Lilo & Stitch
(Original VCD)

Daveigh Chase, Jason Scott Lee
Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders (III)

MPAA Rating: PG

Movie: * * * ½  
* * *  

Some of my more cynical male adult acquaintances didn’t particularly like Lilo & Stitch. One told me: “You’re getting soft now that you’re a father.” Another remark was: “Typical Disney schmaltz. Nowhere as good as Shrek or Ice Age.”

Kids love it though. I haven’t met one who didn’t enjoy it and always pop it into the DVD player when friends with children visit. I also love it - I’ve watched Lilo & Stitch some three or four times now and I still haven’t gotten tired of it: it is a wonderful and enjoyable flick. Sure, some moments it gets pretty close to that typical Disney schmaltz, but it never descends into the type of phony sentiment that mars some of their efforts.

Like The Emperor’s New Groove (another of my personal Disney favourites) Lilo & Stitch is very cartoony and doesn’t feature any gosh! wow! CGI animation. That doesn’t mean the animation is bad or anything – rather it is quite competent.

The story – about a small girl and her unlikely alien “dog” – has enough funny one-liners to keep adults entertained too (my wife also loves it) and moves along quickly. If you have small children they will love you for buying this one.

  Instead of the usual humdrum double-sided CD jewel cases in which VCDs (Video CDs) are usually packaged, Lilo & Stitch is a rather attractive package. The two discs come in a brightly illustrated carton fold-out set, somewhat similar to the E.T. – the Extra-Terrestrial Special Edition VCD set recently reviewed on this site.

If you’re under the impression that all VCDs are pirated goods, then you are mistaken. These are the official studio-approved discs (supplied by Internet-based retailer Eureka-Movies.Com) and you can clearly see that by the professional finish: pirates never go to this much trouble!

Not all VCDs, whether they are pirated or not, have as good image and sound quality as this one though. The image is clear and bright and there are few traces of artefacting due to the computer compression used. In fact this VCD set is a definite upgrade to a pirated DVD disc of the same movie I already own. (The movie is taking ages to get to the small screen here in South Africa – why?!)  

The digital Dolby sound is also good. (You just gotta love all the fun Elvis songs in this movie!) 

Another added plus is that you don’t have to wade through thousands of annoying advertisements for straight-to-video Disney releases (do the world really need Peter Pan 2 – Return to Never Land?) before you can watch the main feature, which is usually the case with Disney DVDs. (Apparently some DVD players do not allow one to skip through these ads – the horror! the horror!) Just slot in the first VCD, press “Play” and away ye go . . . 

WORTH IT? Retailing for US$10.97 at Eureka-Movies.Com, Lilo & Stitch is particularly a bargain when one compares it to the US$29.99 for the DVD and US$24.99 for the VHS tape. (All prices quoted are list prices.)  

RECOMMENDATION: Even if it retailed for the price of the VHS tape, I would have recommended Lilo & Stitch on VCD. However, at half the price you can also throw in Ice Age on VCD – another hugely enjoyable animated feature for both kids and adults – this is a steal!

NOTE: You can skip this if you’re familiar with the VCD format.  VCDs (short for Video Compact Discs) are very popular in Asia. Sort of a predecessor to the DVD format, it is a movie stored on two CD-ROM discs. Since they are digital, VCDs can never wear or tear like videotapes. VCDs can be played on most modern computers with standard CD-ROM drives as well as by DVD players. However, some DVD players won’t play them, so make sure beforehand by consulting your user manual or your player’s manufacturer.


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