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Western Animation / Stitch! The Movie

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Stitch! The Movie is a 2003 American Direct to Video animated science fiction comedy film by Walt Disney Television Animation that serves as the Pilot Movie for the studio's 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). It was released on August 26, 2003. Lilo & Stitch: The Series executive producers Tony Craig, Jess Winfield, and Bobs Gannaway produced the film; all three men also either wrote the film (Winfield), directed the film (Craig), or both (Gannaway).

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.

Meanwhile, Stitch struggles to fit in with the local populace on Hawaii. He desires to have "cousins" after Lilo tells him about how people on Hawaii call each other "cousins", but he's too freaky for the humans outside of his ʻohana, and doesn't seem to have anyone else like him there. After Jumba's kidnapping, however, Lilo and Stitch find the experiment pods and accidentally-on-purpose lets Experiment 221 loose (on purpose because she wanted to activate it, accidentally because it wasn't meant to escape). Once the human-alien duo chase down 221 and capture it, Stitch quickly bonds with the yellow experiment, deeming 221 (which Lilo later names "Sparky") his "cousin". But soon after, Hämsterviel contacts the ʻohana and demands the other experiments in exchange for Jumba, so in response, Lilo and Stitch go out to save both Jumba and Stitch's "cousins".

Not directly related to the anime Stitch! beyond being part of the same franchise with the same characters.

The experiments who appear in this film (besides Stitch) include:

Since this movie is the pilot to Lilo & Stitch: The Series, it gets an experiment appearances list just like in the recap pages for all the other episodes of the show. This list will not be counting those who are merely mentioned or have only been seen in pod form, since that would make for a pretty long list.
  • Jam (X-202):note  A purple bat-like experiment. He is one of the experiments who gets activated at the end of the movie. He would not reappear at any point during The Series's run, but he does reappear in the finale film, Leroy & Stitch.
  • Sparky (X-221): More or less the Monster of the Week if this was just a regular episode. He is a yellow gecko/monkey/Eastern dragon-like experiment with electrical powers who causes electrical outages. He is the first experiment we see activated in the film and becomes the first one to be tamed, named, and given a one place where he truly belongs, in which case it's powering the beacon in the lighthouse (Kīlauea Light). He becomes a regular recurring experiment throughout The Series and the franchise overall, even appearing as a boss fight in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
  • Slimy (X-390): A large green slug-like experiment. He is another one of the experiments who gets activated at the end of the movie. He would later be captured by Gantu in an episode of The Series.
  • Mary (X-455): A big, round peach-colored experiment. She is another one of the experiments who gets activated at the end of the movie. Like with Jam, she did not appear in the franchise again until Leroy & Stitch.
  • Huggo (X-489): A large, round, red, octopus-like experiment with six tentacles. He is another one of the experiments who gets activated at the end of the movie. His brief appearance in the film and a brief cameo in The Origin of Stitch are his only appearances in the franchise.
  • Digger (X-529): A tan meerkat-like experiment with a long drill-shaped tail. He is designed to drill holes through planets. He is another one of the experiments who gets activated at the end of the movie. He would later reappear in a couple episodes of The Series as one of the reformed experiments.
  • Reuben (X-625): A golden-furred marmot/koala-like experiment who has all of Stitch's abilities, plus "advanced language programming" (allowing him to speak English better than Stitch can), but is a lazy coward who otherwise makes great sandwiches. He's the experiment whose pod was found by Gantu and is the second experiment we see get activated. He actually becomes one of the major characters of the franchise after this film (as Gantu's reluctant sidekick). Note that he is referred to by his experiment number throughout both this film and the subsequent series; he doesn't receive the name "Reuben" until Leroy & Stitch.

Stitch! The Movie provides examples of:

  • And the Adventure Continues: In Lilo & Stitch: The Series. The film ends with Lilo and Stitch taking Nani's buggy (which would become the "X-Buggy" in the show) to begin their experiment hunting.
    (Lilo and Stitch enter the buggy.)
    Lilo: Come on! We've got six hundred and twenty-five cousins to find!
    Stitch: Six hundred twenty-three!
    Lilo: Whatever!
    Cobra Bubbles: Are you sure they can handle this?
    Pleakley: Lilo is a very persistent little girl!
    Jumba: And with 626, they make one hotshot evil genius experiment-catching team!
    (Stitch drives himself and Lilo away in the buggy.)
  • 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 TV 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.
  • Artistic License – Physics: When Gantu tries to fly away in his spaceship, Stitch grabs onto the wing of it to prevent it from taking off, without holding onto anything on the ground as an anchor, and it somehow works until Gantu blasts his thrusters at him. No matter how strong Stitch is, he wouldn't have been able to stop it from taking off since he's nowhere near heavy enough to weigh it down like that.
  • 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?
  • Bait-and-Switch: As 625 is rehydrated, Jumba says with shock that he has all the same powers as Stitch and his intro pose makes him look like an Evil Counterpart. It turns out that 625 is a Lazy Bum obsessed with sandwiches.
  • 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.
  • B-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.
  • 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. 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.
    • While trying to catch Sparky, Lilo and Stitch end up in the same hotel where Nani interviewed for a concierge position.
    • Lilo and Stitch chase Gantu's ship when he kidnaps Jumba. This is the second time Jumba and Pleakley's spaceship ends up in a chase with Gantu's to try to rescue someone from kidnapping. It's also the second time Stitch is at the controls of a red spaceship in a chase, but this time, he's the pursuer. And finally, Gantu turns the tables on Stitch by performing a hyperspace jump in close proximity to his ship. Gantu even lampshades this; see the entry for Continuity Nod below.
    • Lilo draws a "badness level" for 221 as she did for Stitch. His badness level isn't as high as Stitch's initially was, however.
  • 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.
  • Chainsaw Good: A non-violent example: Stitch's idea of the best way of cutting a pineapple is by cutting it with a chainsaw. Subverted in that he scares Moses and all the partygoers and ends up cutting the picnic table in the process, ruining everything for them and himself.
  • 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 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."
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • The tagline on the original DVD box art states that the other 625 experiments are shown in the film. Actually, only seven other experiments (the ones listed above, with only two playing major roles and five more seen in an ending montage) are revealed in the film, although several others are seen in pod form.
    • The cover (and the release trailer) depicts Lilo wearing her green muʻumuʻu that she wears throughout most of the first season of Lilo & Stitch: The Series. In the actual film, she wears her more iconic red muʻumuʻu.
    • Reuben and Sparky are riding with Lilo and Stitch in Nani's dune buggy (the same buggy that would be modified by Jumba into the X-Buggy in the show) on the cover. Neither actually join them in the buggy in the film; Lilo and Stitch bring Sparky with them in Cobra's car and Reuben is with Gantu nearly the whole time throughout.
  • Dismotivation: Experiment 625 has all the powers of Stitch and none of the motivation to use them.
  • Drives Like Crazy: When Jumba and Pleakley arrive at Lahui Beach in Nani's buggy, the former drives it straight through a guardrail and crashes it off-screen before backing up into the parking space. Jumba blames the buggy.
    Jumba: Ridiculous Earth vehicle needs evil genius tune-up!
  • 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).
    • At the beginning of the film, Jumba complains about the buggy needing a tune-up after crashing through a guardrail when arriving at Lahui Beach. Come the very first episode of The Series, and Jumba reveals that he has upgraded the buggy, now called the "X-Buggy".
  • Forgot About His Powers: Stitch is strapped to Hämsterviel's cloning machine and has both arms and both legs shackled. However, Stitch conveniently forgets that he has an extra pair of hidden arms that he can use to free himself.
  • Gag Echo: Happens throughout the film:
    • When Hämsterviel and Gantu wait outside of Jumba's cell hoping to hear him scream in terror at 625.
      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!
    • Heard while Lilo is trying to sneak into the house after failing to rescue Sparky:
      Lilo (whispering): Don't let Nani hear us; it's so past my bedtime.
      Nani: Lilo! It is so past your bedtime!
    • Lilo & Stitch have gotten on board Gantu's ship to rescue the experiments:
      Gantu: The window's open!
      Ship Computer: Warning, window is open.
    • Heard after Gantu's ship gets disconnected from Hämsterviel's craft:
      Gantu: The navigation is disabled.
      Ship's Computer: Warning: Navigation is disabled.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Hämsterviel tries to do this to Stitch at one point in the film, but Sparky comes in on time to stop it.
  • Hassle-Free Hotwire: Stitch hotwires not only Cobra Bubbles' car, but Jumba's spaceship.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Sparky, who takes less time in turning good than Stitch did previously. Lilo determined that his "badness level" wasn't as high as Stitch's was, thus setting up why it doesn't take as long for Sparky to reform.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Hämsterviel tries to bargain Jumba for the other experiments, but Lilo tries to intervene—and ends up captured herself.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Hämsterviel calls Jumba's vaguely Russian accent "inexplicable." Hämsterviel, who himself has a caricatured French accent.
  • 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.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": A rather mild one, but when those pods (600+ genetic experiments which we've been told are activated by water) start to rain down on the island, it is, as Pleakley puts it, "very bad". Even the audience sort of gets to have a mild one as we're treated to a mini montage of various pods landing in places very, very close to water.
  • Mirror Routine: Stitch and Sparky's first time bonding has the latter mimicking the former's actions, which include lowering and raising their ears, extending their lower pair of arms, and picking their noses with their tongues. This causes Stitch to happily see Sparky as a cousin for the first time.
  • Mister Big/The Napoleon: Hämsterviel has to stand on phone books to reach Jumba's and Lilo's eye levels.
  • Old-Timey Bathing Suit: Jumba and Pleakley arrive at Lahui Beach wearing way outdated clothes for the beach (due to Pleakley's poor research), with Jumba wearing a one-piece bathing suit and Pleakley wearing a pink dress and bonnet.
    Jumba Jookiba: Are you sure wooly one-piece bathing suit is from proper century?
    Pleakley: (very sure of himself) Absolutely! Now put on your hat. (puts a pork pie hat on Jumba)
  • Pilot Movie: To Lilo & Stitch: The Series. Also counts as, well, The Movie, go figure.
  • Pretender Diss: Hämsterviel accuses Jumba of stealing his evil genius experiments. Jumba responds blithely that he can take credit for the evil part, since Hämsterviel paid for them, but since Jumba made the experiments, the genius is exclusively his.
  • Protagonist Title: Just one of the two, though; see Artifact Title.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Some of Alan Silvestri's score from the first film is reused here.
  • Running Gag: Later in the movie, there's a recurring gag where one character will mention that there are 625 experiments to find, only for another to correct them that there are 623 experiments (since 221 and 625 were already released).
  • Sequel Hook: That sets up Lilo & Stitch: The Series; all of the experiment pods fell to Kauai, each one ready to awaken with just a drop of water. Again, they're in Kauaʻi, an island which contains one of the wettest spots on Earth.
  • Series Continuity Error: A retroactive one caused by Lilo & Stitch 2; Pleakley mentions at the beginning of the film that this is his first time visiting the beach, and David says to Nani that Lilo (when she's out in space with Stitch) was probably hanging out with her new friends (the aliens). Lilo & Stitch shows that the intergalactic 'ohana—including David—have already spent some time together, so Jumba, Pleakley, and Stitch wouldn't be "new" friends to her by then, and that Pleakley has already visited the beach (with David in a very failed attempt to make Nani jealous).
  • 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.
  • Truth in Television: Cobra said to Pleakley that the lighthouse was not operating for years because it was too costly to run. Kīlauea Light indeed had not been operating for years at the time of this film's release; it was deactivated in 1976 and would not be reactivated until May 2013.
  • Wham Line: Gantu invades the Pelekai's house to find Jumba to interrogate him, revealing what his assignment for Dr. Hämsterviel is.
    Gantu: Where are they?
    Jumba: They? Who they?
    Gantu: The other six hundred and twenty-five experiments!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?
    • David Kawena's last appearance in this film is during the power blackout at Nani's house. It's likely that he went back to his home.
    • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Stitch


Activating Experiment 625

Dr. Jacques von Hämsterviel tries to threaten his former partner Dr. Jumba Jookiba in order to get information on where the latter has the other genetic experiments, but Jumba doesn't feel threatened in the slightest. Hämsterviel then gets the idea to activate Experiment 625, which Jumba mentions as having all the same powers as 626 (Stitch), but as Hämsterviel and Gantu soon find out after activating the pod, Jumba left out one crucial detail: 625 is a lazy coward who prefers to make great sandwiches.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BriarPatching

Media sources: