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A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word
Stuart Little 2 (2002), PG
Analysis Date: July 31, 2002
CAP Score: 87
CAP Influence Density: 0.23
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STUART LITTLE 2 (PG) -- I know I have been hard on the issue of lying...
Production:Columbia Pictures Corporation
Distribution: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director(s): Rob Minkoff
Producer(s): Jason Clark, Lucy Fisher, Jeff Franklin, Gail Lyon, Rob Minkoff, Michelle Murdocca, Steve Waterman, Douglas Wick
Written by/Screenplay: E.B. White (characters from the book Stuart Little), Douglas Wick and Bruce Joel Rubin (story), Bruce Joel Rubin (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Steven B. Poster
Music: Roxanne Seeman (song "Hold on to the Good Things"), Alan Silvestri
Film Editing: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly
Casting: Francine Maisler
Production Design: Bill Brzeski
Art Direction: Shepherd Frankel
George (Jonathan Lipnicki) is awakened by Stuart (voice of Michael J. Fox) with excitement! Today is their first soccer game! Both George and Stuart are on the team. George is not very excited about it and comes up with the first lie of several in the show. To get out of playing soccer George told Stuart he caught a cold last night
In the secular reviews I've read, I could find nothing about the lying. One review, a Christian review, in essence "redeemed" the lying with Mr. Little (Hugh Laurie) telling George toward the end of the show, after further lying caused peril and potentially fatal events, that it is never okay to lie to your parents. Don't they know that lying in and as entertainment can and sometimes does embolden the viewer? Maybe you agree Mr. Little's admonishment was "redeeming" enough and maybe you don't. That is your decision to make. We just tell you what is there and apply to it the teachings and expectations of the One who spent three days in Hell so you and I would not have to spend one moment there. The CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, for manufacture of justification for, or camouflaging of ignominious content or aberrant behavior or imagery with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme/plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. Further, we make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie -- whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value is up to you, mom/dad. The CAP analysis model is the only known set of tools available to parents and grandparents which give them the control they need, bypassing the subjective opinion-based assessment of movies by others and defeating the attempts of those who would say anything to convince their parents otherwise. The model is completely objective to His Word. Our investigation standards are founded in the teachings and expectations of Jesus Christ. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood tries to make it otherwise. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of sin.
George turns out to be the team member who freezes in moments of action on the field. One of the team members is taken out due to injury and Stuart is chosen to replace him. Earlier, while Mr. Little is much more supportive of George and Stuart playing soccer, Mrs. Little (Geena Davis) expresses fear and dread for Stuart playing soccer with full-sized boys. Stuart is only two inches tall. He is a mouse! One of those boys with cleats could squash Stuart!
Stuart expresses woe since he feels he is too small to accomplish anything. Mom won't let him do anything. Dad supports mom. Mom wants Stuart to try painting and dancing. Stuart wants adventure and intrigue. A battle begins and is used by the writers as "justification" for the lies and deceit [Rev. 21:27].
After George wins the game with a highly suspicious maneuver, Mr. and Mrs. Little run on to the playing field to congratulate George and to fetch Stuart from entanglement in the goal netting. Stuart's comment was not the "Can I get a little assist here" as was in the previews but was instead "I gotta start wearing [genital protection]." Where is the plot or story support in that comment? Or is it there just to provide toilet humor for the over-6 crowd? Never mind the implanting of such thoughts in the target audience. And why could the movie not have presented the same as was in the previews? You do the math.
George and Stuart are quite comfortable in the opulent and peaceful New York City life, living in a modest home sandwiched between large concrete buildings where everyone is kind and considerate and polite and courteous. Granted, such humble mannerisms are seemingly not typical of New York life but why should the movie have to be accurate about New York life? Is there some law or tort that says all movies must be accurate with the negativity of life?
George and Stuart are even comfortable with their new little sister, Martha (Anna and Hoelck). Stuart is not the middle child, adding further complications to his already waning self-worth. George was also comfortable with his neighbor, Will (Marc John Jeffries). So comfortable was George with his friendship to Will, George dragged Will into the plot of lies. Without Will's foreknowledge or agreement, he became the target of George's attempt to deflect mom/dad.. What was will to do!? George calls Will to announce the urgency of his predicament and that Will must say things not true to keep Stuart out of trouble. At that point Stuart was on a rescue quest that mom/dad would "not understand."
Margalow (voice of Melanie Griffith), a canary crashes into the front passenger seat of Stuart's little sports car as he is driving to school. Margalow was being chased by a carnivorous falcon (voice of James Woods) apparently searching for a lunch. Here begins the Hitchcock Vertigo plot where a man fell in love with a woman who was not all she seemed to be. Margalow is also less than honest but in this case with Stuart. But why is for your discovery. With her only injury being a hurt wing, Stuart takes her home for recovery. Begins now what appears on the surface to be a loving relationship. Stuart (the "Stewart" of Vertigo) even takes Margalow to the "drive-in" in his convertible sports car at the family TV (which is playing Vertigo). There were lots of really nice hugs in Stuart Little 2. Even if only cgi (computer hugs), they were indeed placed and supported well by plot and story. Have you hugged your kids today?
I know I sound cynical and even bitter about this movie. My intent is to focus on specific aspects of it. Stuart Little 2 is a colorful, delightful and energetic piece of work with top-notch attention to detail, even in the movement of wings and feathers during flight. And is [subjectively] better than its predecessor. But I am so tired of so much "you'll thank me when you're older" tactics of the writers of kids shows. The comment about the genital protection was completely unnecessary and was clearly part of what seems to be a darker intent. Such "humor" creates laughter in the snicker-giggle crowd. Then the younger ones, seeing the laughing, would like to "know the joke" so they could laugh too and even be cool and pass it on, but due to lack of the experiential maturity they crave cannot understand the "joke." They don't "get it" and appear, if in only their own eyes, "stupid" and as "babies." That creates a dissonance in the younger kids, naturally wanting to be "older" than they are and, try as they might to avoid the emotional upheaval caused by the age differential dissonance, will do almost anything they can to get away from that feeling of dissonance even if it means becoming like the older kids before their time. This is the perfect route for the stealing of childhood from children. And the internal warfare from age differential dissonance is not specific to youth. Damage can be done by portrayal of social stratum differential dissonance, too. And movies often, whether intentional, create social stratum differential dissonance. And dissonance with authority, dissonance with accountability, dissonance with consequences. Etc.
Stuart Little 2 makes lying cute. By His Word, God does not think it is. While all children before the ill-defined age of accountability (which I believe is typically upon puberty) are blessed and will not suffer the consequences of sins against His Word, such a coping skill and behavior mechanism as learning to lie (by example in this case) does not typically go away with preteen adolescence. God says thou shalt not lie. Period. He does not give any situations or conditions I've found in which lying is acceptable. None. Indeed, in the Book of Revelation [Rev. 21:8, Rev. 22:14-15] God condemns the unforgiven liar to eternity in Hell.
Stuart Little 2 is a warm and loving tale of daring, compassion, unselfishness and unity/value in the family that is tainted or infected with ills that must be recognized else they may implant aberrant behavioral templates that grow faster and with deeper roots than any good personality characteristics the positive qualities of this delightful film may implant. Even the music score is a battleground. It opens with "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" and later, during one of Stuart's emotional episodes includes "Alone Again, Naturally" about committing suicide off a nearby tower "in an effort to make it clear to whoever what it's like when you're shattered" which, by the way, includes God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive. "One is the Loneliest Number" is another that the family cat, Snowbell (voice of Nathan Lane) uses to torment Stuart.
There is much more to this fast-paced laced with slow-n-easy movie about a little New York mouse living with a human family. It is indeed delightful and has many good things to say. But as is required of most plots, for good to be good there must be evil for contrast. It is the evil and its potential to influence your kids I am revealing. Remember, we treat any "cartoon" behavior that can reasonably be duplicated by or subjected to a human child the same in terms of influence potential as if performed by a real child. For example, lying by a animated character can be emulated by a human child very easily but a child is not very likely to be carried off and dropped by a falcon or fly a toy airplane like a fighter plane.
Issues that you may feel warrants your attention and intervention include the lying and encouragement to lie, the influence of the suicide song, being forced to aid in crime, reckless driving to rescue, and a death by a great fall (the falcon). Additional matters may include striking out without parental knowledge or permission, a threat to kill, want of revenge [Rom. 12:19], and the repeated talk of being eaten and becoming "poop." The listing in the Findings/Scoring section, however short it is, provides all issues noted.
I know I have been hard on the issue of lying in this delightful kids show, but the target age stratum of this genre of entertainment is where the Truth must be given and they protected and informed against the potential influence of such entertainment.
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*******Food for Daily Thought*******
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):
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|NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.|
|"There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|