Jumba, left, Pleakley, David Kawena and Nani watch a TV show chosen by Stitch, front left, and Lilo.

A slight glitch

This Disney sequel is better than most
direct-to-video animated fare, but
it lacks the scope and beauty of
the original theatrical release

Some of the wonderfulness has rubbed off in this new but rather draggy adventure of Disney's Lilo and Stitch, but that might be because of overexposure of this latest Mouse House franchise.

"Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch"
Rated: PG
Buena Vista Home Entertainment


As the title indicates, "Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch" is the sequel to the 2002 Chris Sanders original, picking up the story and characters right away -- but in the last couple of years we've also had DVDs of the "Lilo & Stitch Read-Along," "Lilo & Stitch's Island of Adventure," "Stitch! The Movie," a "Lilo & Stitch" animated TV series, piles of "Lilo & Stitch" kids' books and products -- whew! -- plus a deluxe DVD edition of the first movie is upcoming. Staying fresh under such an avalanche has to be a problem.

Creator Sanders is pretty much invisible here, providing only the voice of Stitch, and Daveigh Chase as Lilo's voice has been replaced by Dakota Fanning, the hardest-working little girl in Hollywood. The others are back, however, including Tia Carrere as Lilo's frustrated older sister Nani and Jason Scott Lee as Nani's equally frustrated suitor David Kawena.

This product is direct-to-video, skipping the theatrical experience entirely in order to maximize profitability. Such a move requires a scaling back of scope, imagination and storytelling, all of which can't help but impact the storytelling arc. Those who purchased "Tarzan 2," "Mulan 2," "Pocahontas 2" and such know pretty much what to expect. "Bambi 2: Hunting Season" is probably on the drawing boards.

The story is pretty domestic, and allows the movie to be framed primarily in medium shots (the gorgeous Hawaiian watercolor backgrounds are scarce). Stitch's glitch is that he is reverting to the crazed terror he was designed to be by alien scientists. The resident alien scientists Jumba and Pleakley have to figure out how to fix him. Stitch's behavior is causing Lilo hassles in her quest to win a hula competition.

Yes, it's all resolved in a little more than an hour -- duh! -- although it seems longer due to plodding pacing and less-than-sharp dialogue and situations. For a direct-to-video animated movie, this is still superior fare, but it's rather pale and listless compared to the original film.

Lilo and Stitch on a flying adventure.

As for the Hawaiian stuff, the sense of living on the edge in poverty in a geographic paradise is missing, but the hula sequences and the concept of aloha aina are respectfully done. I particularly like the portrayal of the kumu hula here -- he's gentle, sympathetic and encourages creativity, but he also won't put up with bad behavior and backtalk.

The theme song is voiced by Dennis Kamakahi and the creators seem genuine in their desire to present Hawaiians as a positive and unique culture. Elvis doesn't fare as well. There are three Elvis songs, all totally obscure. The King is dead.

The Disney DVD has a "feature" called FastPlay, which is designed to skip the introductions and zoom right to Disney's house ads. Some games and background tracks are offered as bonus materials. The excellent song "Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride" from the film is reprised, performed here not by the Kamehameha Schools Children's Chorus but by a teenybopper group called Jump5. It's like watching ABBA cover Bob Marley -- interesting, but somehow way wrong.

| | |
E-mail to Features Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com