There are two periods of Disney animation features which are generally considered to be the golden eras. The 1930s all the way through the 1950s were spectacular for the studio, and the 1990s saw a revival of this success. There are also periods of films which are neglected and seen as sub-par for Disney standards. Lilo and Stitch and the Emperor’s New Groove fall into this secondary class, and for this reason their release on Blu-ray is padded with the straight-to-video sequel.
The Emperor’s New Groove follows the tradition which Disney had long implemented, adapting a well-known fable into a family friendly animation. The story of the emperor and his vanity’s ability to blind him from the fact that he is naked is turned into a story about the spoiled Emperor Kuzco, who is turned into a llama by his sinister advisor, Yzma.
Stranded outside of his palace and his body, the emperor is forced to rely on a peasant to help him restore normalcy. Along the journey, Kuzco is forced to grow as a person as humility is required for his new form. Relying on the help of those below him is something that the emperor is accustomed to, though being forced to acknowledge these contributions is new to the ruler.
The second film in the set is Kronk’s New Groove, which plays up the scene-stealing character that is Yzma’s lumbering henchman voiced by Patrick Warburton. The story doesn’t develop much in terms of plot, though it can be said that the return of the original voice talent does help a great deal.
Both of these films are combined on the Blu-ray disc, with the second and third discs being the DVD copies of each film. The special features are also on the DVD copies exclusively, allowing for a three-disc package with only one new disc to manufacture. The special features missing from the Blu-ray are nothing new as a result, but just the same ones previously released.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Disc Features: 2/10
The small creature at the focus of the film, the Stitch to Lilo and Stitch, was actually conceived by director Chris Sanders in 1985, and the film itself seems to be a throwback to those old days of Disney. Released in 2002, you would think that Lilo and Stitch was released prior to the Pixar craze, but that’s what made the film original at the time. While computer animation was starting to take over, Lilo and Stitch had watercolor backgrounds, a throwback to the days of Dumbo (1941). This was the first time this method had been used in over sixty years by Disney, but also implemented computer colorization and other technological advantages which make the film something of an anomaly.
The film was originally meant to take place in
in keeping true to the Disney effort to change location and culture with each
animated film, Lilo and Stitch was
moved to .
It is important that the island which they put the characters on is Hawaii Kauai, because the alien Stitch is designed to find and
destroy large cities, and there are none on this specific Hawaiian island.
Stitch is an alien, sort of. He is a creature created by an alien scientist,
and his only purpose is destruction. He is the cartoon pet equivalent of the
destructive dog, Marley, content only in ruining things.
The other half of Lilo and Stitch is a character common throughout every generation of Disney animation; the orphaned child. Lilo is not alone after the death of her parents, thankfully still in the custody of her struggling older sister. Before Stitch comes along, Lilo has few friends and an aptitude for destruction of her own, but she looks to be well-behaved in comparison to the little monstrous pet. The fact that Lilo and her sister have been visited by a CPS officer named Cobra Bubbles, threatening to take Lilo away if the home situation doesn’t improve, does not improve Stitch’s chances of blending in. He is forced to stay with Lilo as a way to keep out of alien grasp, but the destruction he is trained to enact must be stifled if he is to become a part of the family.
As was the case with the Emperor’s New Groove package, the straight-to-video sequel is included on the Blu-ray disc with the original film, with the DVD of each as the second and third discs in the set. Special features are nothing new and remain only on the DVD copies.
Entertainment Value: 8.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Disc Features: 3/10