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Lilo & Stitch and Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch: 2 Movie Collection Blu-ray + DVD Review

Lilo & Stitch (2002) movie poster Lilo & Stitch

Theatrical Release: June 21, 2002 / Running Time: 85 Minutes / Rating: PG

Directors: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois / Writers: Chris Sanders (idea & screenplay), DeanDeBlois (screenplay)

Voice Cast: Daveigh Chase (Lilo Pelekai), Chris Sanders (Stitch), Tia Carrere (Nani Pelekai), David Ogden Stiers (Dr. Jumba Jookiba), Kevin McDonald (Agent Pleakley), Ving Rhames (Cobra Bubbles), Zoe Caldwell (Grand Councilwoman), Jason Scott Lee (David Kawena), Kevin Michael Richardson (Captain Gantu), Kunewa Mook (Hula Teacher), Susan Hegarty (Rescue Lady Susan Hegarty), Amy Hill (Mrs. Hasagawa)

Songs: "He Mele No Lilo", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Stuck on You", "Blue Hawaii", "Suspicious Minds", "You're the Devil in Disguise", "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride", "Hound Dog", "Aloha Oe", "Burning Love", "Can't Help Falling in Love with You"
Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005) original DVD cover art Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch

Video Premiere: August 30, 2005 / Running Time: 68 Minutes / Rating: PG

Directors: Tony Leondis, Michael LaBash / Writers: Tony Leondis, Michael LaBash, Alexa Junge, Eddie Guzelian

Voice Cast: Chris Sanders (Stitch), Dakota Fanning (Lilo Pelekai), Tia Carrere (Nani Pelekai), David Ogden Stiers (Dr. Jumba Jookiba), Kevin McDonald (Agent Pleakley), Kunewa Mook (Kumu), Jason Scott Lee (David Kawena), Liliana Mumy (Myrtle Edmonds), Jillian Henry (Piggy), Emily Osment (Tia)

Songs: "Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride", "I Need Your Love Tonight", "Rubberneckin", "Always", "Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix)", "He Makana Ke Aloha (A Gift of Love)"

Buy Lilo & Stitch and Lilo & Stitch 2: 2 Movie Collection Blu-ray + DVD at Amazon.com

Past Releases:
Lilo: 2-Disc Big Wave Edition DVD 1-Disc DVD Instant Video / Lilo 2: DVD Instant Video

The most generous of animation historians declare 1999 as the end of Disney's modern Renaissance. In the years that followed, before the pioneering studio changed directions and embraced all-CGI filmmaking with Chicken Little (2005),
all but one of Disney's canonical releases either underperformed or outright flopped at the box office. The lone exception was Lilo & Stitch, a 2002 hit that seemed to give momentary rest to the notion that traditional animation was on the way out, succeeded by the techniques employed on far more warmly received efforts from Pixar, DreamWorks, and Blue Sky.

Lilo opens with the revelation that our galaxy is fuller of life and bureaucracy than we know. Somewhere out there, officials sentence an evil genius named Jumba Jookiba (voiced by David Ogden Stiers) to prison for the illegal creation of Experiment 626, a bulletproof, fireproof destructive little monster who can think faster than a supercomputer. Utilizing the brainpower of his genetic engineering, the blue, six-limbed creature narrowly escapes his prescribed exile to a desert asteroid and winds up landing on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Stitch and Lilo dance in sync in the style of Elvis Presley in "Lilo & Stitch."

There, mistaken for a dog, which he morphs himself to more closely resemble, the Experiment is named Stitch and adopted by a lonely young native girl named Lilo (Daveigh Chase). Lilo and her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere) are recent orphans who are not faring very well on their own. Nani has her hands full with work and caring for her overdramatic, friendless, Elvis-loving kid sister and the two do not come off well in their scheduled and surprise visits from social worker Cobra Bubbles (Ving Rhames).

Programmed to destroy, Stitch only adds to the family's chaos, both in making messes and being the target of four-eyed Jumba and cycloptic Earth guide Pleakley (Kevin McDonald), who have been sent by the Federation to capture the indestructible alien terror while not upsetting the planet's most important species (mosquitoes). To their surprise, "Stitch" adapts to the role of a pet, albeit for a family that seems destined and deserving to be broken up by Bubbles.

My initial reaction to Lilo & Stitch some ten years ago was one of modest enjoyment. An effective marketing campaign and a warm reception from both the public and critics had led me to hope and expect that this was a return to form for Disney, and one needed in between the disappointing Atlantis: The Lost Empire and costly Treasure Planet. I never loved Lilo as much as I wanted to for it belonging to the esteemed tradition of Disney animation.

Big sister/guardian Nani does not make the greatest first (or second) impression on social services worker Cobra Bubbles. Evil genius inventor Jumba Jookiba and Earth expert Pleakley track Stitch throughout the film.

A decade later, the film seems to warrant being labeled 2D animation's last hurrah. Sure, there have been other films produced in the medium, including some very good quite recent ones from Disney (The Princess and the Frog, 2011's Winnie the Pooh). But when Disney Animation announces its next films will be produced in CG animation, it now seems more out of commercial responsibility than haste, bandwagonry, or short-sightedness. Since 2002, only The Simpsons Movie, an obvious outlier built on one of television's most beloved brands, has grossed more than Lilo & Stitch in traditional animation. Disney's great hand-drawn animators have had to choose between obsolescence and adapting to the prevalent new methods.

What all that does is attach some premature art-based nostalgia to this sci-fi family comedy. Nonetheless, I find Lilo & Stitch easy to watch, easy to value, and its appeal easy to understand. I just still can't bring myself to love the film.

Not aging terrifically, the film's faults have become easier to pinpoint. Both of the title characters are annoying in their own unique way. We are given plenty of reasons to sympathize with Lilo: she lost her parents, other kids are mean to her, her sister's absent both physically and emotionally. But her sassy, imaginative precociousness is very contrived. The reason that she is not like other girls is simply because that's the way that Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois have written her. From her Elvis idolatry to her acting out meant to make us laugh to her moments of cloying wisdom meant to make us cry, Lilo has lots of personality but it's quite artificial and designed to mirror and complement Stitch. The deadly yet harmless and adorable alien barely speaks English. Still, his parallel isolation is easy to spot, read into, and grant substance.

Before Stitch comes along, Lilo's best friend is Scrump, a doll she made by herself. Stitch does his best Elvis Presley impression on the beach of Kauai.

Disliking Lilo and Stitch is tantamount to disliking Elliott and E.T or Hogarth and The Iron Giant.
You're just not supposed to give this intergalactic friendship of outcasts anything less than your entire heart. But even if that duo wins you over, the movie around them might not. The science fiction elements are out there and peripheral, supplying obvious but insignificant conflict. The more prominent ohana stuff ("Ohana means family", you know), with its knowingly quirky exchanges, is more than a little mushy and not as funny as it thinks. Both threads come together in an overblown climax that feels like the last and biggest in a series of letdowns.

It might sound like I dislike Lilo & Stitch, but I do not. I consider it a good movie, not a great one. My assessment may seem harsh and it probably isn't altogether unrelated to the film's treatment. Eager to capitalize on their biggest (and only) in-house hit since Tarzan, Disney went a little overboard, wasting no time to develop this original movie into a wide-reaching franchise. A TV show was on Disney Channel by September 2003 and by then there had already been a direct-to-video movie (more a backdoor pilot than a sequel). Stitch became ubiquitous at the parks and briefly rivaled Mickey Mouse in merchandise.

Outside of Japan at least, the Stitch fandom seems to have faded just as quickly as it formed. Disney even showed Sanders and DeBlois the door when they didn't like how American Dog, the film that eventually became Bolt, was developing. The pair has since moved to DreamWorks, where their hit How to Train Your Dragon is in the midst of its own boom consisting of sequels, a TV show, and a stage spectacular. More recently, Sanders co-wrote/directed The Croods with Kirk De Micco.


Some proof that both Disney and the public have eased up in their enthusiastic embrace of Lilo & Stitch is found in the way this movie makes its Blu-ray debut this week, not as a highly-promoted special release, but as simply one of three millennial cartoons (the other two being The Emperor's New Groove and Atlantis: The Lost Empire) that are bundled with their direct-to-video sequels in 2 Movie Collection combo packs.

Lilo is paired with its official sequel, 2005's Lilo & Stitch 2, a production more ambitious and congruous to the original film than the alien-heavy movies that began and ended the "Lilo & Stitch: The Series."

Lilo's hula demonstration is disturbed by a glitching Stitch in "Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch."

This outing picks up mere weeks after the events of the first film. Stitch has begun exhibiting glitches (hence the subtitle Stitch Has a Glitch seen in the packaging but not the credits themselves), something Jumba traces back in a bit of retcon to his creation, in which he was never fully charged. Now, Jumba needs to fix his invention by building a fusion chamber, or else Stitch might just shut down for good.

The recurring malfunctions turn Stitch's eyes green and make him go crazy. Occasionally, his two hidden arms even emerge along with his destructive old ways. No one knows what's wrong with Stitch or even that anything is, which prompts Lilo (now voiced by Dakota Fanning) to grow upset with him as his goodness level drops. She is giving serious thought to the upcoming hula competition that her late mother won when she was Lilo's age.

Meanwhile, Pleakley (who along with Jumba poses unconvincingly as a wacky relative) seizes opportunities to dress in drag and try to help David (Jason Scott Lee) rekindle the romance in his three-week relationship with Nani.

Jumba and Pleakley pass themselves off as eccentric Pelekai relatives to hula teacher Kumu. Sisters Nani and Lilo share a tender ohana moment in the sequel.

This sequel is faithful to the original film, recalling specific exchanges and unfolding with more montages and additional Elvis songs. It drops the extraterrestrial layer and Cobra Bubbles without replacing them with anything, giving us more opportunities to spend with six central characters. Stitch (voiced again by Chris Sanders, his only real duty on this sequel) speaks a little more English, but remains true to his mischievous yet good self and unaccompanied by any of those 625 relatives the TV series cycled through.

Lilo & Stitch 2 shows more care than past DTV sequels. Its visuals, again set against watercolor backdrops, seem fit for theatrical release. Nonetheless, this is a very thin film -- end credits start rolling at the one-hour mark -- and a mediocre one. It's not a follow-up that will rile or enrage fans, fail or confuse those who haven't seen the first movie, or hold no appeal for anyone over the age of 10. But it's also nothing that will make you miss the heyday of DisneyToon Studios or thirst for a Lilo & Stitch 3.

Watch a clip from Lilo & Stitch:

Lilo & Stitch and Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch: 3-Disc Special Edition 2 Movie Collection Blu-ray + DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

1.66:1 & 1.78:1 Widescreen (DVDs Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Surround 2.0 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian); DVDs: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish); L&S2: DTS 5.1 (English)
BD Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian
DVD Subtitles: English SDH; DVD Films Closed Captioned
DVDs Closed Captioned; Most of Original Movie's Extras Subtitled Release Date: June 11, 2013 / Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (1 BD-50 & 2 DVD-9s)
Blue Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Lilo & Stitch still available as 2-Disc Big Wave Edition DVD (March 24, 2009) and Amazon Instant Video; Previously released as standard DVD (December 3, 2002)
Lilo & Stitch 2 still available on DVD (August 30, 2005) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

The opening moments of the original film confirm what Disney's fine track record with animated Blu-rays leads you to expect. Lilo & Stitch boasts terrific picture and sound. There is nary a flaw to be found in what is surely a direct digital 1.66:1 transfer and the same elements that earned one of the MPAA's more questionable PG ratings lend to an active and directional 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mix.

Lilo and Stitch don't always get along in their obligatory direct-to-video sequel "Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch."

Lilo & Stitch 2 maintains the same high standards. Its 1.78:1 transfer easily represents one of the efforts of which DisneyToon Studios should be proudest. Its video perfection is complemented by another engaging,
aggressive 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that is full of life and suitable effects.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The packaging of this combo pack isn't just being coy about the contents. Shockingly, no bonus features whatsoever are included on Blu-ray. Considering the wealth of supplements that the original movie has gotten on DVD, that's disappointing to be sure. It prevents this from being the film's definitive release and requires completists to either hold onto or finally pick up the 2-Disc Big Wave Edition DVD that seemed untimely in 2009. At the very least, Disney could have included those fun, memorable teaser trailers in HD. I expect many Disney fans would be more apt to revisit those than Lilo & Stitch 2.

The Blu-ray opens with trailers for The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition, Monsters University, Super Buddies, and Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United. The Sneak Peeks listing plays promos for Disney Movie Rewards, Disney Infinity, Radio Disney, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh before repeating the others.

The DVDs included here are the same ones released before and available elsewhere. That is preferable to Disney authoring new discs that might have somehow watered down the vanilla Blu-ray Disc. For the original movie, we get Disc 1 of the Big Wave Edition, which holds more than you might expect of a two-disc set (the Big Wave Edition being one of Disney's most loaded).

The extras begin with an audio commentary by writer-directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois plus, apparently recorded separately, producer Clark Spencer. Theirs is a fairly serious and plenty informative discussion, which touches upon character and scene revisions, the voice cast, story philosophies, and changes born out of test audience reactions. Whether they're simply pointing out little things on screen or speaking about bigger issues (such as breaking filmmaking conventions with multiple montages and the changes necessitated by the September 11th terrorist attacks), the trio is engaging and passionate about their movie. The very best of the track is saved for last, as the A*Teens' end credits pop cover is amusingly celebrated.

Geckos of four different colors race in the best and least interactive of three simple Island of Adventures games. Hawaiian culture is celebrated in "DisneyPedia: Hawaii - The Islands of Aloha." When creating your own alien experiment, you'll want to start with a peanut butter sandwich.

A music video for "Your Ohana" (2:11) merely sets the sound of the Kamehameha Schools Children's Chorus to a montage of clips from the film. We never see the kids nor find out what this song is from or for.

Next up, we get three sample activities from 2003's long-forgotten DVD game Lilo & Stitch's Island of Adventures. "Gecko Race" lets you watch lizards of four different colors compete in a short race, having picked one to win. "Hamsterviel's Coconut Shell Game" uses coconut shells and a tiny alien for an experience similar to 3-card Monte. "Hamsterviel's Match Game" is a single trial twist on Concentration. These are all so brief and winning "experiments" means nothing without the game board, pogs, and interested friends. The section makes no genuine attempt to explain or promote where they come from.

The first bonus carried over from the movie's original DVD is "DisneyPedia: Hawaii - The Islands of Aloha". In it, Lilo and Nani aurally inform about the state as a whole, then go into detail about its six biggest islands (8:33) over footage of volcanoes, surfing, luaus, and aquatic life. It's a social studies lesson whose pacing may exceed its target audience's comprehension rate, but it's fairly edu-taining.

Another holdover is the set-top game "Create Your Own Alien Experiment." After answering three simple trivia questions on the movie, you have the privilege of guessing which order three substances should be mixed in to randomly produce an experiment. Though the process repeats itself three times, it never gets to be particularly fun (especially the guessing part).

Stitch joins Pinocchio on Geppetto's shelf in "A Stitch in Time." Brush up on your skills with this Hula Lesson. Wyonna (Judd, sister of Ashley) performs "Burning Love" in a music video/making-of featurette.

"A Stitch in Time: Follow Stitch Through the Disney Years" (3:30) is a fun little featurette that edits the blue alien into stills from a number of the studio's animated classics. David Ogden Stiers' narration explains Stitch's long previously undocumented history with Disney.

"Hula Lesson" (3:35) considers, showcases, and instructs the Hawaiian dance with comments from consultant/chanter Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu.

"Burning Love" (1:30) takes us behind the scenes with country singer Wynonna (Judd) as she performs the film-closing Elvis Presley cover and briefly discusses doing so.

Swedish pop band A*Teens perform their end credits cover of Elvis Presley's "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You" in this minimalist music video. Check out the situation! "Animating the Hula" shows the film's opening visuals align closely with the movements of real Hawaiian dancers. That's not Simba! Stitch crashes into iconic scenes from Renaissance Disney animated classics in brilliant teasers dubbed "Inter-Stitch-ials."

A more traditional but ridiculously short music video (1:00) is provided for since-dissolved Swedish pop band A*Teens' cover of Elvis' "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You."

In "Animating the Hula" (3:04), Sanders and DeBlois explain how they wanted to be respectful of the dance form. Split-screens and dissolves illustrate how animators accurately reproduced the reference footage of dancers at Ho'omalu's studio.

Closing out the disc are four "Inter-Stitch-ials", the aforementioned theatrical teaser trailers that introduced Stitch as a troublemaking intruder of Eisner Renaissance Disney classics Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King. Representing Disney's most brilliant promotional campaign in memory, these 65-second previews are extremely welcome here (a "Play All" option would have been nice). If you're wondering, his theme music is AC/DC's "Back in Black."

Curiously, save for a disc-opening company promo, the disc has no sneak peeks, possibly reflecting the years that passed between this set's original advertisement and eventual US debut ironically alongside Bolt.

The kids from Jump5 put their spin on "Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride" in this beach party music video. Stitch learns about the way Jumba made him in the short "The Origin of Stitch." Where's Pleakley? Search for the one-eyed alien amidst crowds in this inspired game.

Lilo & Stitch 2's one and only DVD, issued in 2006, includes four extras.

First up is a music video for Jump5's better than expected end credits cover of "Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride" (3:17).
It finds the since-disbanded teen pop band performing on a beach at day and a night during a Hawaiian-themed party.

Next comes the animated short The Origin of Stitch (4:38). In it, while tracking down his soccer ball, Stitch learns via secret file video of his monstrous origins, which Jumba clarifies for him.

Rounding out the disc are two games. One of Disney's best, "Where's Pleakley?" allows one or two players to creatively search for Pleakley a la Where's Waldo (Wally for those in the UK) books. Getting all the points available is a challenge. "Jumba's Experiment Profiler", meanwhile, has you tidy up Jumba's database by answering questions about the other 625 experiments. If you never watched the series, you are likely to be at a loss, but the game lets you keep on guessing until you get it right.

Lilo & Stitch 2's sneak peeks advertise Cinderella: Platinum Edition, Disney Movie Surfers' spots for The Greatest Game Ever Played and The Shaggy Dog, Leroy & Stitch, Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition, Kronk's New Groove, Bambi II (then Bambi and the Great Prince of the Forest, My Scene Goes Hollywood: The Movie, and "Kim Possible."

WHAT'S MISSING?

While every bonus feature ever attached to Lilo & Stitch 2 is preserved in the straightforward reproduction of its only DVD,
the film it follows doesn't fare as well. Found on the missing second disc of the Big Wave Edition DVD were an untitled comprehensive 125-minute making-of documentary, 21 minutes of deleted scenes and early versions, a number of "Documentary Footnotes" odds and ends including a Hawaiian research trip slideshow, Chris Sanders' pitch book, a storyboard pitch, and "Chalk Talk" animator lectures. Not seen since the film's original 2002 DVD are the 19-minute "On Location with the Directors" and the shorts "Young Voices of Hawaii" and "The Look of Lilo & Stitch", the first two of those being rendered irrelevant as they are expanded into the documentary. For more info on the Big Wave Edition's bonus disc, see our complete review.

Slapping listings on a surfboard next to recycled cover art, Lilo & Stitch's Blu-ray menu is anything but impressive. By comparison, the watercolor-driven main menu of the recycled first disc of the 2009 Big Wave Edition DVD seems beautiful and inspired.

MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

An integral part of Disney's fast and easy catalog Blu-ray authoring, each movie gets a scored, static menu. The Blu-ray does not resume playback or allow you to set bookmarks, an authoring limitation the studio should have gotten around several years ago, as other studios have. The DVDs' animated menus show more artistry and creativity.

The gray DVDs are stacked across from the blue Blu-ray disc that is covered by Disney Movie Rewards and Disney Movie Club inserts. The blue keepcase is topped by an embossed cardboard slipcover.

Stitch wreaks havoc on a model San Francisco he quickly constructs inside Lilo's bedroom.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The main attraction of this 2 Movie Collection, the Blu-ray shared by Lilo & Stitch and its official sequel, delivers superb feature presentations and nothing else. You expect a film's newest release to be, if not necessarily complete and definitive, then at least its best edition to date. In terms of picture and sound, this set easily is. In terms of bonus features, though, it's not even close to what the original film's 2-Disc Big Wave Edition offers. Fans will have to make peace with getting both that low-priced set for its bonus disc and this reasonably-priced one for the hi-def presentations. It does, however, seem silly and unnecessary to make fans either choose between A/V and bonus features or buy the same film twice to get both. The unfortunate thing is Disney can get away with it because they're Disney and many of their animated features inspire devotion above and beyond the average film.

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Past Releases:
Lilo & Stitch: 2-Disc DVD 1-Disc DVD Instant Video / Lilo & Stitch 2: DVD Instant Video

Related Reviews:
New: The Emperor's New Groove (2 Movie Collection) Escape from Planet Earth My Neighbor Totoro Shanghai Noon & Shanghai Knights
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Bolt The Fox and the Hound The Lion King Pocahontas The Hunchback of Notre Dame Mulan
Lilo Leroy & Stitch Elvis: That's the Way It Is The Ring Catch Me If You Can

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Reviewed June 11, 2013.



Text copyright 2013. DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2002-05 Walt Disney Pictures, 2005 DisneyToon Studios, and 2005-2013 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.
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