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Stuart Little 3: Call Of The Wild (SE)
DVD disk
03.02.2006 By: Jason Coleman
Stuart Little 3: Call Of The Wild (SE) order
Director:
Audu Paden

Actors:
Michael J. Fox
Geena Davis
Hugh Laurie

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Everyone’s favorite talking mouse is back, this time in a fully animated cartoon. Stuart and the whole family go on vacation to the woods, where he meets many new friends and goes on all new adventures. Along the way, he must prove to himself and others that a big spirit can overcome any obstacle.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Two observations hit me while watching STUART LITTLE 3: CALL OF THE WILD. The first was what misers Sony Pictures were for foregoing the live versions seen in the first two films, going with a full out animated version instead. It just seemed a little discombobulating to give the kids two technically advanced films, with a real feel, only to blindside them with a standard cartoon flick. While the kids won’t mind (mine didn’t!), any slight thread of interest that parents had in these films, is vaporized with this outing. (And I love that now the film is animated, how everyone is fine with meeting a talking mouse for the first time, no problem!) The second thought was that this new Stuart Little adventure felt a lot like those afterschool specials I used to hate. They were all the same; a little too preachy and self righteous for their own good. Here, Stuart (still voiced by Michael J. Fox) gets himself into situation after situation, but the message is always the same. Will he do the right thing? Will he do the moral thing? As a parent and viewer, the previous two films gave me a hair of joy, but this new stingy version made me feel like I was back in school, being scolded by Mrs. Minion in the third grade. (Not a great feeling, when you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself!)

At least Sony had the sense to re-hire all the original cast members to do the voice overs for their now animated characters, with Fox, Davis (who only appears a little, busy with her new TV show I guess!), and Laurie all back. Plus there’s a little Virginia Madsen as The Beast (don’t ask!), Wayne Brady as a hip (gulp!) skunk and Peter MacNicol as (what else?!) a goofy troopmaster. The only thing I couldn’t figure out was who Kevin Schon is and why he is playing Snowball, the smarmy cat originally voiced by Nathan Lane. And that’s not the weird part – Schon does a dead on Jay Mohr/Christopher Walken style impression of Lane – I thought it was him. (Was Lane asking for too much money or what?) In any case, I completely understand that this film is not for me. Yes, kids will like it, yes, it will keep them occupied, and yes, it will teach them a few things along the way. But for any adults out to spend a little quality time bonding over a film the whole family could enjoy, best to look elsewhere. The cute and semi-intriguing live action Stuart Little is gone and has been replaced by a kid-only, cheapskate version that knows who its audience is – and it’s not anyone over the age of five. Beware adults; this call of the wild seems to be calling collect.
THE EXTRAS
Sony did something very smart with this DVD, they didn’t try to chalk it full of useless commentaries and long featurettes, but merely loaded it full of games for kids. They obviously knew who the audience was on this one. (And it’s not me!) So since I’m not five, my kid is gonna tell you his thoughts on these. (Straight from the mouth’s of babes!)

Help Stuart Escape!: In this game, the kids have to answer ten Stuart related questions, with only three wrong allowed, so he can get home. Seemed like an okay game, except for the fact that the questions, (which range from easy, to mild, and hard) all require kids to watch and memorize every facet of this film! Kid’s Critique: “I couldn’t do it.”

Monty’s Monstrous Appetite!: With Monty being under the house, he needs to be fed. It’s up to the kids to determine, from his various pipe noises, what exactly he wants. Kid’s Critique: “I loved it.”

Stuart’s Summer Journal: Stuart gives kids the option of either he or they reading from his summer journal, full of his adventures. The preference here was definitely to have Stuart do all the work. Kid’s Critique: “It’s good.”

Learn To Draw: Kid’s get a chance to draw their favorite Stuart Little character in this step by step lesson. Kid’s Critique: “I’m not doing that.”

There is also a ”Reeko’s Funk” Music Video (2:12), a very out of place Wendy’s Public Service Announcement (0:32), and some Previews for IT’S A BIG, BIG WORLD, OPEN SEASON and FAMILY FUN.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
As a film, STUART LITTLE: CALL OF THE WILD is a critical hot potato, complete with a pretentious high moral fiber (what ever that means!) and no live action work, as in the previous two installments. Just being a cartoon, it’s ripe and ready for the little ones and that’s who really should have been watching these damn movies in the first place. I step aside to give the fruit of my loins the final say. What does he think of this Call of the Wild? “I loved it.” (That’s my boy!)
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