Stitch! The Movie is a 2003 Direct-to-Video animated film that serves as the Pilot Movie for Lilo & Stitch: The Series. It is the second film in the Lilo & Stitch franchise to be released, but the third chronologically (2005's Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch comes before it).The film starts off with the disgraced (and forcibly-retired) Gantu meeting with career criminal (and totally not a gerbil) Dr. Jacques von Hämsterviel. He knows about Gantu's previous experience and informs him that he isn't after Stitch; however he does need his experience for something else. It is soon revealed that that "something else" was Jumba's six hundred and twenty-five other experiments, which are all conveniently dehydrated in pod form. However, Jumba has hidden the pods, and when he won't reveal where they went, Gantu captures him and a pod that was knocked askew.Lilo and Stitch find the experiment pods and accidentally-on-purpose lets one loose (on purpose because she wanted to activate it, accidentally because it wasn't meant to escape.) Meanwhile, Hämsterviel contacts them and demands the other experiments in exchange for Jumba.Not directly related to the anime Stitch! beyond being part of the same franchise with the same characters.
Stitch! The Movie provides examples of:
- Artifact Title: As a result of production issues. The movie was originally going to be titled Lilo & Stitch: A New Ohana, but then the decision was made to only have Stitch's name in the title of this and the subsequent series, which was going to be called Stitch! The Series. It was then decided to rename the series back to Lilo & Stitch: The Series, but the memo wasn't given to the marketing team for The Movie in time for the name to be changed.
- Bad Liar: Jumba tries to convince Gantu that the totally-not-an-experiment-pod is a ping-pong ball:Gantu: Where are they?Jumba: They? Who they?Gantu: The other six hundred and twenty-five experiments.Jumba: (laughs) You must have me confused with other evil genius scientist!Gantu: (notices a pod with '625' inscribed on it) What have we here?Jumba: Uh... is uh... ping-pong ball! Is Earth sport, like tennis but tinier.Gantu: You're a bad liar, Jumba. Where are the other experiment pods?
- Big Damn Heroes: After being set free by Lilo, Sparky gets several in quick succession—first he swoops in to save the other experiments just before they are blown up (in Hämsterviel's possession) by the Grand Councilwoman (though this has the nasty side-effect of disabling her ship long enough for Hämsterviel to get away), then later saves Stitch just before Hämsterviel's cloning device would have cut him in half.
- Blatant Lies: The original DVD box art states that the other 625 experiments are shown in the film. Actually, only seven other experiments are revealed in the film: 221 (Sparky), 625 (who becomes a major character, later named Reuben), 202 (whose pod was mislabeled 455 and is later named Jam), 390 (later named Slimy), 455 (later named Mary), 489 (later named Huggo) and 529 (later named Digger). Several others are seen in pod form, though.
- Body Wipe: Occurs thrice: as Gantu walks through Hämsterviel's ship for his interview, in a POV shot as Gantu reaches down to grab Lilo, and as Hämsterviel is being carried away by Federation soldiers.
- Briar Patching: Jumba does this as he hangs upside-down in Gantu's detention cell. When Gantu shows Experiment 625's pod, Jumba says that 625 has all the powers of 626 (Stitch), motivating Hämsterviel to have Gantu activate 625 and let the experiment torture Jumba. Of course, much to their dismay, 625 has no motivation for torturing anyone.
- Call Back:
- Similar to the scene from the first movie where in a beat, Lilo runs away screaming as Nani chases her, Lilo and Stitch do the same thing when Nani catches them in the middle of the night when they should be in bed.
- Lilo's strange interest in taking pictures of overweight tourists is shown again for a brief moment when she takes a picture of Stitch posing in front of one.
- When Stitch first bonds with 221, he picks his nose with his tongue. 221 does the same.
- Cassandra Truth: When Lilo and Stitch end up in Mertle's backyard while chasing down 221, stumbling on Mertle's slumber party, Lilo tells her about Jumba's kidnapping and the genetic experiment on the loose. A confused Mertle calls Lilo a liar.
- Chekhov's Gag: Gantu's ship running out of bologna, a Running Gag which twice has an important effect in the climax: first, the computer informs Gantu that another unauthorized communication is taking place and he runs to figure out the problem only to find that it's 625 ordering more — which leaves him stuck in the detention level while Stitch runs amok on his ship. Later, when Stitch is trying to save Lilo from being sent to an intergalactic zoo, he sees a teleporter charging up and is unable to stop it from sending in time. He spends a few seconds depressed before the ship chimes in that the bologna order has been sent.
- Chekhov's Gun: The lighthouse. Lilo and Stitch first visit it briefly while searching for 221, then it becomes the rendezvous point for the ransom exchange. When Pleakley asks why the light isn't shining, Cobra answers that it hasn't been on for years because it was too costly to run. Finally at the end of the film, it becomes the place where Sparky can use his powers for good, with him being the lighthouse's operator and living battery for the beacon.
- Continuity Nod: Pleakley asks Cobra "What do we do?", to which Cobra responds "Hope for another miracle." This mirrors Jumba's response when Nani asked the same question in the first movie.
- During the space battle, Gantu uses the same method to escape Stitch and Lilo that Stitch did to escape him in the first movie: using his hyperdrive right under the nose of Stitch's much larger ship — so close that the shockwave sends the vessel reeling. Gantu takes note of this, mocking Stitch with a smug "my turn this time" just before he does it.
- Also, Stitch still has "lost" issues; Lilo lampshades this.
- "Meega nala kweesta!" is once again used as an incredibly offensive insult — this time to Stitch, who seems just about as shocked as the Grand Councilwoman was when she heard it.
- The Stinger plays as a nod to a scene in the first movie where the Grand Councilwoman whispers to one of her guards, "Don't let those two get on my ship."
- Dismotivation: Experiment 625 has all the powers of Stitch and none of the motivation to use them.
- Expecting Someone Taller: After Pleakley and Cobra Bubbles meet Dr. Hämsterviel for the first time while he's holding Jumba prisoner, Pleakley has this reaction after having only heard his voice throughout the movie, "He sounded a lot bigger over the phone."
- Feelies: The original DVD release came with a small "Experiment Tracker" poster for fans to use to look out for experiments in this movie and throughout (at least the first season of) The Series.
- Foreshadowing: Experiment 627 was briefly mentioned near the end of the film by Jumba, who said he was working a fix for him (as in to make sure that he cannot be able to turn good, unlike the other experiments).
- Gag Echo: Happens throughout the film:Dr. Hämsterviel: Any second now, you'll hear his tortured cries of regret: "Please let me out, I'll tell you everything!" Any second now, his pathetic screaming, begging for mercy. Any second, should be right about... now!Gantu: I don't hear anything.Dr. Hämsterviel: Shut up, I can't hear!
Lilo (whispering): Don't let Nani hear us, it's so past my bedtime.Nani: Lilo! It is so past your bedtime!
- Heard while Lilo is trying to sneak into the house after failing to rescue Sparky:
Gantu: The window's open!Ship Computer: Warning, window is open.
- Lilo & Stitch have gotten on board Gantu's ship to rescue the experiments:
Gantu: The navigation is disabled.Ship's Computer: Warning: Navigation is disabled.
- Heard after Gantu's ship gets disconnected from Hämsterviel's craft:
- Hassle-Free Hotwire: Stitch hotwires not only Cobra Bubbles' car, but Jumba's spaceship.
- Hypocritical Humor: Hämsterviel calls Jumba's vaguely Russian accent "inexplicable." Hämsterviel, who himself has a caricatured French accent.
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Hämsterviel tries to bargain Jumba for the other experiments, but Lilo tries to intervene—and ends up captured herself.
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Dr. Hämsterviel doesn't like his name being mispronounced as "Hämsterwheel".
- Killing for a Tissue Sample: Hämsterviel tries to make a clone army of Stitch, which would involve killing the original.
- The Last Straw: Stitch can lift three-thousand times his own weight. So Hämsterviel restrains him with the force of his own weight times three-thousand and one.
- Logo Joke: The Walt Disney Pictures logo dissolves into space as the movie begins.
- Mister Big/The Napoleon: Hämsterviel has to stand on phone books to reach Jumba's and Lilo's eye levels.
- The Movie/Pilot Movie: To Lilo & Stitch: The Series.
- Protagonist Title: Just one of the two, though; see Artifact Title.
- Real Song Theme Tune: After the prologue, "Slicin' Sand" by Elvis Presley plays during the opening.
- Recycled Soundtrack: Some of Alan Silvestri's score from the first film is reused here.
- Shout-Out: There's a scene where Lilo and Stitch take off with Cobra Bubbles' ride, and it's essentially a parody of Peter Gunn, complete with theme.
- The Stinger: "Hey, maybe the Grand Councilwoman will let us go home with her this time!" Cue her ship blasting off.
- Theme Song Power Up: Both Stitch's triumphant theme from the first movie and an instrumental of the theme for The Series ("Aloha, E Komo Mai") are used in this way at certain points in the movie.
- There's No "B" in "Movie": David watches one at Lilo's home just as she and Stitch return. The live-action footage on the TV is taken from Plan 9 from Outer Space, though the audio was replaced.
- What Happened to the Mouse?
- David Kawena's last appearance in this film is during the power blackout at Nani's house.
- The last we see of Nani in the film is when she heads off to work, before Lilo, Stitch, Cobra and Pleakley bring the experiments as Jumba's ransom.