Dissecting the Disquels: Leroy and Stitch (2006) Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: After reforming all of the other 625 experiments and finding where they belong, Lilo, Stitch, Jumba and Pleakley are all honored by the Galactic Alliance. Jumba’s access to his old lab is restored, Pleakley has been named a professor at the Galactic Community College as an expert in earth studies, Stitch has been given the rank of captain and has access to a brand new massive spaceship called the BRB and Lilo has been named ambassador of earth.

Trouble is, this means Jumba, Pleakley and Stitch will be staying in space while Lilo goes back home to earth. They feel guilted into staying with Lilo, but eventually Lilo encourages them all to go, realizing that their true place is in space.

Jumba wastes no time taking advantage of his old lab – getting to work immediately on a new experiment. Dr. Hamsterviel, freed from prison by Gantu, orders him to design it the way he wants it: almost exactly like Stitch, but better and more evil. He names the new creation…..Leroy. With an army of cloned Leroys at his disposal and Pleakley, Jumba and Stitch out of commission, Hamsterviel plans to take over the galaxy and destroy all 625 of Stitch’s cousins.

Breakdown: I couldn’t even get through the first fifteen minutes of the movie without needing to jump on my computer and start writing about this because, goddamn, rant mode was activated in record time.

It should be noted that this movie is not technically a Disquel…really. Lilo and Stitch The Series got a movie series finale. I guess the movies do link together fine without the series, but you’d definitely be left wondering about all of the other experiments, who they are, what they do and what their homes were – that’s pretty important.

Speaking of which, we never do get to spend adequate time with all 625 experiments in the series – far from it in fact. Given that the series was made in the time of Disney’s 65 episode rule, the show was ended long before it ever got a chance to showcase all of them. Kinda makes you wonder why they’d slap that premise onto a show that they knew would never get enough episodes to go through every experiment.

But that’s not what I want to focus on right now. I want to focus on the foundation of this plot. Jumba, Pleakley and Stitch are all jazzed to return to space when given these amazing opportunities, but they feel guilty when Lilo looks sad that they’ll leave, so they agree to stay. They’re miserable back on earth, basically spending their days dreaming of what they could have had, so Lilo makes the very mature and adult decision to let them go for the sake of their happiness.

Pleakley and Jumba are….well, assholes about it. They’re jumping for joy, they give zero shits about Lilo as they’re packing and Jumba even throws the consoling words Nani gave her earlier back in her face saying they don’t make sense. It’s not until Lilo gives them parting gifts do they show a modicum of caring about their departure. They don’t even give her a way of contacting them – Later, Lilo has to ask 625, who is properly named to Reuben here, to use the video phone in Gantu’s ship.

Leroy and Stitch 1

Stitch is more visibly upset, but he’s still making the choice to go. And Stitch is the reason my rant switch got flipped.

The whole reason Lilo and Stitch were given the task of finding proper homes for the other experiments and reforming them is because Lilo was able to do that with Stitch (And Sparky, but Stitch was the starter.)

His home was with Lilo. He said as much at the end of the first movie. His one true home is back on earth. So why is he so enticed to live in space without Lilo now?

He’s not excited to go back to space because of some fancy captain title and fighting bad guys – he just wants to pilot the shiny new spaceship they gave him. The entire time that he’s sulking about not choosing to go to space, he’s making a BRB out of pans and pipes and playing with it and looking at the hologram of the ship. He’s very clearly just enamored with the damn ship.

He cares more about the shiny spaceship than staying with his family on earth. Congrats, Stitch! You’ve joined Jumba and Pleakley in assholeland.

And what was that saying?…Uhm….They said it in the first movie….Errr, it was something like uhm….Oh yeah, yeah. Ohana means ‘family’ and family means ‘Nobody gets left behind.’ I understand that it’s healthy to let go of people and part ways if you believe doing so is for their betterment. Lilo was even ready to do that in the first movie (“I remember everyone that leaves.”)

That’s why I was okay with the idea of Jumba and Pleakley leaving, though they could have been less rude about it. Jumba belongs in space in his lab (though, considering his past crimes and the fact that he talked about all of the exciting EVIL work he could do in his old lab at the friggin’ ceremony where his access was restored, he shouldn’t be getting anything. And, whatdya know, the first thing he does when he gets his lab back is start creating a new evil experiment…) and Pleakley…should….maybe be an earth professor. He’d be happy doing it anyway and he has a passion for it.

However, despite having the opportunity to do good as a space captain, is piloting a ship and commanding a crew really something Stitch would be adept at? He is good at flying, but moreso in a solo fashion. Also, I must reiterate that he didn’t seem to give a flying fork about the captain job or fighting space crime – He. Just. Wanted. The. Shiny. Ship.

Leroy and Stitch 2

The main conflict of the movie is intertwined with this plot for the most part. Jumba makes a new experiment the instant he gets back to his lab, because of course he does. He may have helped Lilo and Stitch capture the other experiments and softened up a bit, but he has always stayed pretty consistent in wanting to be evil. Perhaps to take the blame off of Jumba, Hamsterviel and Gantu burst in demanding that he make the new experiment an evil and better version of Stitch – which seems pointless because, by all means, that seems like what Jumba was planning anyway.

If you follow the TV series, and I actually did this time, you’ll probably notice that this idea isn’t really new. You can guess as much by the fact that Leroy’s number is 629 not 627 (following Stitch’s 626)

Experiment 627, who was never reformed or named, was created as a better and more troublesome version of Stitch to knock Stitch down a peg after he had gotten cocky about his ability to find and reform his cousins. Even though he’s clearly a different design than Leroy, he’s pretty close. They’re both red, have more slanted eyes and are basically just slightly different versions of Stitch. Leroy looks closer to Stitch, has different ears and is a deeper color red – also 627 has a cone-head kinda going on. As I mentioned, 627 couldn’t be reformed (which was supposedly a purposeful programming choice of Jumba because he wants actual evil experiments) so he was dehydrated and kept in his pod form.

We don’t know what 628 was. He was only shown in pod form and foreshadowed shortly after 627’s defeat. I think we can assume, considering Leroy is also an ‘improved’ version of Stitch that 628 was another ‘improved’ version of Stitch that we simply never saw.

It’s just a shame because they could have used this opportunity to make a brand new experiment that was creative, innovative and more intimidating, but nope. It’s just another recolored Stitch…..Well, he did make hundreds of clones of him, which made for a pretty good army v. army finale, so I suppose that’s something.

Here’s another something – I really loved watching Reuben and Lilo team up. This is pretty much the first and only time we see Reuben actually utilize his powers. He’s always had all of the same powers that Stitch had, but he never used most of them out of laziness. He’d mostly just make sandwiches all day.

However, Lilo recognizes his potential and bonds with him, and he finally uses his powers – quite impressively, I might add. I really enjoyed watching him and Lilo just hang out as well. When he put his hand on Lilo’s shoulder when Hamsterviel told her that Stitch was launched into a black hole, it was very touching. I wish we could’ve seen them interact more over the course of the series, with Reuben being an active good guy.

Leroy and Stitch 3

Most people who watched the series probably wanted to see all of the 626 experiments being used in some way, and, congrats, you (pretty much) do! Even though it’s unreasonable to see all of the experiments in action, not enough time or budget, honestly, you still get to see a large amount of the experiments on screen at once and most of them get a time to shine during the finale.

Even though the overall galactic takeover plot was a bit too rushed for my tastes, the ending battle is extremely well done with plenty of action and comedic moments. It’s such an interesting battle because of all of the various powers of the experiments come into play. It’s also understandable that they get overwhelmed ultimately because even though there are 626 of them, there are just as many if not more Leroys, and Leroy was designed to be even more powerful than Stitch.

The ending of the battle might seem goofy to some people, but I actually found it to be very fitting and a little touching. Jumba thought ahead when he was creating Leroy and installed an emergency shut off program within Leroy. He used Lilo’s gift, an Elvis record, as the trigger. The song he chose was Aloha oe. Lilo, Stitch and Reuben sing it to shut off the Leroys, but there’s a moment where they all sing the part ‘Until we meet again’ straight to the camera.

It was then that I remembered that not only is Leroy and Stitch the end of the TV series, it’s also the ending of the main franchise. Lilo and Stitch would never have any animated features again to date. Stitch has starred in a couple of anime since then, but Lilo is not with him, instead having adventures with other girls while Lilo has aged and departed from him. (I might talk about those series in the future, but I never had much of an interest in them, to be honest.)

When they sing that part of the song to the camera, they’re telling the audience ‘Farewell to thee. Until we meet again.’ which made me rather sad, especially considering that part of the moral of this movie was learning to accept when you need to say goodbye. Even though the series has technically been ended for well over ten years, there’s still a pang of sadness that they’re saying ‘Until we meet again’ when, as far as I know, we won’t….

Leroy and Stitch 4

Lilo and the others are honored by the Galactic Council again, but this time Stitch realizes his true place of belonging is with Lilo and relinquishes his position as captain. Gantu….somehow gets offered the position.

To his credit, Gantu did help Lilo and the others at the end, but he’s still been an enemy and Hamsterviel’s right-hand man this entire series and two movies (Three if you count the first, but he was technically just doing his job.) In fact, if it wasn’t for Gantu breaking Hamsterviel out of prison, none of this would have happened. Does the Council just not care about past actions? I can understand giving Reuben a pass, he was too lazy to be considered a criminal, but Gantu not only being let off without penalty but also getting a captain position? Are you daft?

Reuben is named Gantu’s galley officer, and Jumba and Pleakley also relinquish their lab and professor position respectively and choose to go back to Hawaii with Lilo – this time happily. Lilo and the others return to Hawaii, happy with their ohana being whole once again.

…..But Mertle’s still a bitch. Yeah, if there’s one thing that’s always been really consistent in this series it’s been Mertle’s constant bratty behavior. She’s not too prevalent in this movie, thank god, but the brief moments she is on screen, she’s being her typically bitchy self.

When Lilo’s having a low moment, right after Stitch and the others leave, Mertle kicks her when she’s down telling her she’s weird and that Stitch probably ran off because of it. She’s always been unreasonably focused on bullying Lilo, to the point where she blames her for everything, and if there’s one thing I’m thankful for with this series ending it’s that I’ll never have to see this little shit stain’s face or hear her awful voice ever again.

However, that doesn’t stop them from trying to wrap up her character in a more even light. They hint that Mertle’s father either abandoned them or is divorced from her mother, which is weird because she talked about him in a good light in Stitch has a Glitch, and even advertised his store. Then, at the end, she says she still thinks Lilo is weird, but Gigi, her pet dog who is also an experiment, wants to be with her ohana, so she kinda just barges in on their group photo at the end, which is not in the least bit earned….

Leroy and Stitch 5

For a series that is mostly based on taking evil beings and reforming them, the writers really do a crap job at doing that when it comes to any non-experiment character. Jumba’s probably the best example, but he never paid for his crimes and he’s still a decent degree of evil. Gantu never pays for his crimes, either, and now Mertle gets no comeuppance. We’re just meant to sympathize with her because they wedged in this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-and-is-questionably-canon-whatever-they’re-implying-here story about her dad being gone somehow.

I’m sorry – no. Lilo has NO parents and an overworked big sister guardian as well as a horrible bully who has barely ever said a positive word to anyone, even her mostly equally bitchy friends. My sympathy well for Mertle is so bottomed out that I’ve broken through the bottom and am making my way to the center of the earth.

As an added bonus to the end credits, they include a scrolling list of every single experiment. As I mentioned, obviously not all of these experiments were seen in this movie. However, I do really appreciate that the writers bothered to come up with names and (likely) powers for each experiment and shared them with the audience before the series came to a conclusion. It shows that they truly cared about both their product and their fans enough to complete the set, even if we only have names for a good chunk of them. You can find a list of every experiment here.

Bottomline: Leroy and Stitch is actually a pretty good movie and a great way to the end the series. The final battle adds a great touch of epicness, and I loved mostly everyone’s interactions with each other, particularly, oddly enough, Lilo and Reuben. The writing is very snappy and there are some really great jokes in here.

There is a depressing lack of Lilo and Stitch in this Lilo and Stitch movie, though, to be honest. They’re together for the first twenty minutes and don’t reunite until the last twenty minutes in this hour and fifteen minute long movie.

The pacing is fairly rushed in the Hamsterviel department, but I’m willing to overlook that. They did get a little too lazy with the redemption arcs for some of the characters with Mertle’s being ridiculously lazy, if you can even say she got redemption and if you can even call that an ‘arc.’ Also, there’s the obvious rant fodder at the start of the movie. I knew they’d stay with her in the end, but the fact remains that Jumba and Pleakley were jerks to her about leaving and Stitch left Lilo for a ship…..

The animation was really good, though again not really up to the original movie’s standards. That’s to be expected since this is basically designed as a TV movie.

Their use of music this time around was good, but not a lot that was new. We got the TV series theme song, Aloha e, Komo Mai, a bunch of Elvis songs, which is the franchise’s trademark, and the Hawaii Five-O theme song for some reason. I particularly liked their use of I’m So Lonesome, I Could Cry. It was a great implementation of Jumba’s record gift and made for a nice montage of everyone after they departed for space.

Aloha, Lilo and Stitch. Hopefully, we’ll meet again.

Recommended Audience: I guess you can imply that some of the Leroy clones maybe died in the battle, and there’s a fair amount of violence, but it’s obviously not severe or graphic. These are the same people who couldn’t get up the balls to show Lilo with a scratch on her face. 5+


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One thought on “Dissecting the Disquels: Leroy and Stitch (2006) Review

  1. I wasn’t aware of what happened long after the original movie. Sounds like it was good, but could’ve been so much better for that particular series. I didn’t realize how things would happen since I wasn’t paying attention to Lilo & Stitch let alone Disney at this point of the 00s since I was knee deep in anime. Haha! Good review and thanks for stopping by Iridium Eye again. I saw you liked some of the anime and even live action movies I covered.

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