Following the success of Lilo & Stitch, Disney knew they needed to do something with the franchise. This success was uncommon during this era of Disney animation as in the years following the Disney Renaissance, few Disney properties did nearly as well with critics and audiences. Lilo & Stitch was an exception. The endearing character of Stitch captured the hearts of audiences everyone and the lesson of ohana resonated with so many. Disney knew that they had a winner on their hands which led the company on a mission to churn out Lilo & Stitch content left and right. However, with no long term plan in place across various subdivisions of the company, the Lilo & Stitch franchise is a bit of a muddled mess. Soon after the film, production began on a television series. This, in turn, led to a pilot for the series in the form of Stitch! The Movie, produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. DisneyToon Studios was at the height of its success during this era, and so they cashed in on the success with Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (this week’s film). Walt Disney Television Animation returned to the franchise yet again in 2006 with Leroy & Stitch, which functions as a finale film to the series and follows everything before. Confused yet? Don’t worry, for the purposes of this article and DisneyToon history, we will only be discussing Lilo & Stitch 2. All of that information was simply for context as I haven’t even seen the other films or series.
Lilo & Stitch 2 follows right where the first film left off: Lilo is still living with her sister, along with a few new adopted members of the family, namely Stitch, Pleakley, and Dr. Jumba Jookiba. As the story starts, we see that the most important thing in Lilo’s life at present is winning a local hula contest in honor of her mother. Stitch has agreed to help, but something is amiss with Stitch and despite his best efforts, seems to be causing more harm than good. Jumba looks into the problem and finds that things are worse than expected.
I am happy to report that this is one of the best DisneyToon sequels I have seen so far. With great humor, an interesting story, and touching lessons, this feels far superior to most of the other films I have watched these many weeks. The animation is of high quality, with the Hawaii setting looked nearly as great as it did in the first film. The voice work is top-notch, with David Ogden Stiers (Jumba) and Kevin McDonald (Pleakley) as standouts. The original voice actor for Lilo has been replaced here due to her busy schedule recording dialogue for the series. Child star Dakota Fanning is Lilo’s voice here and she does such a great job and feels so at home with the character that I would never have never known the difference (admittedly, it has been a couple years since I have seen the first one).
Another highlight is the fantastic soundtrack, consisting again of primarily Elvis Presley songs. “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” even makes a brief appearance as well, which was fun to hear. The lessons here are consistent with those of the first and, if nothing else, just act to cement the concept of ohana even more. Though I can’t say how this film holds up among the franchise as a whole, as a sequel it is charming and definitely worth the watch.
Next week, we will be watching Kronk’s New Groove. Happy watching!