Stitch! The Movie (2003) FILM REVIEW
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 5th October, 2018
In this straight to video spin off to Disney’s “Lilo & Stitch”, we discover that Jumba has been secretly hiding the other 625 experiments, in the form of little tiny pods, and they can come to life once in contact with water. Jumba’s former colleague Dr. Hämsterviel, kidnaps Jumba with help from ex-galactic federation captain Gantu, and tells Lilo & Stitch that they’ll need to send all the other experiments, or they won’t see Jumba alive. There’s one big problem though, Lilo & Stitch already dehydrated a pod for an electricity experiment (that Lilo names Sparky), to help them recharge their spaceship, can they find it in time for the ransom delivery?
Despite it’s title, this isn’t actually a movie per se, but rather an hour long pilot for the “Lilo & Stitch” TV series, so those expecting a cinematic Stitch-centric film maybe disappointed, because the focus is on setting up the television show. As a TV pilot, it does it’s job fine, introducing the elements that’ll dictate the formula for every episode, letting fans know what to expect in the long run.
The film might have very high stakes, but it goes for a fluffy light tone, treating the kidnapping as more of a comedic farce than a genuine dilemma. Sure, the first film was pretty wholesome and laid back, but it would know when to take tension seriously. Of course, the comedy provides some decent zingers, but the jokey nature of the storytelling also downplays the severity of Jumba’s kidnapping, and that makes the Sci-Fi Adventure aspect less exciting.
However, once our heroes meet Hämsterviel for the ransom exchange, the film gives the action & drama more weight, pressuring Lilo to choose between saving Jumba or protecting the experiments, and the Galactic Federation even step in to amp things up. This finale is the movie’s strongest act, as this is when the tension rises, with our heroes being put in a tight spot, and the villains are given the upper hand, but I do wish that the film had the same gravitas in the first 40 mins.
The animation is nowhere near as good as the first film’s, but that’s to be expected from a straight to video production, and it’s at least easier than eyes compared to the cheap looking TV Show. Don’t expect to see exotic visuals as pretty as the original film’s either, because the film doesn’t have much interest in capturing Hawaii’s atmosphere, preferring to get on with the story in hand, which is sad, because Hawaii is what makes this franchise so unique. The comedy is sorely let down by the standard level of animation too, seeing as characters are being limited in expressiveness, so many comedic sequences aren’t as funny as they could be, because the character animation lacks pzazz.
To Conclude, “Stitch: The Movie” bumbles along at the start, treating it’s high stakes with little dignity, but once we draw to the final act, the excitement kicks in, and we can finally get invested in the drama. It’s also nice to see the film carry on the original’s message about family, by having Stitch discover the revelation that he has relatives, and our heroes get to defend their right to live (Oh and it’s super cute seeing Stitch meet his cousin Sparky). Hämsterviel makes for a great comedic antagonist too, with his colourful insults and bad temper; he would go on to make for an entertaining running foil in the TV series.
As a film, it’s an okay effort for a Disney straight to video release (I’d watch it over Hunchback 2 or Belle’s Magical World any day), but it’s main strength lies in how it sets up the TV show, as that’s it’s main purpose after all. If you want to see where the “Lilo & Stitch” franchise goes after the first film, it does help to see this entry; it’s not crucial viewing, but it fills in the gap before the TV show and final film.
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Posted on October 5, 2018, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.
I actually like Stitch the Movie and Leroy & Stitch more than Lilo & Stitch 2 mainly because Lilo & Stitch 2 felt like it tried to recapture the magic of the first film with poor results due to bad writing and stupid scenes. I like how the TV show still kept the message of the first film while doing its own thing. Will you review Leroy & Stitch at some point?
Leroy & Stitch will be my next written review
What are your thoughts on the “Lilo and Stitch” TV Show?
Whoa, you did NOT just say that Lilo & Stitch: The Series has bad animation! I know it’s made for TV, but there is still a lot of effort put into that TV series to make it feel like the original Lilo & Stitch even if the movements became a little rougher due to limitations from the big screen to the small screen.
He didn’t say the animation was bad. He just said it doesn’t look as good as the first film but he still pointed out that it’s to be expected for a tv series. As a tv show, it looks decent even though there were a lot of corners cut. By the way. What are your thoughts on the tv series?
The TV series is a good fun monster of the week show, nothing more and nothing less
I was asking kieranstark but I agree. It’s a show I think kids can get a lot out of and I appreciate how it still contains the morals of the first film whilst also putting a unique spin on it by expanding the alien universe in the franchise. I loved it as a kid but I’d be lying if I said it was as good as I remember as the formulaic writing and cheap animation is a lot more noticeable and distracting as an adult.