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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild (2005)

"When it comes to friends, sometimes you gotta take a risk."
- Stuart Little (Michael J. Fox)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: February 13, 2006

Stars: Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Wayne Brady
Director: Audu Paden

MPAA Rating: G
Run Time: 01h:15m:27s
Release Date: February 21, 2006
UPC: 043396061132
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BB-B B-

DVD Review

Well, he's animated now, not CGI, and he's moved down the entertainment industry food chain and is going direct to video, but it's always nice to become reacquainted with the Littles and the littlest Little, Stuart. (Some children I know reacted in horror to the very prospect of the first film, feeling that it would irrevocably corrupt their experience of reading E.B. White's much beloved novel. But Hollywood has never subscribed to that sort of Luddite mentality, and so here we are.)

Compared to its predecessors, this Stuart story was made on the cheap—it's relatively low-grade animation, versus the live action stuff, but many of our pals are back. In fact, it's a little odd to see familiar actors rendered in animation, and providing the voices—Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie reprise their roles as Stuart's parents, and of course Michael J. Fox is the mouse of the hour. Sorely missing, though, is Nathan Lane, perhaps too busy fleecing little old ladies out of their money for his production of Springtime for Hitler to provide the vocals for Snowbell the cat; and Jonathan Lipnicki must have aged out of voicing George, Stuart's decidedly pre-pubescent older brother.

The Little family is off to spend a summer in the country, and Stuart wants to do some scouting—but overprotective Mom is concerned that the woods will do him in, and persuades her husband to hold Stuart's hand, more or less, by signing on as the assistant scoutmaster. Of course, Stuart gets a new best pal: Reeko the skunk, given voice by Wayne Brady, who shines especially in his James Brown-like musical number. Reeko and the other forest denizens live in fear of an unseen creature known only as The Beast, to whom they must make regular sacrifices—will Stuart upset the apple cart? Will young George get his nose away from the GameBoy long enough to appreciate the outdoors, and especially the attentions he's receiving from one of the girls in his scouting troop? Will Stuart earn his gold kerchief? Will Snowbell survive a summer away from Fifth Avenue?

Most of the action is with the animals; I suspect that commitments from new TV series capped the number of days that Laurie and Davis were available, so she especially barely appears here. These aren't as whimsical and as deft as the first two films in the series, but as kids' entertainment goes, it works. And it's peppered with enough inside humor for the big people—the opening credit sequence, with the Littles driving out of Manhattan, is a goofy little riff on The Sopranos, for instance—to keep the attention of those of us who read White's book as children and have now passed it along to kids of our own.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: A pretty decent transfer, though this new animation does occasionally look a little ragged and blotchy.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: Nicely balanced, though a little thin in the lower registers.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring It's A Big, Big World, Open Season, Sony Family Fun
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. interactive games
  2. read-along
  3. PSA
  4. drawing lesson
Extras Review: Wayne Brady jumps back, wants to kiss himself in Reeko's Funk, the skunk's music video. You'll also find two interactive games—in the first, you can Help Stuart Escape, and in the second, try to sate Monty's Monstrous Appetite. (Both can be played on various levels, for the Beginning, Intermediate and Exceptional Scouts in your home.) Then you've got a chance to check out Stuart's Summer Journal—he'll read it to you, if you like, or if you're up to it, you can read it on your own. A quick lesson will have you drawing Stuart, Snowbell and Reeko in no time; and there's also a PSA for Wendy's efforts for foster children.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Certainly more of a slapdash, low-rent effort than its two predecessors, but it's a reasonably well told story featuring some much-loved characters, and is sure to be a favorite of those who are fans of Stuart and his family.

 


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