Stuart Little: Deluxe Collector's Edition (1999)

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Released 5-Sep-2000

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Audio Commentary-Director & Animation Supervisor
Audio Commentary-Visual Effects Supervisors
Featurette-Visual Effects Interactive Featurette
Game-Stuart's Central Park Adventure Game
Read Along
Featurette-Animators' Screen Tests
Deleted Scenes-6 +/- commentary
Featurette-Visual Effects Gag Reel, Production Gag Reel
DVD-ROM Extras-Web Site Mirror, Game-S Little:Big City Adventures
Featurette-Boat Race Early Concept Reel
Music Video-If You Can't Rock Me-Brian Setzer Orchestra
Music Video-You're Where I Belong-Trishia Yearwood
Music Video-I Need To Know-R Angels
Theatrical Trailer
Gallery-Stuart, Concepts, Cars & Boats
Featurette-Making Of-HBO Making Of: Stuart Little-Making It Big
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 81:09
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Rob Minkoff
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Geena Davis
Hugh Laurie
Jonathan Lipnicki
Case Brackley-Trans-No Lip
RPI $39.95 Music Alan Silvestri


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Dutch Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Flemish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
Hindi
Dutch Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, at start of credits

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Plot Synopsis

    The movie Stuart Little is basically about the adventures Stuart the mouse (voiced by Michael J. Fox) has after he is adopted by the Little family, who consist of Mrs Little (Geena Davis), Mr Little (Hugh Laurie), George Little (Jonathan Lipnicki) and Snowbell the cat (voiced by Nathan Lane).

    The integration of the computer-generated Stuart and Snowbell's talking is exceptional. It basically sets a new standard which all subsequent movies with computer-generated special effects will have to live up to. The amount of work that went into making Stuart appear real was well worth the effort, as it removes the feeling that you are watching a CG-generated object.

    There are a couple of lines aimed at the adult audience. My favourite of these is when Snowbell fails to help Stuart get out of the washing machine and says “talk to the butt” as he is walking away. You'll really need the visuals to go with this to fully appreciate it. Another favourite of mine was the second scene in the Visual Effects Gag Reel.

    The number of extras present on the disc is staggering. The audio commentaries are just jam-packed with information relating to the technical aspects of making Stuart Little. There is also more technical information contained within the Visual Effects Interactive Featurette.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is extremely clear and sharp at all times. There is no low-level noise present. No edge bleeding or excessive edge enhancement was noticed.

    The colours are deeply saturated and vibrant - basically perfect.

    There is a slight graininess to the picture for most of the movie which mostly affects the background. On a 68cm TV using composite input the grain is invisible.

    I only saw one trivial instance of what I believe to be an MPEG artefact which occurred at 12:39, where Snowbell (the cat) loses detail as he walks towards the background of the screen. No instances of aliasing were noticed.

    Film artefacts were very rare, with just a handful of tiny specks noticed. There is also some kind of framing error at 32:41, which creates a very off-putting effect. The first frame of the boathouse is either slightly compressed in height or is mis-aligned, so when the next frame comes along the picture appears to jump. Whether this is a film or telecine transfer fault is unknown.

    This disc is dual-layered, with the movie on one layer and the extras on the other, which is a perfect way to present this disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three audio soundtracks - English, Dutch, and Flemish, plus two audio commentary tracks. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1, 384kb/sec soundtrack and then the audio commentaries.

    The dialogue was extremely clear and easy to understand throughout the entire movie.

    No audio sync problems were noticed with this transfer. Even the cat's dialogue looked correct, which I found totally amazing and is a credit to the team working on this film.

    Alan Silvestri's musical score suits the movie well, as it adds to or enhances the on-screen action.

    The surround channels were very aggressively used for ambience and music, with lots of special effects. Note-worthy surround channel use occurs at 17:58, 12:55, 14:30, 16:53, 31:35, 59:59, 60:46 and 62:03.

    The subwoofer is lightly used throughout the movie to add a little extra punch to the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are an enormous amount of extras on this DVD. I have listed and discussed them in the order that they appear on the disc. There is also the new Columbia Tristar DVD logo before the main menu, and the Dolby Digital City Trailer once you press Play.

Menu

    The Menu is not 16x9 enhanced and has a lead-in video clip, which suffers badly with grain, with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. There is further animation when making a menu selection plus animation and audio on most of the sub-menus. The Main Menu selections are; Play Movie, Subtitles, Languages, Extra Features and Scene Selections (28).

Stuart's Central Park Adventure Game

    By answering trivia questions about the movie correctly you progressively move Stuart closer to home. If you answer a question incorrectly you go back one step. There are three levels of difficulty. Once you get Stuart home your reward is a short excerpt from the movie.

Audio Commentary 1 – Rob Minkoff (Director) and Henry F. Anderson III (Animation Supervisor)

    This commentary features Rob Minkoff and Henry F. Anderson III in the centre channel speaking over the film's Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. They present a ton of interesting information about the things that went into the making of the movie. This is a very worthwhile addition to this disc and is definitely worth listening to if you liked the movie.

Audio Commentary 2 – John Dykstra (Senior Effects Supervisor) and Jerome Chen (Effects Supervisor)

    This commentary features John Dykstra and Jerome Chen in the centre channel speaking over the film's Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. Again there is a wealth of interesting information about the technical aspects of creating Stuart's character and the work that went into making the cats appear to talk. This is another very worthwhile addition to this disc and is definitely worth listening to if you want to know more about the technical aspects of making this movie.

Featurette -Visual Effects Interactive Featurette (6 with Commentary - 12:48 minutes)

    These are six short featurettes, focussing on six different scenes in the movie, each of which are broken up into a further four parts. Each part has a running commentary from either Henry Anderson, Jerome Chen or John Dystra explaining the technical aspects of each stage. The sections are:

    The Making of a Mouse (2:26), A Goodnight Kiss (2:18), How A Mouse Brushes His Teeth (1:48), Dressing Up Stuart (1:52), Stuart Steers The Wasp (1:15) and In Bed With Mom And Dad (2:42).

Read-Along (3:34 minutes)

    Highlights from the movie are presented in book form, and you can choose to have Michael J. Fox reading the text on each page or not.

Basement Treasures - Animators' Screen Tests (2:32 minutes)

    Five test animations created by the animators auditioning to work on Stuart Little movie. Stuart does not have fur in these scenes so he appears as a grey mouse.

Basement Treasures - Deleted Scenes (6 with or without Directors Commentary - 5:14 minutes)

    These are generally of very good quality, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with a 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Rob Minkoff's commentary is very interesting.

Basement Treasures - Visual Effects Gag Reel (0.33 minutes)

    The visual effects gag reels contains two scenes that were created by the effects creators while they worked on the movie. Snowbell goes bug-eyed and an adult joke is cracked by Mr Stout during filming which is quite funny.

Basement Treasures - Production Gag Reel (Bloopers - 3:23 minutes)

    These are generally of reasonable quality, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with a 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. There is one small section that shows the pond in various stages of being built.

Basement Treasures - Boat Race Early Concept Reel (8:07 minutes)

    Sketches of the early concept for the Boat race sequence, narrated by Rob Minkoff. This sequence was replaced by a much simpler one for cost reasons.

Music Video – ‘If You Can't Rock Me’ by Brian Setzer Orchestra (3:08 minutes)

    This music video clip is of excellent quality, and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Music Video – ‘You're Where I Belong’ by Trisha Yearwood (4:29 minutes)

    This music video clip is of excellent quality, and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Music Video – ‘I Need To Know’ by R Angels (3:42 minutes)

    This music video clip is also of excellent quality, and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, but if you switch into surround mode there is plenty of surround channel use here.

U.S. Theatrical Trailer (2:27 minutes)

    This is of very high quality with some minor aliasing and grain present. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 5.1 384kb/s soundtrack.

Scrapbook (Galleries) – 57 pictures

    The scrapbook is divided into three sections; Stuart (20 pictures), Concepts (19 pictures) and Cars & Boats (18 pictures).

HBO Making-Of Stuart Little: Making It Big (22:03 minutes)

    Warning: Watch the movie before watching this featurette as it basically runs you through the key scenes in the movie.

    This is of excellent quality, with some minor MPEG artefacting and aliasing. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 192kb/sec soundtrack. Stuart Little hosts this cleverly-constructed promotional piece for the movie.

Talent Profiles

    This section contains brief Biographies and selected Filmographies for Rob Minkoff, Geena Davis, Michael J. Fox, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki and Nathan Lane.

DVD-ROM Extras

    These consist of a mirror of the Stuart Little web site and a sample game from the Stuart Little: Big City Adventures CD-ROM where you race through Central Park picking up batteries, dodging cats and obstacles.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     With the R4 disc only missing out on a slightly higher audio bit rate, there is no real compelling reason to purchase one disc over the other. Having said that, it is worth remembering that the R1's 448Kb/s soundtrack should sound a little better, speaking from a purist's point of view, whilst the R4 version will not suffer from 3:2 pull-down artefacts and will have approximately 20% more picture detail than the R1 version.

Summary

    Stuart Little is a good film, presented on a excellent DVD.

    The picture quality is great.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    There are an enormous amount of high quality extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Sunday, September 24, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SV919THX
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

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