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|Kevin Krock, editor|
Based on the box office response for this movie, I am fairly certain most of you have seen Lilo & Stitch already. If you somehow missed it, though, this unique story featuring wonderful Hawaiian music (along with a heavy dose of Elvis), lush watercolor backgrounds, and great character animation is a fun, colorful, and surprisingly touching adventure that is well worth checking out. For more detailed information about the movie, take a look at our review from the premiere.
The first time I watched this movie in the theaters, it was on a stunning digital projection system, and subsequent viewings were on frustratingly worn film projection systems. The pristine digital projection truly highlighted this movies bright, saturated colors and subtle watercolor gradients without the annoying scratches, jitter, film splices and so on normally associated with theatrical film presentations.
Fortunately, the video transfer on the DVD does a great job at presenting a stunning digital picture similar to the one I first saw at Disneys El Capitan Theater. The THX certified, anamorphic widescreen video transfer appears to have been taken directly from the original digital animation files, so you get all the color and detail without any annoying film defects.
Additionally, the transfer appears to have been done at a fairly high bit rate, so I did not notice any digital compression artifacts in the feature. However, some of the bonus material appears to have been compressed at lower bit rates, and some of the pencil animation suffers from pixelation and anti-aliasing. A good example of digital compression artifacts can be seen in the "Stitchs Trial" deleted scene. It is a little bit distracting, but it does not grossly detract from the bonus material.
As for the audio, there is not a lot to say except that the movie sounds great. The music is wonderful and sounds great in Dolby Digital 5.1, and the movie is filled with unobtrusive surround effects that help justify all those speakers strewn around your room. Combined with the spotless video transfer, this disc really makes this movie shine. Also helping to set the mood and show off the movie is the nicely designed user interface. The menus feature animated transitions as well as animated screens with musical audio touches, and they nicely round out the DVD experience.
Supporting this great movie on this disc is a relatively nice selection of bonus material. While the collectors edition DVD is still just a rumor, this "standard" edition packs enough goodies to make this disc a much better value than the VHS edition. With about 40 minutes of additional video features, you get everything from the four fun teaser trailers, featuring Stitch interrupting some of Disneys biggest animated films, a nice history of the Hawaiian Islands, to a 19-minute featurette that lightly touches on several production aspects. There are also a few short featurettes that seem like they were taken from a wider selection of featurettes, which strongly supports the rumor of a comprehensive collectors edition on the horizon.
Collectors will find several major shortcomings, like the lack of a commentary track, still art galleries, character and story development featurettes, and so on, but as I mentioned, hopefully Disney will announce a collectors edition for the first quarter of 2003. There is just so much neat stuff about this movie that it just screams for a special edition.
In the end, if you are a Disney movie collector or film fan that loves tons of bonus material, like myself, you may want to hold off buying Lilo & Stitch on DVD until after Christmas, as the announcement of the supposedly impending collectors edition may not come until mid-December or early next year. On the other hand, casual viewers and children that are only interested in the movie will be more than pleased with this disc. The video and audio transfers are wonderful, and the smattering of bonus material is both entertaining and informative. For everyone but the collectors, this disc definitely belongs on your holiday wish list.
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