DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Stitch! The Movie...(RECOMMENDED)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by DaViD Boulet, Aug 12, 2003.

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  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    [​IMG]



    Stitch!
    The Movie



    Studio: Disney
    Year: 2003
    Rated: G
    Film Length: 64 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9
    encoded 1.66:1 (pillarboxed)
    Audio: DD 5.1 (English, French), DTS 5.1 (English), 2.0 DD Spanish
    Extras: Experiment Finder (child's game), Trivia Challenge, "Aloha, E Komo Mai" Music Video (4x3 Lbxed, 5.1 DD), Experiment Gallery
    Release Date: August 26, 2003

    Movie...

    Stitch! is one of those Disney direct-to-video sequels following on the heels of success of a theatrical precursor (in this case, Lilo & Stitch). But don't let that discourage you if you're a fan of the first film or if you've got kids who would enjoy a new Stitch installment. While not quite as developed as the first theatrical film (both in story and in animation), Stitch! is entertaining and is infused with enough intelligent humor to keep adults engaged. My partner and I chuckled more than once out loud, and in some cases we had to rewind the movie because we had laughed over some dialogue and missed something.

    Story...

    First, don't bother seeing this movie (or even reading this part of the review) if you haven't first seen Lilo & Stitch. Nothing will make sense without the background of the first film (...long pause for those who haven't already seen it...). Ok, now that you've just come back from having watched the first film, we pick up where we left off. Remember how Stitch was experiment number 626? Well didn't you ever wonder about the other 625? Without giving away too much of the complex-Hitchcockian plot development, Lilo and Stitch find out about the other experiments and must save them from the evil Captain Gantu. Will they succeed or is the doom of the other 625 experiements at hand?

    shocking surprise: They SUCCEED!


    Ok just trust me--it's fun and if you liked the first movie and can handle this film not quite measuring up to quite the same polish and craft as the first theatrical film, you'll enjoy yourself and have a good time. Really! Stop looking at me like that! [​IMG]

    As fate would have it, this movie ends right where another movie (or TV series) is poised to begin... (note: There is a rumor that an SE is planned for a January release. Casual viewers may choose to wait and see, but I encourage anyone who's a Stitch fan to go ahead and get this DVD and enjoy it now...I think it sets the stage for the TV series to follow so if you're anticipating becoming a loyal Stitch-series watcher you owe it to yourself watch this DVD before the series debuts.)

    Picture...

    Ok, it's back to the 16x9 34" 480P direct-view grindstone for this one (as opposed to my friend's front projection set-up). Siiighhhh.

    Anyway, as with many similar direct-to-video animations from Disney these days, you won't be disappointed in the picture. Perhaps just the least bit softer than some of the other "reference" material out there, but chances are the DVD is presenting the animation they way it really looks. This animation is rendered beautifully on DVD and comes across very natural, smooth, and free from "video" artifacts. You can get very close to the screen and the image maintains its clarity and definition and doesn't dissolve into a video-looking blur. The (film based?) field/frame cadence seems to be properly flagged for progressive playback and doesn't have any disjointed field/frame edits from sloppy video mastering; I noticed no combing artifacts on the feature film and my Panny RP91 Progressive-scan DVD player tends to trust frame-flags when they are present (for instance, I did see some combing from time to time on the Cinderella 2, dreams-come-true DVD).

    Colors are rich and vibrant, Black level is solid. No distracting compression noise that I could detect. Moving close (real close...like closer than 1 screen width away) to the screen I *may* have seen the slightest haloing from time to time but nothing that would have been obvious from a 30 degree viewing angle. Overscan on my monitor typically hides the vertical "pillarboxing" bars that frame the left/right of a properly 16x9-encoded 1.66:1 transfer. Those of you with computer monitors or well-calibrated front-projection systems might see vertical black bars on the right/left of the picture. Never fear... this is the way to properly present 1.66:1 material on DVD with the highest resolution possible and allows viewing on 16x9 displays without cropping picture content at the top/bottom of the frame as you'd get with the normal "zoom" effect on a 4x3-lbxed 1.66:1 transfer. Thanks Disney for continuing your fine tradition of presenting 1.66:1 material in a 16x9 frame! Ok, stepping down from my 16x9-shaped soapbox now...

    Picture Rating:

    Picture: 5 / 5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Sound...

    The 5.1 mix is well delivered. I honestly was hoping for a bit more surround activity, but what is there (mostly a sporadic effect from time to time) is acceptable. The surrounds are also used effectively for "atmosphere" to help pull the the musical score out from the front mains and into the room. Dialogue is very clear and one volume setting seems to do a great job of providing easy-to-understand dialogue and still gives the soundtrack room for some more dynamic sound effects without needing to adjust the dial to keep things balanced. Speaking of dialogue, there's a bit of directionality that I always enjoy...when characters step off screen or sound-sources move across the screen (like a car driving by) the audio mix reflects this. The mix is full bodied, clear and natural, without a fatiguing edgy sound to highs or mids and has plenty of bass when called for. The DTS soundtrack sounds slightly louder, but even when compensating for this by adjusting the volume it seems to bring some refinement to the audio presentation. The DTS just adds that last level of focus and resolution to the audio that allows for pin-point imaging and more realistic soundstaging and musical timbres. Dialogue takes on a more believable presence with the DTS mix in my system. All in all a fine sounding disc.

    Sound: 5 / 5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Note: I try to have my audio/video scores reflect how faithful the DVD is in representing the source material...which does not necessarily reflect my opinion about that artistic choices made by the film's creators (such as how much use is made of the surround channels).

    Extras...

    This DVD is definitely oriented towards kids, and this is made abundantly clear by the bonus material. There is a sort of "find the monster" game where you use the directional pad on your remote to try to locate where some of the rogue experiments might be hiding on the screen. There's also a trivia challenge which kids may enjoy after having watched the film. There's an "experimental gallery" where you can check out the details of many of the "experiments" and read/hear about them.

    The coolest special feature IMO is the "Alohoa, E Komo Mai" music video made up of a montage of clips from the movie. Presented in 4x3 lbxed 1.78:1 (why isn't this 16x9???) it looks decent but did present some combing problems with my progressive-scan DVD player. Chances are this is due to edits in the video domain which occasionally leave one field without its other half making complete frame-reconstruction impossible...and the 3-2 pulldown/video deinterlacer of my player isn't fast enough to keep up with the alternating film/video/film field-cadence transition. Interlaced viewers will notice no problems at all, and if your deinterlacing is performed by a Faroudja chip you probably won't notice anything either. Audio is a rip-roaring 5.1 DD soundtrack and is well delivered. Like many "5.1" music tracks it makes hardly any use of the center channel and concentrates on the front L/R and rears (many mixing engineers shy away from the center channel in their 5.1 music mixes because they don't trust the often mis-matched center channel that many "surround sound" systems may employ). Hopefully as more and more consumers make use of properly timbre-matched center channels, audio mixers will utilize it more fully on more and more mixes...but this is a tangent we don't need to discuss here. Gosh, you know when you stack these soapboxes you feel really tall! [​IMG]

    Bottom line on the extras...they're fun for kids and the music video sounds great.

    Conclusion...

    A fun movie for those of you who like the original theatrical Lilo & Stitch or for those of you with kids who want to give them something to watch that's got enough intelligent humor to keep you from getting that glazed-over zombie look. Great picture, Great sound, and fun extras for younger children make it easy to recommend.
     
  2. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    Thank you Dave for your review...I know that partner dreads the 29th and this comes out. Our living room is overrun now by Friday the 13th/Jason items and posters as well as Stitch stuff...truly a scary site.

    Stitch is almost like a religion...MEEGA NA LA KWEESTA forever!

    (Now we wait till January for the Special Edition...oh the wait!!!!)
     
  3. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Ahhh...so an SE is on the way? Is that a certainty? If so, I should update my review to reflect it. Any details you can provide?

    I really did enjoy this DVD and I'm sure you will too. I've managed thus far to refrain from decorating with movie memorabilia but who knows...once we get a dedicated HT room all bets are off!

    dave [​IMG]
     
  4. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    Dave, it is rumoured to be coming January 24, 2004. Have yet to see concrete details, but hoping that it is true. I know that with the proposed series coming up, they more than likely want to get it out there (PLUS we both know that it has a huge following and Disney is all about the money...)

    Stitch is basically all over the house...where you go, there is a Stitch in sight.
     
  5. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    good to know. I'll update my review to reflect. BTW, it's clear to me now that this movie basically sets the stage for the upcoming series:


    at the end of the movie all of the remaining 625 "experiements" have been released into the world and only 3 get the chance to find a "place" where they can live happy and productive non-evil lives within the parameters of this story. So you sort of end with a "and now we'll have to find all the other experiements and make sure they each find a place to belong" speach and then the credits roll. Sounds like a kick-off for the TV serious to be sure!


    An SE would be great...but given how this movie most likely sets the premise for the TV show it would be important that they get it out now IMO.

    With such a great transfer for both image and sound...anyone tempted should just give-in and get it. Go to Costco and it shouldn't cost you much $$!

    dave [​IMG]
     
  6. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    Considering how mediocre the original did at the B.O., do you really think there is a chance for a SE? I am quite happy with the one-disc, to be honest, and I don't know that an SE could add much.
     
  7. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    Oh Justin you non-believer![​IMG]

    Stitch actually did well in the theaters and honesty is was Disney's only real hit of 2002.

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=lilostitch.htm

    Keep in mind, those figures are only the domestic box-office and not the international nor video sales made of that film. Not to mention the merchandise from the film.

    The film also placed 14th for the year of 2002:

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=lilostitch.htm

    ...and beat out many of what Hollywood thought was a sure-fire winner at the box-office.

    (Sorry, I am little defensive when it comes to Stitch...):b
     
  8. James L White

    James L White Supporting Actor

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  9. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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    The current disc is a watered-down version of a 2-disc that was prepared a while ago. The very good documentary is clearly trimmed down, for instance.
     
  10. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Nice review. I'll be picking this up for the kids (not that I could withhold it anyway).
     
  11. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Documentary?

    Luke...I didn't even see a "trimmed" version of a documentary on the disc. Are we talking about the Lilo & Stitch movie or the Stitch Movie in this review? Confused! [​IMG]

    -dave [​IMG]
     
  12. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    The SE in January is for LILO AND STICH. STITCH THE MOVIE will likely only have this DVD Release.

    Apparently the L&S 2 Disc was pretty remarkable. They'd worked out a really nice edition, and hand nearly completed work on it, when Disney decided to can the 2 disc SE and stick with the 1 disc editions that we've seen for Lilo and Treasure Planet.

    Since the work was finished for the L&S 2 disc, and there was -some- complaint that it wouldn't be released, both from consumers and from the DVD producers, it looks like Disney will move forward with the release.

    I myself am pretty sad that Disney cancelled the 2 Disc Collectors editions. I have all of them, and I was looking forward to getting more, at least for Mulan.
     
  13. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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  14. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    another great review. i really like your layout...very refreshing.

    i'll be buying this one sight-unseen for sure!
     
  15. Matthew_Millheiser

    Matthew_Millheiser Supporting Actor

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  16. JimmyK

    JimmyK Second Unit

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    Great review! I love your review style. I especially like the humor you insert into your reviews.

    Even though I won't be buying this title, I still enjoyed reading the review.

    Keep up the great work!

    JimmyK
     
  17. SimonI

    SimonI Extra

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    Nice review - I had filed this one under "Cheap Saturday Morning Style Sequel - Ignore" but having read this review will have to reconsider. L&S is one of the best Disney movies from the last twenty years!
     
  18. Lyle_JP

    Lyle_JP Screenwriter

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  19. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Yeah,

    honstly folks I really did like this movie and heartily recommend it to others who enjoyed the first film. Not quite as polished and developed as the first film...but worth watching and worth a purchase IMHO.

    dave [​IMG]
     
  20. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    I saw an advert for this on TV last night. Really Disney, did you have to release some DTV garbage? Granted, based on this review, the release sounds OK. However, the original film was only release a year ago, with the DVD still warm, so to speak.

    Disney HAS to lay of making DTV dreck, it cheapens the franchise. As an example, how the hell can there be a sequel to Beauty and the Beast? Did the end of the film not scream "closure?!?"

    .... Wondering when sequel to Bambi will be released with mother being alive, and Bambi no longer a young stag....
     

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