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Stuart Little is a 1945 children's novel by Elwyn Brooks "E. B." White (1899-1985). It concerns the story of a mouse born to human parents in New York City. The early chapters concerns his everyday life in the City and encounter with a friend who saves his life, Margalo the bird.
When Margalo flies away, Stuart leaves the city in a quest to find her. He acquires a gasoline-powered model car and travels the country. He finds employment as a substitute teacher from time to time. The most notable event includes finding a love interest in his own size, Harriet Ames. They go to a single date before he leaves to continue his quest. The novel has no resolution.
Stuart Little was adapted to a namesake film in 1999, which combined live-action and computer animation. The voice for the main character was provided by Michael J. Fox. It was a box office hit, so naturally it received sequels: Stuart Little 2 (2002) and Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild (2006). The second film was more of the same and did reasonably well at the box office. The third film was fully computer-animated, also directly released to video. An animated series was created in 2003 but only lasted a single season, 13 episodes.
Some tropes seen in either the books or the films include:
- Adaptational Villainy: Inverted with Snowbell. In the book, he is very nasty toward Stuart, without a hint of remorse. In the movies, while villainous at first, Snowbell eventually becomes one of Stuart's allies.
- Animal Athlete Loophole: In the first film, most of the boats in the race are being operated by remote control. Guess there Aint No Rule that says a mouse can't be sailing one.
- Author Existence Failure: Fear of this led E.B. White to abruptly stop work on Stuart Little so that the book ends with zero resolution to its main storyline. White lived forty more years and wrote two further children's novels, but Stuart Little still feels like he died before finishing it.
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The film got a PG rating by having the villains occasionally say "damn" or "hell."
- Big Bad: Smokey, the mob boss-like leader of a pack of cats, in the first film. The Falcon, a viscious 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.
- 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!
- 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. Played straight in the novel, however.
- Description Cut: In Stuart Little 2:
Stuart: Don't worry about Snowbell, he wouldn't hurt a fly.
Cut to Snowbell catching 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 and is apparently killed and eaten by Monte.
- 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.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: The second film has something sort of like this. After being told that Margolo isn't going anywhere, Stuart replies, "Yes she is!" and fires an arrow at Falcon. This pisses Falcon off to the extreme, and he almost manages to kill Stuart.
- Fake American: Hugh Laurie, as Stuart's father.
- Fluffy Dry Cat: Snowbell in the animated series.
- Fridge Horror: In the books, Stuart is born to human parents, making him a severely deformed human being who resembles a mouse.
- 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.
- Happily Adopted: Stuart, in the films. Somewhat averted in that there is initially a little sibling tension within his new family.
- Happily Married: The Little parents, 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.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Michael J. Fox played Stuart in the movie.
- Timon / Albert was Snowbell in the movie
- The mean cats in the first movie are : Carl Bentley, Detective Doyle and Al Giordino and their boss is Sonny LoSpecchio.
- And in the TV series, Stuart was Danny Phantom.
- James Woods (Hades, Phillium Benedict) plays the falcon in Stuart Little 2.
- Speaking of Recess, Principal Prickly, Miss Grotke, and the yo-yo instructor were all suporting characters in the first movie.
- In Brazil, Rodrigo Santoro (best known internationally as Xerxes) was Stuart.
- 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.
- 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.
- Invisibility Cloak: In the original books, Stuart's car has an invisibility button.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Snowbell.
- Lilliputians: Stuart meets one in the book.
- Magic Realism
- Mouse World
- 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 Ending: The book ends with zero resolution; Stuart simply affirms his determination to find his friend, roll proverbial credits. Apparently E.B. White was concerned about his health, and decided to end the book at the best place he could find rather than keep going with it and risk leaving it unfinished at an even less satisfying point.
- Oblivious Adoption: The films have a mouse legally adopted by humans.
- Raised by Humans: Stuart in the films (as opposed to the books, where he's a mouse mysteriously born to human parents).
- 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.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Despite being a fluffy white cat, Snowbell is male and voice acted by Nathan Lane.
- 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 Margolo, a little bird who is menaced by a falcon. This would just be another case of Carnivores Are Mean, but note that Margolo is an adorable female canary and the falcon is depicted as a vicious, mad-eyed, scheming mob boss voiced by James Woods.
- 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!