July 15, 2008

Stitch! The Movie (2003)

Stitch! The Movie is yet another of Disney’s sub-par, direct-to-video films created to make a fast buck on the success of a popular, well-done original (others include Lady and the Tramp II, The Return of Jafar (Aladdin II), The Lion King II, The Lion King 1 1/2, and Cinderella II and III).

In this uninspired sequel, we find aliens Pleakley and Dr. Jumba (who pursued Stitch in 2002’s Lilo & Stitch) living with Lilo, her sister Nani, and Stitch (aka Experiment 626). What nobody knows is that Dr. Jumba has brought along the 625 other experiments with him, each in a “deactivated,” marble-sized shape. Captain Gantu (the baddie from the first film) is sent back to Earth by rodent-like Dr. Hamsterviel (get it?), who constantly yells in a grating faux-German accent. Gantu’s mission: Bring back the 625 experiments for Hamsterviel’s own evil purposes.

With Stitch! The Movie, gone is the warmth of the original Lilo & Stitch and replaced with animation and dialogue that could’ve come from any B-grade, 2-D Saturday morning cartoon. A few of the bigger scenes show sparks of classic, fluid Disney animation, but they’re not enough to salvage this “movie” (its running time is barely over an hour). This film is a perfect example of the direct-to-DVD titles that have devalued the Disney brand for the past decade – to the point where parents now trust the Pixar brand more than Disney for their family entertainment (and rightfully so).

Unfortunately, the ending of Stitch! The Movie leaves the door wide open for sequels – which Disney has already exploited with the direct-to-DVD titles Lilo & Stitch 2 and Leroy & Stitch. I don’t know if these films continue the story from Stitch! The Movie. Frankly, I don’t care – and neither should you. There are so many better Disney films (not to mention every Pixar film) to share with your kids. See them. Don’t see this.

Rating: 1.5 stars (out of 5).

Will your kids like it?
  • My 5-year-old son was entertained by Stitch! The Movie (in fact, he’s viewed it repeatedly, to my chagrin). But he asked a million questions while watching it – which means the plot is either too complex or too muddled for children his age. A sampling of his questions: “What happened?” “Why did he do that?” “Why is he mad?” “What is he doing?” “What are they doing?” “What’s that?” “What did they do?”
  • Also, I was surprised at a couple doses of questionable language. Dr. Jumba cheers on Stitch as Stitch chases Captain Gantu in their respective spaceships, telling Stitch to send a phaser “right up his afterburner.” Later, the butt fixation resurfaces as Gantu describes Stitch as a “pain in the rear.” I know, it’s not Scarface, but I didn’t think that kind of dialogue was appropriate for the audience who would see this film.
  • There’s also a moment near the end where Stitch faces the possible fate of being sliced in half by a laser beam at the hands of Dr. Hamsterviel. It passes relatively quickly, but still…

Will your FilmMother want to see it?
Even if she liked Lilo & Stitch, tell your FilmMother to avoid Stitch! The Movie. (I did a lot of internal groaning and eye-rolling as I sat through it.) Again, choose any Pixar movie or any of the many classic Disney titles instead.

Stitch! The Movie
* Directors: Tony Craig, Roberts Gannaway
* Screenwriters: Roberts Gannaway, Jess Winfield
* Stars (voices): Daveigh Chase, Chris Sanders, Tia Carrere, David Ogden Stiers, Kevin McDonald, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jeff Bennett
* MPAA Rating: G

Buy this movie for less at Half.com >>


Gemma said...

Well, I thought I left a comment here, but it must be floating around somewhere in cyber-space! I'll try again.

Great blog! I'm sure you will attract a large following once other daddies (and mommies) find out about it.


Rich said...

Great Blog! As a dad with limited free-time and limited access to the outside world I appreciate any insights on films worth watching.
Thank you.

re: "Lilo and Stitch, The Movie"... My kids sat through the first half of it (twice) then lost interest (twice). I liked some of the action sequences.
I believe that Walt Disney is rolling over in his cryogenic-frozen-grave with the way his company has been run into ground by profiteers with no vision of quality or the future. Disney Co. should thank God for the Pixar partnership and Steve Jobs (to the rescue).

FilmFather said...

Rich, I couldn't agree more. Pixar basically saved Disney from becoming an obsolete dinosaur in the full-length animated movie business. Seriously: Name the last great Disney, non-Pixar movie you saw in theatres? Exactly.

I mean, how dumb could Disney (aka Michael Eisner) be to almost let their Pixar partnership fall apart a couple of years ago?

Mark Kéy-Balchin said...

Meh, I thought it had its charms. But then, I am a fan of the TV series (which this movie is the pilot to, and which Leroy and Stitch ends.)

L&S 2: Stitch Has A Glitch was written and directed by the same guys who made the first movie (Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois), and is definitely a heck of a lot better than the other DTVs. It was originally going to be a theatrical release ala The Rescuers Down Under, but they apparently scrapped those plans after one of the other sequels didn't do as well as they hoped.


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