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Lilo Leroy & Stitch DVD Review

Buy Leroy & Stitch from Amazon.com Leroy & Stitch
Movie & DVD Details

Directors: Tony Craig, Bobs Gannaway

Voice Cast: Daveigh Chase (Lilo), Chris Sanders (Stitch, Leroy), David Ogden Stiers (Jumba), Kevin McDonald (Pleakley), Tia Carrere (Nani), Kevin Michael Richardson (Gantu), Rob Paulsen (Reuben), Jeff Bennett (Hamsterviel), Zoe Caldwell (Grand Councilwoman), Bobcat Golthwait (Nosy), Jillian Henry (Elena), Lili Ishida (Yuki), Liliana Mumy (Myrtle), Ving Rhames (Cobra Bubbles), Tara Strong (Angel), Kali Whitehurst (Teresa)

Songs: "Aloha Oe", "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", "Hawaii Five-O Theme", "Jailhouse Rock", "Don't Be Cruel", "Aloha E, Koma Mai"

Running Time: 73 Minutes / Rating: G
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English); Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

DVD Release Date: June 27, 2006
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $26.99
White Keepcase with Side Snaps

In the course of just four years, the well-received animated film Lilo & Stitch has grown into a franchise more expansive than most features (Disney or not) ever do. The 2002 flick got the obligatory direct-to-video sequel Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch last summer, but two years earlier than that, the company had already adapted its first (and last) in-house cartoon blockbuster since Tarzan to the small screen, with August 2003's direct-to-video Stitch! The Movie setting up a show that would make its way to the Disney Channel and ABC that fall. The premise for this half-hour series was that if Stitch was Experiment 626 (as it was repeatedly stated in the movie), then there must be 625 other oddball creations of Dr. Jumba Jookiba somewhere out there.

This ambitious setup opened up vast "Pokémon"-like possibilities: over time, an enormous cast of quirky aliens -- Stitch's "cousins" -- was unveiled. As for the original movie's existing principal lot of characters (itself composed of more quirky aliens and a few offbeat humans), not only were these personas largely retained,
but so were their original voice cast members, from budding young film star Daveigh Chase (Lilo) to the movie's director Chris Sanders (Stitch), with few exceptions. As the feisty blue extraterrestrial was taking hold of the shelves of Disney stores and theme parks (via "Talk to Stitch" at Disneyland's Innoventions and Stitch's Great Escape in Walt Disney World), he was also captivating a more ardent and diverse fanbase of television viewers than most of the company's cable offerings (primarily tween-oriented comedies) could claim.

In typical Disney Channel fashion, only 65 episodes of "Lilo & Stitch: The Series" were produced and the show's success ensured that the last few episodes have been ever so slowly eking out while reruns fill the airwaves 'round the clock. For instance, only four episodes have debuted in 2006, two of them on last Friday. As has become increasingly common for the cable network's fare, when the time to bid "aloha" (as in "goodbye") to the show arose, a feature-length send-off was devised. This is exactly what Leroy & Stitch is.

Jumba, Pleakley, Stitch, and Lilo are commended by the Grand Councilwoman. Lilo is bummed (what a surprise) at the prospect of her extraterrestrial friends leaving Hawaii.

With all 625 evil experiments having been caught and rehabilitated, at the start of Leroy, the Galaxy's ruling Federation calls a congregation with four individuals at the foreground: once-outcast orphaned young Hawaiian girl Lilo (voiced again by Chase), the partially-domesticated, partially-intelligible Stitch (Sanders), the massive, accented, four-eyed Jumba (Disney's go-to guy David Ogden Stiers), and the three-legged, two-tongued, one-eyed beanpole agent Wendy Pleakley (Kevin McDonald). The four friends are each honored: Lilo is made ambassador to Earth, Jumba is given the key to his old long-closed laboratory, Pleakley is offered an Earth expert position at the Galactic Alliance Community College, and Stitch becomes Captain of the Galactic Armada and the proud new owner of a BRB (Big Red Battleship).

All seems right, until the gang realizes that accepting their awards would require a parting of ways. So, Stitch, Jumba, and Pleakley reluctantly return to the island of Kauai and the now-ordinary existence it offers. After a series worth of Hawaiian episodes, you might hope for something different, in which case your wish is granted when Lilo decides that her three out-of-this-world buddies should split up and blaze their own trails. Unfortunately, the intergalactic treats promised turn out to be not so treasurable without companionship, but before we can get a moral and the umpteenth invocation of "ohana" (in the unlikely case that you've either forgotten or are choosing this review as your introduction to all things Stitch, "'ohana' means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten"), chaos breaks out.

This chaos can be traced directly to the malicious red-eyed rodent-esque alien Dr. Hämsterviel, who, upon escaping prison, "forcibly forces" Jumba to make an evil new creation. This experiment is, more or less, a red and evil version of Stitch, who Hämsterviel dubs Leroy. The petite doctor expects Leroy to help undo all the good that Lilo and Stitch have done. He sends Leroy out to oust Stitch as captain of the BRB and capture the hundreds of reformed evil experiments now roaming about Hawaii. (The latter is depicted in an inspired montage set to the "Hawaii Five-O" theme.) To seal the deal, Hämsterviel creates an army of Leroy clones. Needless to say, it's up to the good guys to save the day. In addition to Jumba, Pleakley, Stitch and his various colorful cousins, Lilo gets special help from the sandwich-loving Experiment 625, to whom she finally gives a name (Reuben).

Even an earth rock, a community college chairman position, and a stylish wig can't keep Pleakley from missing his pal Jumba. Fresh out of prison, the evil Dr. Hämsterviel has some specific demands for the rotund Jumba.

Not being taken enough by the original movie to go Stitch-crazy, I never saw Stitch! The Movie or got into the show enough to see more than a snippet here and there. I can't say I disliked it; rather, I didn't have the time, interest, or Disney Channel access to really immerse myself in the series or even catch the odd episode. All that said, I was able to enjoy Leroy & Stitch rather easily and I suspect someone with a knowledge of the series will appreciate it even more. Those in that class will likely recognize some of the speechless aliens on display and surely better understand the character histories (especially that of Hämsterviel, who I can't remember at all from the first movie, even though he apparently held a cameo). But everyone else should have no problem following along, provided that, like me, they have seen the original film.
In this regard, though Leroy is intended to wrap up loose ends and bid farewell (for the time being, anyway) to the interesting world that Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois created, it also serves as a way to hook someone to the series who has missed three years' worth of stories and can catch up very easily with six episodes being offered daily between Disney Channel and digital cable's Toon Disney.

There is enough going on in Leroy to sustain the feature length, which at 73 minutes, outlasts both Stitch! The Movie and Stitch Has a Glitch. While there are symmetrically-spaced commercial fadeouts, Leroy boasts solid plotting and a sturdy enough single arc to illustrate definitively that this is no case of three standalone episodes being weaved together to cash in on the direct-to-video market (as opposed to 2005 best-seller Family Guy Presents: Stewie Griffin - The Untold Story). The film offers talented voice work from an accomplished cast. It also provides a fairly funny script, which occasionally teeters towards obnoxiousness, but mostly stays clear of it. For the most part, Leroy hits its marks, such as in a mildly amusing running gag between Hämsterviel and his henchman Gantu on the nature of rhetorical questions. The movie even finds room for Elvis, via a few songs which feel less thrown in for the soundtrack (there is none) than for their thematic usefulness, and some action (curiously, the MPAA has this time chosen to disregard the consistent level of "mild sci-fi violence" and grant a "G" rating which Stitch and Stitch 2 oddly missed).

Two final notes: 1) Fans of the TV series who have spent the past few years trying to compile a list of Jumba's experiments, the creators of Leroy have a special gift to you. The end credits include a fast-paced scroll on the left side of the screen which lists the names of all 626. 2) Though Leroy & Stitch seemed destined to be direct-to-video, just a few weeks ago, it was announced that the movie would air on television twice shortly before its DVD release. It did that last Friday on Disney Channel and last night on Toon Disney. While that makes little difference to anyone who missed the broadcasts, that explains this site's classification of it as a television movie and the front cover billing this as a "Disney Channel Premiere Presentation" (which suggests this wasn't the last-minute decision it otherwise appeared to be).

Leroy assumes the role of neighborhood bully as he single-handedly takes care of Stitch's 625 "cousins." Experiment 625 (now known as Reuben) and Lilo band together amidst the sandwich stacks.


It's a good thing this wasn't always intended for the Disney Channel, as then we probably wouldn't have gotten a widescreen presentation on DVD. But alas, it wasn't and we do indeed get a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer here. This doesn't leave any room for complaint, as the element is pristine, consistent, and compelling. The visuals, which aren't quite as pleasing as the original movie and its direct-to-video sequel, consist of fairly basic backgrounds with more satisfying foreground animation. There's no denying that this, the very definition of 2-D animation, is not without its appeal in this digital age.

Framing actually seems a little tight at the top of the frame, suggesting that perhaps a 1.33:1 presentation in line with the series was considered at one point (or even altogether employed). Without having the movie's "fullscreen" cable broadcast to compare with, I'm going to assume this 16x9 presentation is fine, represents the creators' intentions, and perhaps even contains more picture on the sides.

As can be expected, the film boasts a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and it does a very good job of conveying the audio of extraterrestrial-heavy Hawaii and beyond. The track can be grandiose when desired and there are a few impressive set pieces. As such, the DTS that is usually provided for Disney's direct-to-video efforts (including Stitch! The Movie and Lilo & Stitch 2) is slightly missed. But the DD mix fares well anyway, making good use of the sound field, boasting crisp recordings of the solid voice cast performances, and giving us our recommended Elvis dosage. The closest thing one can muster to a complaint is that the volume levels can be inconsistent, especially next to the disc's menus and bonuses.

Stitch can't seem to get Lilo and Myrtle un-"Link"ed in the DVD's never-before-seen bonus episode of "Lilo & Stitch: The Series." Do what the narrator tells you and you might succeed in the frustrating "Big Red Battleship Flight Simulator" game. Leroys run wild in the animated main menu.


With all the Stitch fare that Disney has created, Leroy is treated to a surprisingly lightweight slate of just two extras which hardly look back at the popular series which this DVD appears to conclude. Fortunately, one of the supplements has a running time longer than most bonus features: it is a complete, never-before-aired episode of "Lilo & Stitch: The Series", which fans should certainly gobble up.
Titled "Link" (22:38), this installment finds the oft-at-odds Lilo and Myrtle teaming up to uncover a treasure that a new pirate in town alerts them to. In the process, they come across Experiment 251, whose power is to bind together incompatible individuals. Needless to say, Lilo and Myrtle soon find themselves stuck at the arm, as do Jumba and Pleakley as well as Nani and Stitch. Presented in fullscreen and Dolby Surround, it's a fairly enjoyable episode and only the third of the show's 65 to ever turn up on DVD, but if DVD-premiere episodes on other shows' discs are a good indication, then it won't be long before it airs on Disney Channel too.

The only other extra is The Big Red Battleship Flight Simulator, a set-top game that proved very dang frustrating and stupid when played that way. In it, you take the controls of Stitch's new space cruiser and move up, down, left, and right to avoid debris, based on what the unseen narrator tells you. Several attempts of doing precisely as told at precisely the moment told to do it still didn't get me anything beyond a "Mission Aborted" sequence. After this, to mark every conclusion of the game is some brief Hämsterviel/computer banter which is amusing once but no more than twice. On the DVD-ROM, I was able to control it well (despite the fact this is of the kind that the same few actions happen whether or not you press anything) and was only treated to considerably prolonged gameplay plus more mildly amusing but gradually more distracting computer/Hämsterviel banter. Based on the 15 tries at television playback, I'd chalk this activity up as a poorly-designed failure, though anyone who can get it to work better should find some tiny entertainment value.

The start-of-the-disc auto-play previews provide looks at The Little Mermaid Platinum Edition, far-off theatrical release Meet the Robinsons, Disney Channel compilations "That's So Raven": Raven's Makeover Madness/"The Suite Life of Zack & Cody": Taking Over the Tipton, and High School Musical. As usual, additional promos can be found on the Sneak Peeks menu. This second batch, which plays automatically after the feature if the hands-free FastPlay mode is selected (which it is, by default), advertises The Shaggy Dog (2006), Little Einsteins: Mission Celebration!, Brother Bear 2, Spymate, and The Fox and the Hound: 25th Anniversary Edition.

The menus are simple but effective. The Main Menu offers the only animation, with a conveyor belt depicting the mass cloning of Leroy, while various copies of the red troublemaker, well, make trouble around the area. Selections of score accompany the various still submenus too. Inside the standard white keepcase (which comes with theft-deterrent side snaps) is a double-sided insert listing scene selection and extras (as well as promoting next month's Disney Channel DVDs) and a smaller insert which gives customers a chance to meet Stitch in a 5-day/4-night Walt Disney World vacation.

Stitch, Lilo, Jumba, and Pleakley size up their match. Send in the clones!


With close to zero experience with the TV show being concluded, I went into Leroy & Stitch with few expectations and only mild interest, but I found it to be an entertaining outing. I would imagine that practically anyone who is fond of the movie and series which came before should feel the same way, or maybe even more enthusiastically about this. While the opportunity for pre-release viewing via Disney Channel and Toon Disney has passed, any fan of the movie and especially the show should feel confident enough to buy without hesitation.

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Related Upcoming DVDs
That's So Raven: Raven's Makeover Madness (coming July 18 - Press Release & Discussion)
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Taking Over the Tipton (coming July 18 - Press Release & Discussion)
Twitches (coming September 5 - Press Release & Discussion)

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Reviewed June 27, 2006.