man movie.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: In Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild, the character of Reeko the skunk, voiced by Wayne Brady.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: In the second film, Stuart befriends Margalo, a little bird who is menaced by a peregrine falcon. This would just be another case of Carnivores Are Mean, but note that Margalo is an Artful Dodger disguised as an adorable female canary and the falcon is depicted as a vicious, mad-eyed, scheming Fagin Expy voiced by James Woods.
  • Who's on First?: In Stuart Little 2, when the falcon has trapped Margalo under a can:
    Margalo: Snowbell? Is that you? Is that really you?
    Snowbell: Margalo? Where are you?
    Margalo: In the can.
    Snowbell: Oh, okay. I'll wait.
    Margalo: No! In the paint can!
  • You Got Spunk: In Stuart Little 2:
    Snowbell: [to Stuart] You've got guts, kid! Guts, and... and spunk! Not to mention moxie! You got guts, spunk and moxie!

Alternative Title(s): Stuart Little 2