Leroy & Stitch

I’ve figured that three types of people exist in relation to Leroy and Stitch, the latest Lilo and Stitch direct-to-video sequel put out by the fine folks at Walt Disney Television Animation. The first group won’t buy or watch it if you paid them. They hate direct-to-video sequels, especially those by Disney, and equate them with crack: bad for you personally but also bad for society in general. It won’t matter if someone tells them it is good, they aren’t going to soil their DVD players. The second group will buy it regardless of anything I or anyone else says. They love the characters and find the whole thing as harmless, wholesome fun for their children, with a good moral tacked on to boot. They buy it right when it comes out or the first time they are in Wal-Mart and notice it on the end cap. The third group, a small group I think, may buy or watch this movie, but only if it is surprisingly good. They need to be convinced that there is something unusual here, but if it is, they will pony up. So, is Leroy and Stitch that type of movie? Hell no. Leroy and Stitch is actually not technically direct-to-video. It made one appearance on the Disney Channel the week before it was released, a commercial of sorts. If you had the misfortune to watch it for free, my condolences on your wasted time and brain cells, but at least you didn’t shell about any money for this crapola. I’m not sure this sets a new low for Disney sequels, but they will be hard pressed to get too much worse than this without drawing stick figures and hiring bums to do the voices.

Lilo (voiced by Daveigh Chase) and her alien buddy Stitch (Chris Sanders) have spent most of their time on the Disney Channel “Lilo and Stitch” television series collecting the other 625 experiments created by Jumba (David Ogden Stires, who will, literally, do anything Disney asks him) prior to his creation of Stitch. Stitch himself is known as Experiment 626. So, what probably started as a random number in the original (and pretty darn good) Lilo and Stitch movie becomes the shaky basis for a few years of weekly channel filler. Anyway, at the beginning of Leroy and Stitch, Lilo and her friends are getting rewarded by the Galactic Alliance. They will all be placed in different corners of the galaxy in jobs they’ve always wanted. Of course, the flip side is that they won’t be together and after the big deal they made about “ohana means family” in the first movie, you’d think Stitch would never leave Lilo. Wrong. There is money to be made, so anything goes!

Jumba goes back to the laboratory and is forced by an evil genius hamster (ahem) to create another Stitch like character. The alien comes out and is dubbed Leroy. Why? So they can call the movie Leroy and Stitch, that’s why. Not only is there one Stitch-like evil alien running around, the hamster (ahem) has a cloning machine and soon, there are hundreds. The galaxy is in danger of being ruled by an evil hamster (ahem) so what is Lilo going to do? She’s putting the band back together. Well, not a band exactly, but while watching this movie you may start dreaming of much better movies, like the Blues Brothers.

I really liked the original movie Lilo and Stitch. It was beautiful hand-drawn lush feel. It also had a nice moral about how people want to belong, feel wanted, be part of a family. This sequel is a pile of crap. It was produced by Walt Disney Television Animation and even for television work, it looks cheap and flat. Every scene has a very mediocre washed out background with no movement and one or two characters who don’t move until absolutely required and then usually it’s only the mouth. You don’t have to have good animation to be entertaining. “The Simpsons” routinely rises above their amateur looking animation with witty writing and crack timing. Here there is just that well worn chestnut from the back of the DVD case, “our friends discover that one place they all truly belong is together.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I realize that this stuff is for kids. It’s really just a slightly longer television show. But, seriously, look in your DVD collection and see if you have any missing classics. Do you have Pooh, Belle, and Dumbo? What about the one where the dog dies at the end? What about either movie about the chocolate factory and its sadistic owner? You must be missing something in your collection, and I'm telling you to go buy that, not this. This is not good, group three. It’s just not any good. In keeping with the slapdash cheap feel of the movie itself, the extras are pretty slapdash and cheap. They add a “previously un-seen” episode of the “Lilo and Stitch” television series. I guess if you’ve bought the disc and watched the movie and enjoyed it, that would be a nice bonus. Other than that is a pretty lame game that you play using the arrow keys on your remote. Even my nine year old said it wasn’t very good. That’s pretty much all there is on the disc. Although you get some trailers for movies you should probably have bought instead of this one.