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Lilo & Stitch/Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2002/2005)

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/11/2013

All Ratings out of

Lilo & Stitch
Movie: 1/2
Video: 1/2
Audio: 1/2
Extras: No Extras

Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch
Movie: 1/2
Audio: 1/2
Extras: No Extras

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/3/2013

When you think of Disney what comes to mind? You think of a company which loves to take risks, right? Wrong! That's probably not even in the Top 10 thoughts triggered by the word "Disney". Disney hasn't gotten to be the mega-company which it is by taking too many risks (buying Marvel Comics and the rights to Star Wars may have been pricey, but they weren't great gambles). However, 2002's Lilo & Stitch certainly represents a departure for the company, as it's one of the most ambitious and gloriously strange movies in their catalog, yet it still stays true to many classic Disney themes.

Lilo & Stitch opens in outer space at an alien trial were Dr. Jumba (voiced by David Ogden Stiers) is accused of creating a monster, Experiment 626 (voiced by Chris Sanders). 626 escapes and Jumba and Pleakley (voiced by Kevin McDonald), a meek alien, are sent to retrieve it.

Meanwhile, Lilo (voiced by Daveigh Chase) is an odd little girl who lives on one of the Hawaiian islands. Her parents are deceased and she lives with her sister, Nani (voiced by Tia Carrere). Lilo loves Elvis, talks to fish, and has trouble relating to kids her age. When 626's spaceship lands on the island, he's taken to the dog shelter, where Lilo just happens to be adopting a pet. She's chooses 626 and names him "Stitch", despite the fact that Nani is disgusted by the creature. Lilo takes Stitch home, where the little monster immediately begins to destroy things. But, Lilo sees a kindred spirit in him -- someone who is lonely and completely misunderstood. As bad things continue to happen around Lilo and Jumba & Pleakley move in to take 626, Lilo and Stitch must learn to trust one another.

I've seen Lilo & Stitch many times, but watching it again for this review, I was once again struck by how odd this movie is. It really takes some chances by having the two main characters be unlikable in the early goings. Yes, we feel sorry for Lilo because of her situation, but she is very odd and it's clear that some of the decisions which she makes place her in certain situations. Stitch does some cute things in the beginning, but it's really hard to get behind a character who appears to be a psychotic bully. But, as the movie progresses, the two begin to grow on the viewer, and the fact that they are kindred spirits becomes the centerpiece of the film, leading to some touching moments.

Yes, Lilo & Stitch is an emotional film, but it's a funny one as well. There are some great site gags here. While there are some good "joke jokes" here, mostly from Pleakley, the biggest laughs in the movie come from little things, typically things which Stitch is doing in the background. Again, the humor comes from an odd, slightly off-center place, and I can see how less astute viewers would wonder what appeal people find the movie. But, for those who are quick-witted, you'll love things like Stitch being bored by the quarter-operated space ride.

If you look around at a lot of popular culture today (especially TV shows), it appears that quirky is in and I'm often surprised by just how relatively weird some mainstream things are today. But, that hasn't always been the case, and even a little over a decade ago, Lilo & Stitch stood out as an oddity. But, it contained just enough Disney magic for audiences to discover and embrace it. The film still holds up well today and despite an odd assortment of spin-offs, the original film remains the best.

Lilo & Stitch made me wonder why pet adoptions seem so much more expensive where I live on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 29 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing on grain and no defects from the source material. I was excited about seeing Lilo & Stitch on Blu-ray, and while it looks good, it doesn't look great. The most notable issue here is that the image doesn't have much depth. Yes, it's a 2D movie, but some scenes look especially flat. On the positive side, the colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, but it doesn't reveal any defects in the animation. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. As with the video, the audio is good, but not great. The stereo and surround sound effects are plentiful, but they don't pack much of a punch. Yes, the opening and the finale offers a lot of surround and subwoofer action, but it's not very detailed and simply doesn't satisfy.

Today, one must approach animated Disney sequels with the same caution that one would approach a strange dog or a road-side Bar-B-Q stand -- you never know what kind of mess your going to get into. Ever since the release of Return of Jafar (The longest 66-minute movie ever made.) Disney has put out several direct-to-video sequels to their theatrical animated hits and the results have been quite mixed at best. For every good one, there were two or three stinkers. In 2003, Disney released Stitch: The Movie onto an unsuspecting public who thought that it was a true sequel to the film Lilo & Stitch , but instead it was actually the pilot for a new "Stitch" TV show on The Disney Channel. Now, Disney has brought us a true successor to Lilo & Stich with Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch.

Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch appears to pick up after the TV series (which is quite odd, but it's fine by me). Lilo (voiced by Dakota Fanning) and Stitch (voiced by Chris Sanders) are the best of friends and are enjoying life. They live with Lilo's sister, Nani (voiced by Tia Carrere) and two weird aliens, Pleakley (voiced by Kevin McDonald) and Jumba (voiced by David Ogden Stiers). Lilo is thrilled when she learns that her hula class will be having a competition for a special ceremony on the island. She decides that Stitch will be her dancing partner and she becomes even more excited when she learns that her Mother once won the competition. However, things take a turn for the worse when the now docile Stitch begins to act very strangely and violently. Lilo is upset that he won't be able to dance with her and Stitch is worried that he may be reverting back to his evil ways, no matter how many good deeds that he does. With help from their friends, Lilo and Stitch will find a way to overcome this unusual threat.

Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch certainly isn't a perfect movie, but it may be the perfect Disney animated sequel (or at least one of the best), as it does many things right. First, it assumes that you've seen Lilo & Stitch and foregoes any unnecessary back-stories and characters introductions. Secondly, it has a very simple and straightforward plot. We learned in the first film that Lilo loves to hula dance and the central premise of the original was Lilo changing from a monstrous alien to a lovable friend. Bringing back those two ingredients makes Lilo & Stitch 2 easy to follow for younger viewers and easier to swallow for adults.

Lilo & Stitch 2 isn't a carbon copy of the original film, but its third and wisest move is to stick with the strengths of Lilo & Stitch. Most audience members loved the fact that Lilo was a sassy and sort of odd girl while Stitch was a wild and crazy alien and we get plenty of that here. I'm not sure why, but it always makes me laugh when Pleakley dresses like a woman (maybe it has to do with Kevin McDonald's days on Kids in the Hall) and the movie has several hilarious scenes where this happens. But the thing that Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch has the most of is heart. Despite the fact that we are watching an animated film about an alien, the friendship between Lilo and Stitch seems very real and the scenes in which is threatened are heart-warming and don't feel overly saccharine. Actually, the finale may be a bit too emotional for children. Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch does drag a bit in the middle, but at 68-minutes, it zips by and is a very satisfying sequel to one of Disney's best recent films.

Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch overcomes sequelitis on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 29 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. It's not surprising that this movie doesn't look as good as it's theatrical partner, but it offers an odd issue. The backgrounds look too much like the static paintings which they are, which makes the animated characters stand out too much. I can't decide if this effect gives the movie an arty or amateurish look. The colors look good and the lighting of the image remains well-balanced. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Now this is what I expected from the first movie. Even at low volumes, we can feel the power of this track, as it offers great surround sound and subwoofer effects. The effects are nicely detailed and the movement of the audio from the front to the rear is notable.

There are no extras whatsoever on this release.

Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.