In my review of Stitch the Movie I praised the Lilo and Stitch franchise, but sadly that is in spite of this film. It has the major flaws direct-to-video films are notorious for, new actors who are distractingly different and a mess of plots that do not go together.
The creators’ records are mixed. The cast from the first film is back, except for Lilo’s actress. Theo Leondis is the writer and his directorial debut is here. He previously was an assistant writer on other DTV sequels. He wrote Kronk’s New Groove and directed and co-wrote …The Emoji Movie. Writing and directing is expected to be a weakness.
It starts with a dream Stitch is having where he is flying and shooting the island. Then Lilo tells… him to stop, and that is the first problem. Lilo’s actress was too busy with the show to reprise her role, and Dakota Fanning took over. She sounds very much like an eighteen year old and nothing like Lilo. It is just jarring hearing her voice from Lilo’s body.
Lilo convinces him that he is just worried about turning bad, and he is really good. She uses his chart to show it.
The chart is a plot device for showing how good or bad the characters view Stitch. When no one else is around Stitch’s eyes glow green and he breaks things to show the main plot. Then “Hawaiian Roller Coaster” plays. Some viewers prefer sequels reusing old songs, but I prefer new ones. It is a matter of preference.
Two new plots are then introduced. Lilo is in a hula competition involving making an original dance around a them showing “ohana.” She wants to win partly to beat Myrtle, and partly because her mom won it years ago. Another plot is Lilo is fighting and the hula teacher threatens to ban her from the competition if she does not control her violent behavior. Three plots is not too much, as two can easily mirror each other, but sadly the film keeps adding them.
Pleakley tells David that his romantic spark with Nani is gone. He plays Cyrano to try and get it back, and besides some bad whispering it is very bad comic relief. It is usually unfunny and it just interrupts the plot. Another plot is added when Jumba realizes what is wrong with Stitch. He tells Pleakley, as they work on building the machine that will fix them. The logical choice is to tell the family. Stitch would volunteer to be locked up to not hurt anyone, as everyone helps them make it until the glitch kills Stitch (I think just turning him evil would be better). Instead they tell no one and hide from Nani why they are taking appliances to build the machine slowing them down. This happens as Pleakley spends more time working with David, whose life is not at risk, than saving Stitch’s life. They have some failures and then build the machine.
Lilo’s plot on not fighting is the worst done. At one point Stitch’s glitching gets her in trouble, and she is banned from the contest. Then she is in it. The actual contest plot has its own big issue. they already did it in the show, where it was done better, not good but better. Lilo being very mean is just not entertaining, and it ends with her leaving the contest to help the main plot anyway.
Stitch’s glitching is the only plot with any interest, and it has a problem in concept. He is evil by design, not free will. Jumba specially states “it is not his fault.” It should have been about old habits or something he had control over, meaning his problems are a result of his failures. I think the writer might be a hardcore determinist.
There are two good parts. One is a montage of Stitch doing good deeds to bring his goodness back up like feeding a bird worms from his mouth. The other is when he fights with Lilo. It is just good seeing him making mistakes by his own free will like he should have been all movie. Those small insults have more weight than all the glitching, because he has the ability to stop it.
At the end Jumba builts the magic device, but Stitch then tries to leave the planet in the ship, which has the device. The family just drops the other plots (why were they around in the first place then!) to save him. Stitch does not know the machine will save him, and he starts dying and the ship crashes. Lilo puts him in it, and the film expects us to believe he is dead (he looks asleep to me. He is alive of course, and the film ends.
This film is really, really bad. It is worse than Dragonheart II, and one of the worst films I have reviewed. Only one plot has any danger, and that makes the other four seem so insignificant. Some films like The Land Before Time VII have insignificant plots, but they work, because they are all the same level of importance making the whole film seem important. This films only has one plot that seems like anything important.
Worse off, this is only 68 minutes long, yet it is so padded. With a good TV series going on, these should have been episodes instead. It hardly feels like a movie.