Columbia Pictures Corporation
Starring: Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki, Michael J. Fox, Nathan Lane
Directed by: Rob Minkoff
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains some spoilers for this film!
Synopsis: Based on the popular children’s story by E.B. White. A lovable mouse named Stuart is adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Little (Hugh Laurie and Geena Davis) who welcome him into their home with loving arms. But despite their best intentions, Stuart struggles to find acceptance from their son George (Jonathan Lipnicki) and also tries to placate the family’s jealous cat, Snowbell.
Cinema Cat: Snowbell, the Little’s pampered housecat, is played (in the closeups) by a white Persian named Lucky Prince and voiced wonderfully by Nathan Lane. He is a major player in the movie, having a pivotal role in the plot.
Also featured are some other notable felines including Snowbell’s outdoor tabby friend Monty the Mouth (voiced by Steve Zahn) and the tough grey alley cat leader, Smokey (voiced by Chazz Palminteri) and his gang. Both Snowbell and Monty would return for the sequel.
On the DVD commentary by director Rob Minkoff he explained how the animal trainers used laser pointers as an aid to get the cats to look in the right place during filming (five Persian cats were used to play the part of Snowbell). Animation supervisor Henry Anderson also gave credit to the film’s editor, Tom Finan, for his work sorting through the many, many feet of footage to pick out just the right takes of the cats acting. They also talked about how they achieved the motion of Smokey laughing by giving the cat actor something to eat, as the director had noted the cat would bob its head just the right way when eating.
Final Mewsings: Don’t underestimate an indoor cat; they can be tough when they need to be.