Blu-ray Review: Lilo & Stitch and Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch

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Debuting on Blu-ray is one of the more beloved Disney animated features of recent years, Lilo & Stitch (2002). For the uninitiated, imagine an animated combination of E.T. and Gremlins with a little girl at the center of it all. As with many of Disney’s animated Blu-rays, the main feature is accompanied by a direct-to-video sequel. In this case we get Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch. Also the case more often than not, this sequel is really an unnecessary retread but a nice added-value element.

Lilo & Stitch begins as a straight-up sci-fi film, with an overly aggressive, genetically-engineered alien creature escaping the mother ship by hijacking a shuttle to Earth. Once in our world (Hawaii, specifically), this little blue ball of energy is adopted by a young, Elvis-loving girl named Lilo (voiced by Daveigh Chase). The girl believes this thing is actually a dog, names him Stitch, and treats him like a pet. Her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere) goes along with it, grateful that her tempestuous sister has something to focus on. The young ladies lost their parents in an accident and Nani has struggled to be both sister and mother to the much younger Lilo.

Lilo & Stitch elvis (380x227).jpgA very gentle atmosphere keeps Lilo & Stitch charming as it cruises through a brisk 85 minutes. Aliens from Stitch’s world are after him, attempting to capture him. This allows for some cat-and-mouse tension, but mainly the film focuses on the two title characters and their calming effect on one another. Each is a bit of a wild child and they benefit from each other’s presence. It’s a fairly typical scenario of two outcasts becoming unlikely friends, but it’s done tastefully and laced with healthy doses of heart and humor.

Stitch Has a Glitch runs an even brisker 68 minutes, delivering something much more appropriate for a Disney Channel special than a feature film. It’s probably fun enough for younger, less discerning fans of the characters. Dakota Fanning steps in for Chase as the voice of Lilo this time. While Lilo is preparing for a competitive May Day festival performance, Stitch starts having recurrences of his dangerously aggressive behavior. This is the “glitch” of the title and it makes Lilo’s efforts to effectively ready herself for competition all the more difficult. Dr. Jumba (David Ogden Stiers), the bullish alien who created Stitch, returns to try and stabilize the little guy. It’s harmless fun for the small fries.

Vivid colors and crisply defined animation make the 1080p transfers for each film winners. Disney animation fans have no reason to avoid this upgrade as Lilo and its sequel both look terrific in high definition. Each movie received a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The first film makes better use of the full audio spectrum, especially during the action-oriented sci-fi sequences that open the film. The much lower budgeted, direct-to-video sequel is less interesting in terms of directionality and such, but its dialogue and music sound no less clear (though a bit lacking in the low end).

Lilo & Stitch hammock (380x234).jpgAs with the recent Blu-ray version of The Emperor’s New Groove, there are no special features on the Blu-ray disc. None whatsoever. The two-movie collection is, however, a three-disc set that includes standard DVDs of Lilo & Stitch and Stitch Has a Glitch. There are supplements included on these, meaning you’ll have to switch to standard definition if you want to hear the audio commentary (first film only) or watch the various music videos and featurettes.

Collector’s take note: you won’t be able to ditch your previous Big Wave Edition DVD of Lilo & Stitch because the two-hour documentary from disc two of that release is nowhere to be found. It’s great having these films on Blu-ray, but it’s too bad Disney didn’t go the extra mile to make it a definitive edition.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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