Directors – Tony Craig & Bobs Gannaway, Screenplay – Bobs Gannaway & Jess Winfield, Music – Michael Tavera, Animation – Main Stream Studio Co Ltd, Rough Draft Korea Co Ltd & Starburst Animation Co Ltd, Art Direction – Mike Moon. Production Company – Disney
Daveigh Chase (Lilo), Chris Sanders (Stitch), David Ogden Stiers (Dr Jumba Jookiba), Jeff Bennett (Dr Hamsterveil), Tia Carrera (Nani), Kevin Michael Richardson (Captain Gantu), Kevin McDonald (Pleakley), Ving Rhames (Cobra Bubbles), Dee Bradley Baker (David Kawena)
The mad scientist Dr Hamsterveil orders Captain Gantu to travel to Earth and retrieve the 625 other experiments that Dr Jumba made before creating Stitch. As Gantu abducts Dr Jumba, Lilo and Stitch race to stop him in the rocketship, only to be shot down. In trying to repair the ship, Lilo comes up with the idea of unleashing some of the other experiments, despite warnings of the chaos that will ensue if any of them come in contact with water. Lilo and Stitch defy advice and unleash one experimental creature made of electricity, which they name Sparky. Sparky then escapes and causes electrical chaos across the island. Meanwhile, Dr Hamsterveil unleashes another creature that is identical to Stitch.
Stitch! The Movie is part of the trend from mid-1990s to the mid-2000s of Disney making cheaply produced sequels to their animated films both old and new. These have so far included the likes of The Return of Jafar (1994), Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996), Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997), Pocahontas II: Journey to the New World (1998), The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998), The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (2000), Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (2001), Cinderella II: Dreams Come True (2002), The Hunchback of Notre Dame II (2002), Return to Never Land (2002), Atlantis: Milo’s Return (2003), The Jungle Book 2 (2003), 101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure (2003), Mulan II (2004), The Emperor’s New Groove 2: Kronk’s New Groove (2005), Tarzan 2 (2005), Bambi II (2006), Brother Bear II (2006), The Fox & the Hound 2 (2006), Cinderella III: A Twist in Time (2007), The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning (2008) and TinkerBell (2008). The majority of these are indifferently made, with the occasional one being not too bad, but almost all pale shadows of their original counterparts. This represents a cynical strategy on Disney’s part of trying to milk their products for as much as they can.
Stitch! The Movie is a video-released spinoff of the Disney animated film Lilo & Stitch (2002). Lilo & Stitch was one of the more likeable (and better reviewed) amongst the generally forgettable Disney animated theatrical releases this side of the millennium. Stitch! The Movie was followed by several other spinoffs including the tv series Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003-6) and two other video-released sequels, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005) – which calls itself Lilo & Stitch 2 despite being the third film in the series – and Leroy & Stitch (2006).
Stitch! The Movie does little more than rehash elements from the first film. One can search in vain for any of the wit and sparkle that was present there. The sequel is written to easy plot arcs – like the decision to unleash the electrical creature Sparky in order to repair the spaceship where it then predictably goes amok followed by a chase to recapture him, the kidnapping of Dr Jumba, the over-repeated Ohanu theme and even the strained effort to squeeze the character of Cobra Bubbles back into the show by recasting him as a government agent.
Surprisingly, all of the original voice cast from Lilo & Stitch, excepting Jason Scott Lee, have returned for the sequel. Stitch, voiced by the first film’s co-director Chris Sanders, is a good deal more talkative in this film. Lilo & Stitch had many similarities to Gremlins (1984) and this is even more pronounced in Stitch! The Movie, which borrows the idea of water causing the creatures to multiply and go amok. The one cute creation that Stitch! The Movie offers up is of the demented bunny mad scientist Dr Hamsterveil who is constantly being called “Dr Hamster-wheel” and is angrily correcting everybody “Dr Hamster-ville.”
Stitch! The Movie is produced with cheap, standard tv-styled animation. The entire film is only 60 minutes long.