Lilo & Stitch has always been kind of an odd-one-out when it comes to the line of Disney animated films. Disney didn’t even make any attempt to hide that face either, with the original one-sheet filled with old Disney animation legends looking at Stitch in disgust, with the tagline “There’s one in every family.” printed right above Stitch’s head. This didn’t tell you much about the film, of course, except that this wasn’t going to be like the other Disney efforts in the past. Needless to say the difference factor paid off, as the film went on to gross nearly $275 million worldwide, spawn a TV-show spin off and even an completely new version adapted into a new series for Japan.
Get ready for the wildly original story about an independent little girl named Lilo and her adopted alien “puppy,” the mischievous Stitch, a runaway genetic experiment from a faraway planet. After crash landing on Earth, Stitch wreaks havoc on the Hawaiian Islands, but he also learns about loyalty, friendship and ‘ohana, the Hawaiian tradition of family. Now, catch the wave of fun and adventure in the Big Wave Edition jam-packed with games and awesome bonus features that take viewers behind the scenes of the movie. Experience LILO & STITCH like never before in the 2-Disc Big Wave Edition.
Lilo & Stitch was a film that I enjoyed but never as a kid. Obviously I was already “too old” for Disney films (i.e., that time in-between childhood and adulthood when Disney films aren’t “cool”) by the time this one hit theaters, but I did see it when it eventually hit home video. Despite only seeing it once, Lilo & Stitch was a film I instantly loved and washed away the recent years of mediocre 2D Disney releases (Tarzan and Hercules , while good, were nowhere near the level of past efforts). There was something that was just so refreshing about Lilo & Stitch that made it stand out from other Disney films of the past and while I didn’t realize it the first time I saw the film, watching it again now it was very evident what made it such a different experience.
Not only did the film eclipse past ratings of G into the PG territory, but the subject matter was also decidedly more adult. Lilo’s parents were killed in a car accident and she lived with her sister. On top of that Lilo was in danger of being separated from her only living family member by child services due to “unsuitable” living conditions. I am really amazed that Disney allowed this film come through with such strong subject matter, but I am very grateful they did—the films message about family really was one of the strongest and most forceful to come out of a Disney movie and one that didn’t feel like it was shoved down our throats.
Of course while the movie is about family at heart, on the surface it’s a movie about an alien fugitive who comes to Earth and disguises himself as a dog. This is just another unique angle as there hasn’t been a plot like this in past Disney flicks. Sadly it seemed like it was a little too “out there” for some individuals, as the film never quite caught on as a Disney classic. Sure it had spin-offs and plenty of merchandise, so it was certainly a success in that regard, but when people name quality Disney films, Lilo & Stitch is often either not included or added as an afterthought. Which is really quite a shame, as the film is solid in more ways than one.
Perhaps what adds to that forgetfulness is that there were no big-name stars as the voices in this film. The majority of the cast was all voice acting veterans, with such individuals as Kevin Michael Richardson and David Ogden Stiers providing voice work alongside individuals such as Tia Carrere and Daveigh Chase. It’s a fantastic cast and truly one of the more diverse on-screen in terms of career backgrounds. Not a huge deal when an eight year old is watching the film, sure, but as an animation fan I always enjoy seeing voice actor vets get roles in big productions like this. It also helps that when they spin-off the show into a television series, they can usually get some of the original cast back on-board to help retain the experience of the film.
Overall Lilo & Stitch, for me, is one of Disney’s classics. It creates its own unique set of characters that really aren’t like any other in past productions and on top of that backs it up with a very moving and emotional story. Highly Recommended.
How long have we waited for this? Originally after the film arrived on DVD a two-disc release was promised and even released overseas, but region 1 never saw the two-disc release. Now, with little to tie it into (except Bolt…and the two aren’t even related), Lilo and Stitch receives the “2-Disc Big Wave Edition” that fans have been waiting nearly seven years for. The set arrives in a standard two-disc DVD case with a matte/embossed slipcover. Inside the packaging are the two discs (both with matte grey disc art – taking cues from Paramount, are we Disney?) as well as an insert advertising the Blu-ray format and a Movie Rewards code. Odd that this film didn’t see a Blu-ray release and just avoid a second DVD release altogether, but I’m sure we’ll see it on the Blu-ray format at some point (in seven years).
Video and audio for the film remains the same from the previous single disc release and there’s really no reason to change it up. It was a solid transfer back then and it still is now, with vibrant and detailed imagery on the video portion and ample surround usage on the DD5.1 mix. Also included are French and Spanish language tracks and subtitles.
Extras? Well, surprisingly the first disc actually isn’t a carbon copy of the previous release. In fact there’s a mix of old and new extras here, the first of which is a Audio Commentary with the filmmakers. This is a fantastic piece as it gives you plenty of insight into the production of the film and the research that went into making it. The remainder of the disc one content, however, is a bit of a throwaway: “Your Ohana” Music Video (2:17), Lilo and Stich Island Adventure Games, Disney-Pedia, Create Your Own Alien Experiment Game, A Stitch in Time (3:31), Hula Lesson (3:37), and “Burning Love” – Behind the Scenes with Wynona (1:32). Those are all either music video related or games for kids to play with. Not very exciting, is it? None of the old featurettes, as brief as they were, are included either.
But disc two? Yeah that’s where the good stuff is. The menu for this disc has little on it, but there’s a lot behind those few button clicks. The first thing to check out is the Documentary (2:05:26). Yes, you read that right—the documentary is over two hours long and covers just about every little piece of production that you could want. It’s been awhile since I’ve watched the original 2002’s DVD releases extras, but I believe most, if not all, of the footage from those pieces is scattered round in here somewhere, as I recognized some of the footage. If the documentary isn’t enough for you, then an array of Deleted Scenes and Early Versions (Five deleted, 3 Early) are included as well.
All-in-all, this edition easily eclipses the previous release by leaps and bounds. The amount of bonus content provided by the commentary and extras alone are well worth the upgrade and this release comes Highly Recommended.
Lilo and Stitch: 2-Disc Big Wave Edition arrives on DVD on March 24th.