Disney’s animators accomplished something rather herculean with Lilo & Stitch: they managed to create a character that for much of the film is completely unlikable and irritating and yet by the end had worked their magic and made him affecting and lovable. Lilo & Stitch has proven to be the last really giant hit from Disney’s traditional animation wing (The Princess & the Frog didn’t quite earn that reputation), but despite its themes of the worth of individuals in spite of their peculiarities and the importance of family, Lilo & Stitch still doesn’t quite have the magic of the best of Disney’s late period classics. The made-for-home video sequel included in this new two movie set is a tolerable follow-up to the original feature.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1, 1.66:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Other
Run Time: 1 Hr. 25 Min., 1 Hr. 9 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVDkeep case with slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 06/11/2013
Lilo & Stitch – 3.5/5
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
Lonely and unliked Lilo (Daveigh Chase) has a short temper and is causing enough problems that the DSS has sent an inspector (Ving Rhames) to determine if she needs to be removed from the home where her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere) is the sole breadwinner after the deaths of both parents. Taking Lilo to pick out a pet as a companion, Lilo chooses a strange, aggressive animal that’s actually an escaped alien from another world who is hiding on Earth from his scientist-inventor Jumba (David Ogden Stiers) and his assistant Pleakley (Kevin McDonald) who are on Earth searching for him in Hawaii where he landed. She names her new pet Stitch (director Chris Sanders) whose sole purpose for creation was to destroy things, and that’s what Stitch does as soon as he gets home, causing enough damage and mayhem to make DSS agent Bubbles decide to remove Lilo from the topsy-turvy environment.
While the Hawaiian locale is a nice change of pace and there’s plenty of Elvis tunes on the soundtrack (for some reason that’s never explained, Lilo loves The King), the movie’s mix of slapstick destruction and sentimental paeans to ʻohana (Hawaiian for “family”) is rather predictable (but darned if the writers/animators don’t do their jobs and make that ending a tear jerking triumph). There’s a really funny moment when after watching Tarantula! (or something similar) on television, Stitch builds a model of San Francisco and plays a monster on the rampage, and some of the animation is tops (including a surfing sequence that’s beautifully executed). The amount of noisy destruction and disruption is rather excessive in the movie (for me, at any rate; kids love it) and prevents it from entering into the pantheon of great Disney classics, but it did score the studio an Oscar nomination for best animated feature. The voice actors all do their jobs to perfection including the eccentric comedy work of the film’s stumblebum alien stalkers: David Ogden Stiers and Kevin McDonald and their planet’s grand councilwoman played by the redoubtable Zoë Caldwell.
Lilo & Stitch 2 – 3/5
Two problems make up the plot of this made-for-home video sequel: Lilo (Dakota Fanning) is planning to enter an original hula contest for seven year olds and is depending on Stitch (Chris Sanders) to help her work out a routine they can do together. Stitch, however, is the other problem. His energy charge was never fully implemented when he was created, and now he’s running down and at the mercy of erratic surges which revert him to his previously destructive ways. Unless Dr. Jumba (David Ogden Stiers) and Pleakley (Kevin McDonald) can invent a recharging chamber for him, Stitch is going to cease to exist.
Though the film is barely more than an hour in length, it seems almost twice as long with its plodding plotting (screenplay by Tony Leondis, Michael LeBash, Alexa Junge, and Eddie Guzeilan) and the return (in fits and starts) of the angry Lilo and the destructive Stitch from the first film though with far less comic consistency. Most everyone is back and very welcome this time around (Dakota Fanning takes over as Lilo but sounds remarkably similar to the original voice work of Daveigh Chase), but there is far less emphasis on simple morals about family and friendship than before. Those who loved the first film will be happy to see their beloved characters again, and the animation is comparable to the original’s lush water color look despite an obviously lower budget with this home video sequel.
The two films are presented in their respective aspect ratios of 1.66:1 and 1.78:1, both offering 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. The transfers are both reference quality with strong, solid lines that never show any aliasing and colors that are quite beautifully saturated to accurately represent the water color look both films boast. Black levels are nice and deep, and there is no banding to be seen anywhere in either transfer. The original film has been divided into 30 chapters while the sequel has 12 chapters.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA
Lilo & Stitch – 4.5/5
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
Lilo & Stitch 2 – 5/5
Both transfers offer DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mixes (the original also has a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix available). The rich music scores of both films with their Elvis songs and other tunes (Wynonna offers her own impressive version of “Burning Love” in the original) get wonderful spread through both the fronts and rears. The original film doesn’t use the rear channels as much as it could have with the amount of destruction and noise that’s present on the soundtrack, but the spread across the front channels is strong. Both mixes feature clear and well recorded dialogue that’s in the center channel, but the sequel features fairly aggressive directionalized dialogue that’s always welcome. The LFE channel does get a nice workout in the original film.
None of the bonus features from the original DVD release of Lilo & Stitch have been ported over to the Blu-ray package. For fans of the film, this will be most disappointing.
Special Features Rating: 0/5
Promo Trailers: The Little Mermaid, Monsters University, Super Buddies, and Heroes United, among others.
DVD copies of both films are stacked on the same spindle in the package.
The Blu-ray transfers of Lilo & Stitch and its made-for-video sequel are all fans of the movies could ask for, but Disney once again disappoints by not porting over any of the bonus material previously available.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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