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The Council, led by The Grand Councilwoman (Zoe Caldwell) and Captain Gantu (Kevin Michael Richardson) convene the trial of Doctor Jumba Jookiba for illegal genetic experimentation. Jumba is a four-eyed Russian sounding alien voiced by David Ogden Stiers.
Yeah, I think he’s earned it by this stage. Jumba claims that he’s innocent and that all his research was merely theoretical and that he’d never actually create a new life form. The council then presents “Experiment #626”, a weird, bat-earned, bright blue genetic freak who we will soon come to know as “Stitch”.
Okay, y’all know I’m a sucker for great character design and Stitch is just…damn. The design is just so incredibly versatile, switching between creepy and absolutely adorable while still remaining perfectly on model. Couple this with some phenomenal motion (he moves like a cross between a koala, a lizard and a spider) and you’ve got one of the most remarkable creations in the canon. He’s just amazing to watch. Stitch is actually voiced by director Chris Sanders, who recorded his lines as a stop-gap until they found a voice actor and ended up being used in the final film because he was so funny. And the voice is very funny…but…I dunno. It sounds familiar somehow.
Anyway, Gantu asks what the creature is and Jumba explains that Stitch is basically an unkillable, unstoppable force of destruction. “That thing is an affront to nature!” says the nine foot tall shark man. Gantu wants to off Stitch right there but the Councilwoman insists that they at least try to reason with him. The Councilwoman asks Stitch for some sign that there is some good in him, and Stitch responds: “Meega na la Kweesta!” which, according to my copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a profanity so revoltingly explicit that it’s use will result in the perpetrator being shunned, barred from polite society and shot through the lungs. Hearing Stitch drop a MNLK bomb is enough for the Councilwoman, who orders Gantu to take Stitch away so that the Galactic Council can deal with other matters.
Gantu locks Stitch up on a prison ship bound for a barren asteroid but Stitch escapes almost immediately and hijacks a red ship because, as we all know, red makes it go faster. Back at HQ, the Grand Councilwoman watches in horror as Stitch’s ship crashes on a tiny island on the distant planet “Ee-arth” and orders the entire planet gassed to prevent him escaping.
However, she’s interrupted by Pleakley (Kevin MacDonald) a panicky one-eyed alien who tells her that Earth is a protected wildlife habitat that’s being used to rebuild the highly endangered mosquito population. Pleakley tells the Councilwoman that they’ll have to send in a covert team to take Stitch out. The Councilwoman realises that there is only one with the necessary skills for this kind of covert Op.
Nah, she and Pleakley instead visit Jumba in prison and tell him that if he helps bring Stitch back he can go free. And am I the only one who things that’s a little overly generous? I mean, say you’ll give him a TV for his cell or promise to get the guards to break The Sisters’ legs. Anyway, Pleakley is left in charge of Jumba, who asks him what pathetic, defenceless planet his little hellbeast has fallen on. We transition to
Hawaii, Hawa’ii, Hawai’i…the birthplace of the current US President and we get our first song He Mele No Lilo. This is an absolutely beautiful song sung in Hawaiian that instantly immerses us in our setting. We now meet our second lead, Lilo (Daveigh Chase), a six year old Hawaiian girl AND OH MY GOD SHE IS NOT DRAWN IN THE DISNEY HOUSE STYLE!!!
Lilo arrives late to her hula dance class, still dripping wet from swimming in the sea which causes all the other kids to slip and fall. Her dance instructor asks her why she’s late and Lilo says…okay, follow me closely here:
- Today is sandwich day.
- Sandwich day is the day Lilo feeds Pudge the fish (who is a fish) a peanut butter sandwich.
- Lilo was out of peanut butter, and her sister told her to feed Pudge a tuna sandwich instead, however…
- Lilo feels that feeding him a tuna fish sandwich would cause Pudge to inadvertantly be guilty of cannabalism. Bad on its own merits, but especially dangerous when you consider that…
- Pudge controls the weather.
- Ergo, Lilo had to go to the store to buy peanut butter, hence why she is so late.
Yeah, the movie lets us know straight off the bat. Lilo is cray cray. Not “quirky”. Not “flaky”. We are talking an extremely tentative grip on reality here. Two things combine to make Lilo an absolutely fantastic lead character, and one of the very best in the whole canon. Firstly, the fact that the movie is not afraid to show that she is properly messed up. Secondly, an absolutely phenomenal performance from the 11 year old Deveigh Chase. She brings this incredible emotional rawness to the role, that I can’t remember seeing in any other Disney movie. Lilo is, quite frankly, broken. This is a child who has suffered an unimaginable trauma, the loss of both her her parents, and to its eternal credit the movie never shies away from that. When one of the other children says that Lilo’s crazy, she of course wanders off and sings a sad song about how no one really understands her but if they could only see the real her…nah, I’m kidding she kicks that kid’s ass.
Lilo has to sit out the rest of the dance lesson, but afterwards she tries to patch things up with the other girls and asks if she can play dolls with them. The girl who she attacked (sorry, I don’t know her name so I’m just going to call her Little Miss Snoops) says that she doesn’t have a doll and Lilo shows them “Scrump”.
The other girls ditch her and Lilo angrily throws Scrump on the ground and walks off, before immediately running back and hugging the doll and it is just the saddest, sweetest thing you have ever…ohhhh boy.
We now meet Nani (Tia Carrere), Lilo’s older sister who arrives home to find the house locked up and Lilo lying on the living room floor in a depressed funk listening to Elvis Presley. This is kind of a problem for Nani, as there’s a social worker coming to check up on them and this is not the kind of family situation that makes it into a lot of Norman Rockwell paintings. But before she can get in, the social worker arrives.
The social worker is voiced by Ving Rhames and is named Cobra Bubbles (which, by an amazing coincidence was my stage name during my brief but surprisingly successful gay porn career). Nani lets them both in through the back door and the movie makes something very clear to both us and Bubbles; Nani is in way over her head. The house is a mess, there’s garbage building up, there’s spoiled food in the kitchen and Lilo is so twisted that if she had a twin sister she could be haunting hotels in a Stephen King novel. This is absolutely fucking revolutionary and I’ll tell you why. In Disney movies, there are three categories of parental authority figure:
- The all loving, benevolent father figure. (“The Mufasa”)
- The evil, abusive adult guardian. (“The Madame Medusa”)
- Dead moms.
This is, I think, the first time that suggests that there may be some middle ground between, super competent awesome parent, evil abuser and…um…death. At no point are we made to think that Nani is bad. or neglectful. She’s just a young woman who’s been thrown into an impossible situation and she’s failing. Because, y’know, it’s fucking impossible. She’s probably had to drop out of school so that limits her to minimum wage jobs with which she somehow has to support both her herself and her little sister. Who is frickin’ nuts. And I love the fact that this movie isn’t afraid to show her failing while still showing that she is a good person. Hell, that she is an amazing person because she is trying so, so hard. But unfortunately, Child Services don’t give you A’s for effort and Bubbles warns Nani that “I am the one they call when things go wrong.” and that she has three days to turn things around. Lilo and Nani have a blazing row and Lilo says that Nani should just sell her and buy a rabbit which of course is a terrible idea. Seriously, they are the worst fucking pets.
Later, Nani brings Lilo some pizza as a peace offering and Lilo whisper; “We’re a broken family. Aren’t we?”
Jesus guys, c’mon! This is a Disney movie, remember? Can a mouse get a happy singing chipmunk up in here?! Lilo tells Nani that she likes her better as a sister than a mother, which actually makes Nani happy, probably because that’s the role she feels happier in. The two sisters then see a shooting star crashing in the jungle through the window and Lilo pushes Nani out so that she can make a wish. Nani creeps back into Lilo’s room and sees her sister praying…holy shit, she’s actually praying?! In a Disney movie?!
Anyway, Lilo prays for a friend who’ll stay with her and who’ll never abandon her, preferably an angel. Meanwhile, in the forest her “angel” has just emerged from the flaming wreckage of his crashed spaceship.
Stitch goes on a rampage that lasts all of five seconds when he gets hit by a convoy or articulated trucks and wakes up in a dog pound surrounded by terrified dogs. Lilo and Nani have just arrived at the pound because Nani thinks that what with struggling to make ends meet and the house being a mess and her sister being an unstable basket case in constant need of supervision, now is the perfect time to get a dog.
Stitch tries to escape from the pound only to discover that Jumba is camped outside ready to lazer his furry ass. Stitch decides to pose as a dog by sucking in two of his six arms, retracting his back spikes and hiding his antennae and tries to get himself adopted by Lilo, going up to her, grinning and saying “Hiiiii”.
And damn it, that voice still sounds familiar to me…
When Lilo brings Stitch out the lady who runs the dog pound starts freaking out because “we thought that dog was dead, he was hit by a truck!”
Okay, there are a few disturbing implications raised by that statement, Dog Pound Lady, if that is your real name. Firstly, recall that Stitch woke up in the pound surrounded by other dogs. Why would he be there if they thought he was dead?
But far worse is the implication that this Dog Pound Lady, a woman I remind you, who works exclusively with dogs, thought that something with six legs, two antennae and back spikes was a dog. Quick rule of thumb, if you’re counting a dog’s legs and you go over four, it’s either not a dog or an incredibly well endowed one. Dog Pound Lady, I am actually wracking my brains to think of another character in the Disney canon who fails so completely and utterly in their job oh wait…
As soon as they leave the pound, Jumba tries to take the shot and Stitch actually uses the little girl as a human shield. Jumba hisses “this is low even for you!” and yeah, that’s pretty ruthless. I can’t think of another character in the Disney canon who has such a complete and utter disregard for the sanctity of human life oh wait…
Nani leaves Lilo and Stitch in town to their own devices while she goes to work. They run into Little Miss Snoops and her posse riding their big wheels and Stitch jacks one and the two go riding off around the island. Pleakley watch from a distance and Jumba solemnly says: “His destructive programming is taking effect. He will be irresistibly drawn to large cities where he will back up sewers, reverse street signs and steal everyone’s left shoe.”
But Hawaii of course has no large cities and Stitch realises that he’s trapped here with no way to act out his programming. We now get a montage of Stitch grudgingly trying to act as Lilo’s dog, with Jumba and Pleakley trailing him all the time. This is set to song called Stuck on You, by some guy called Elvis Presley. It’s pretty good, but Disney mustn’t have liked it because as far as I can tell they never got him back to do songs for any other movies.
Later that night Lilo takes Stitch to the luau bar where Nani is waitressing. Also working there is David (Jason Scott Lee), a fire-eater at the bar who’s got the hots for Nani. See what I did there? Fire-eater who’s got the hots for anyway Lilo introduces David to her “dog” and David takes one look at the thing and stammers “You sure it’s a dog?”. See Dog Pound Lady? David can tell this thing isn’t a dog, and he drinks petroleum for a living. Stitch gets jumped by Jumba and Pleakley who are disguised as tourists. Stitch bites Pleakley’s head and Nani has to pull him off. The manager runs out and sees that Nani’s “dog” has attacked two of his “customers”…
Alright, seriously what the hell? He has a giant eyeball in the middle of his head, does no one see this? Do Hawaiians just have zero facial recognition?
Anyway, Nani loses her job and when they go home she tells Lilo that they have to give Stitch back. But Lilo angrily shouts “He was an orphan and we adopted him! What about Ohana!?” Ohana is the Hawaiian concept of family and according to Lilo it means “Nobody gets left behind or forgotten”. Nani can’t really argue with that (I could, but Nani’s bad at arguing) so Lilo shows Stitch her room. Stitch starts trashing everything he touches and Lilo challenges him to create something. Lilo responds by using various books and toys to create a perfect miniature scale model of San Francisco. And then trashing it. And you cut that out Stitch!
Once he’s finally got that out of his system, Stitch starts looking through some of the books in the house and comes across the story of the Ugly Duckling. Lilo tells him it’s the story of a freakish outsider who finally finds happiness when he finds his family which Stitch seems to find oddly resonant for some reason.
The next day Bubbles arrives, telling Nani that he’s heard that she’s now unemployed. Stitch then lobs a book at Bubbles’ head who asks what the hell this thing is. Lilo proudly says “it’s my puppy” and goddamn it people this is so clearly not a dog! “I’m sorry my dog threw a book at your head” is not a sentence that has ever needed to be used before! Bubbles tells them that the next time he sees them Nani had better be employed and Stitch had better be a model citizen. So as Nani tries to scrounge up some work across the island, Lilo takes on the daunting task of making Stitch into a gentleman.
This all leads up to a scene where Nani just manages to clinch a job as a lifeguard, before Stitch goes berserk on the beach and causes a panic. David comes across the three of them, now very dejected, and offers to take them surfing to cheer them up. This takes us into our next song Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride. This is just a beautiful, sweet little scene of the characters messing around and having fun in the ocean, and even Stitch overcomes his fear of the water and learns to love surfing. This is cut short when Jumba tries to pull Stitch underwater, almost drowning him and Lilo as well. Nani saves Lilo and pulls her to shore but Bubbles has been watching from the beach and saw the whole thing. Well, not the bit with the aliens pulling them underwater obviously, but he got the overall gist. Bubbles sadly tells Nani that he knows that she’s trying, but that it’s time for her to consider what’s best for Lilo.
Thank you movie. Thank you for not making Bubbles a one-dimensional bad guy. Thank you for portraying him as a good man trying to do a very difficult and absolutely vital job. Thank you for not making this into a simplistic, black and white good versus evil thing. Good. On. You.
Bubbles tells Nani that he’ll be coming to collect Lilo next morning, and a heartbroken Nani takes her home. The two sisters sit in a hammock and Nani softly sings “Aloha Oe” to Lilo. It sounds like the most clichéd thing imaginable but it actually works so well, the lyrics (“one last embrace, until we meet again”) and Tia Carrere’s absolutely beautiful, melancholy singing…goddamit movie.
Stitch, realising that he’s brought Nani and Lilo nothing but pain, does the first selfless thing of his life and leaves. Lilo watches him go, saying “You can go if you want to. But I’ll remember you. I remember everyone who leaves.”
Meanwhile, Pleakley and Jumba wash up on the shore and they receive a call from the Noble Councilwoman telling them that she’s firing their incompetent asses and putting Captain Gantu on the case. Jumba is actually happy about this because now he can capture Stitch his way.
Jumba finds Stitch alone in the jungle and tells him to come quietly. But Stitch refuses.
Jumba coldly tells him that that’s not really an option for him, and Stitch runs away.
Back at the house, Nani waits despondently for Bubbles to come and take Lilo away but David arrives at the door with good news. There’s a shop in town looking for staff. Nani tells Lilo to stay in the house and not let anyone in and she runs into town with David to snag to the job, saying “Things are finally turning around.”
So yes, in an INCREDIBLE IRONY, just as Nani says everything’s going to be fine now, everything goes to shit. Stitch runs back into the house with Jumba chasing after him and in their struggle they end up destroying the damn house.
Nani, having gotten the job (she must really interview well) arrives back to find Bubbles taking Lilo away and the firemen putting out what was once her home. Nani begs Bubbles not to take her away saying “She needs me!” and Bubbles points to the wreckage and snarls “IS THIS WHAT SHE NEEDS?!”, a moment of righteous badassery slightly undercut when it turns out he doesn’t even have childlocks on his car and Lilo has run off. She meets Stitch in the jungle who shows her his antennae and extra arms and Lilo realises that he’s an alien (Someone please get this girl a job in the pound). Lilo and Stitch are then caught by Gantu who takes them to his ship, but Stitch is able to slip away before blastoff. Nani sees all this and starts whoppin’ Stitch with a branch until he talks. They’re interrupted by Jumba and Bleakley who capture Stitch and Nani begs them to help her get Lilo back. Bleakely says that they can’t, but Stitch talks Jumba into it and he sets him free and all four go after Gantu and Lilo. We now get a scene where Jumba’s ship and Gantu’s have a dogfight over Hawaii.
The big red one, incidentally, is Jumba’s, and you may be wondering why his ship is so massive compared to Gantu’s. Well, there’s a reason for that. You see, in the original version of the scene, it looked like this:
Yeah, the original script actually had Stitch and Jumba hijack an airliner. Then September 2001 happened and everyone was suddenly all “Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….no.”
Anyway, kick ass action ensues, Stitch manages to down Gantu’s ship and rescue Lilo. But as soon as they arrive back on terra firma, Stitch gets captured. Again. (For crying out loud, Robin doesn’t get captured this often). The Grand Councilwoman has arrived on Earth to take care of business her damn self and proceeds to read Gantu, Bleakley and Jumba the space riot act. She orders Stitch to be taken to her ship and is amazed when he politely asks if he can say goodbye to Lilo and Nani. She asks who they are, and Stitch says “This is my family. It is little and broken. But still good. Yeah. Still good.”
It is such a beautiful line, perfectly delivered and I’ve just realised why Stitch’s voice is so familiar and OH MY FUCKING FUCKING FUCKETY FUCK IT’S GURGI!!!!!!!!!
Okay, it’s not actually the same voice actor but the voices are so similar it’s terrifying. Because it’s like Gurgi. And I liked it. God help, I liked it…
What have I become…
Well, my sudden self loathing notwithstanding, Bubbles (who seems awfully blasé about all these aliens around here) tells Lilo to show the Grand Councilwoman her licence proving that she owns Stitch saying “aliens are all about rules”. See, it turns out that he’s actually former CIA and knows all about aliens, apparently he was the one who tricked them into believing mosquitos were an endangered species. Lilo tells the Councilwoman that if she takes Stitch she’ll be stealing and she relents, sentencing Stitch to exile on Earth under the protection of his new family. And the movie ends with Bubble, Jumba and Pleakley rebuilding Nani’s house and Lilo, Nani, Stitch and David beginning a new life together to the strains of Burnin’ Love.
Great review, you said everything so well. This is easily the best film of what I consider the Post-Renaissance Era. This movie is much more realistic than most if not all of the movies in the canon, and it really embraced the broken home thing. It flows well, and it has heart (which most of the movies in this era did not have). I could only imagine if Eisner stayed at Disney. Lilo is not defined just by being a child (which is so rare in film) and all of the characters are engaging. I just posted my late review of Madagascar 3 and I rip it a new one (kind of). I really hate self promotion, but I know people here read it. Mouse, do you consider PatF as the end of the Lost Era?
Umm. Maybe? I actually haven’t decided yet. Don’t worry about promoting yourself. We all know how this game works.
I know. I get a bunch of referrals on here when it shows from viewers. This era is definitely lost and I did not even know a majority of these films existed until last year.
You mean you’re gonna travel back in time on a full stomach to give us a review ten days ago? That’s dedication.
Seriously though, great review, the perfect antidote to a post-holiday slump. You’re in top form. This is such a sweet, hilarious movie and it’s about time that I watched it again.
Pirates again? Oh boy, it’s been a long time. My piratese is a little rusty, let alone the incredibly difficult regional dialect of Christmas Space Pirate. Let’s see… aah.
That’s not it. Ahem.
Aye, that be it! A right jolly cosmic Yule ter all ye scurvy planet-lubbers!
DAMMIT WHY DO I FAIL AT DATES!?
Because you have a toddler to look after, a full-time job, a writing career and a Christmas to organise, as well as a bickering fanbase expecting fortnightly reviews that are not only funny, well-researched and well-written, but from the perspective of a literate dimension-warping mouse who types by leaping around on the keyboard.
Kind of dickish of me to point out the typos, now that I think of it.
Oh yeah. Screw you guys! 😉
Ha ha ha! Merry Christmas.
And to you. Try not to get sunburnt.
Can’t go wrong with a hat a metre wide and sunscreen so thick my family once mistook me for a mime.
This has always been a movie that I disliked for a longggg time and after re-watching it for my Disney Canon project….I raised to the neutral level. I still can’t say that I like this movie. None of the characters appeal to me. Lilo’s too much of a brat and Stitch never did anything for me. My favorite character is Cobra Bubbles because I can sympathize with him and the hard job that he has. I don’t know whether or not I’ll ever be able to like this movie.
Take your time with the next review. But your date says 2/12/13 which I don’t think is the correct date for 3 weeks from now.
Should read 02/01/14. Which I realise is confusing because here we go day/month/year because that makes sense.
My parents come from Guyana like I said before (which were once ruled by the Great Britain themselves), so I’m very much familiar with the day/month/year thing and the “aluminium” and “tyre”, lol!
You called Stitch “Experiment 625”. 625 is that sandwich making comic-relief character in the tv-show based on this movie (and its sequel). Stitch is “Experiment 626”.
Anyway, I love this film. I only wish Disney could have kept making hand-drawn films as masterful as this, but the failure of the next two films, combined with Dreamworks and Pixar doing well with CGI just killed that dream.
He’s 625 in the European version. Yes. That sounds plausible.
I feel like Daveigh Chase’s 2001 was the child voice actor equivalent of Julie Andrew’s 1964. She not only provided the voice of one of the all time best Disney leads, she also voiced Chihiro in the English dub of Spirited Away. That’s two of the best female characters in the whole of animation history in the same year. It’s a real shame she hasn’t done much since then because she is a fantastic voice actress.
I love this movie to death. The music is just so beautiful, the animation is gorgeous, and the lead characters are just perfect. Incredibly amazingly perfect. And the TV show was actually pretty entertaining too, it was a pretty cool sci-fi adventure/action sort of show with Jumba’s previous experiments all showing up and needing to be captured (small nitpick, Stitch was actually Experiment 626, not 625. 625 was one of the villains in the show).
But to be honest, I actually like the other major animated release directed by Chris Sander and Dean deBlois more, How to Train Your Dragon. When I found out they were both directed by the same two guys, I was floored. It just makes so much sense. When you think about it, How to Train Your Dragon has a lot of very similar elements to Lilo and Stitch. The best parts of Lilo and Stitch are the relationships between Lilo and Nani, and Lilo and Stitch. In HTTYD, the best parts are the relationships between Hiccup and his father, and Hiccup and Toothless. And just like Stitch, Toothless is a triumph of animation. He’s so expressive and fluid in motion even though his design is pretty simple. It really just goes to show what can be achieved with talented animators who understand how to impart character into their designs.
Also, when exactly is your next post going to be? The date appears to be February 2nd but that is definitely more than 3 weeks away. Please don’t make us all wait too long for your next one
You just blew my mind.
For the removal of all doubt (between me putting in the wrong year and using the European dating convention) the next review goes up 02 January 2014.
idk if you noticed, but the scene where Lilo says she has to feed Pudge the Fish a sandwich because he controls te weather is 100x more sad when you realize that her parents die in a car crash during a storm
Hey, nice to see you back (It is Jayden-G). Yeah, that scene was an interesting touch.
This movie breaks me like glass.
I literally did cry the last time I watched it.
(whoa hey sorry I disappeared. things happened in life.)
I was wondering where you were
Kenzie, where the heck have you been?! I’ve missed you!
Treasure Planet is next! WHOO! Love that movie. So freaking underrated.
Yeah, I was surprised.
You were? That is great! I feared that you would rip into it…most reviewers do, especially if they have problems with the setting. And too many people just overlook it. I look so forward to this one…it deserves more love.
I won’t be showering it with love but I will give it a fair shake.
I dorm really see critics rip on it a lot. It is good, but there are a few pacing issues. I don’t know why this flopped but Atlantis did not.
Why it flopped? Simple: It went up against “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Lord of the Rings”, plus, it was the second movie Disney released in the same year after Lilo and Stitch…what did they expect to happen?
The movie is not perfect (but I guess you read my review about it Jayden-G, didn’t you?), but most critics concentrate on the two or three aspects they don’t like and barely say anything about the good stuff. And even if they mention the good stuff, they keep harping “They shouldn’t have set it in space” which I personally think was the BEST decision they made concerning the movie, along with rewriting Jim Hawkin’s backstory and making him an abandoned child instead of the goody-shoes from the book.
This movie violates the “show, don’t tell” principle a little too much for me to truly fall in love with it — they do a great job of showing Lilo and Nani’s personalities without spelling it out, but they didn’t do the same thing with Stitch’s loneliness or the meaning of “o’hana” — and it feels at times like there are two very different plots clashing with each other, but it’s undeniably one of the best films of the Lost Era, if not the best. (Your final score for this film adds up to 84%, right?)
On a side note, I think that you referred to the wrong character in the “Lilo goes on a rampage that lasts all of five seconds…” sentence. And I think that “3 weeks from today” is supposed to be 01/02/2014?
I fail. I fail at everything.
Now you listen, mister — you do not fail at everything! You do not fail at failing, for example.
No, I kid. This blog is a phenomenal project, and a nonprofit one at that. Making a typo or two does not distract from the awesome.
Ah yeah, I love this movie sooooooooo much. I went to see it in theaters with my cousins back in the day, and we spent the rest of the week play-acting as the various characters. And then when it came out on DVD it was one of those movies we’d pop in the portable player whenever we had a long drive ahead of us (this, The Return of the King, and the Jimmy Neutron movie. Yeah, we have weird tastes in my family). The characterizations are just so good! You really feel the love between Nani and Lilo, and then between Lilo and Stitch, and you just want everything to work out for them because their story is so sad!
I will always feel bad for not watching this one in theatres…but who can blame me? I read “alien experiment ends up with orphan girl in Hawaii” and thought “that’s it, Disney has gone crazy!”. There was also the little fact that all the other Disney movies they showed during the Summer beforehand were “Direct to Video sequels” which got a limited release. Perhaps if I encountered one of the “Stitch ends up in various Disney movies” spot, I might have changed my mind, but I didn’t, so it took some time before I encountered this gem.
I freaking love this movie (btw, the first praying Disney character was Snow White herself, and Mulan prays too before she cuts her hair…it is not that unusual). Especially the part when Stitch rereads the ugly duckling. Partly because it reminds me of the Disney short with this name, which always brought me to tears.
I completely forgot Snow White prays. Well noticed.
You also forget Esmeralda praying…she does it a whole song long.
And Ratty and Moley. And Frollo. And Penny in the Rescuers. I may have stretched the truth for that joke.
Oh yeah. I think this is the only film in this era up to PatF that I watched in theatres.
I missed all the CGI ones out until Tangled came along, but I did see Treasure Island and Brother Bear…which, I guess, was the best pick I could make.
Same thing here! I actually liked “Lilo & Stitch”, but I never saw another Disney movie in the theater until “Princess & the frog”.
So many great jokes in this review, loved it! I especially enjoyed seeing the Gurgi comparison coming from early on. Fun fact: in the Finnish dubs, Stitch and Gurgi are actually voiced by the same guy! (Another fun fact: Turo is a Finnish boys’ name. It’s not very sophisticated, more like what you’d call the guy you get drunk with after working hard for the entire week…)
Also Jumba and Pleakley are my favourite gay Disney couple.
Yeah, I can see that.
“NEXT UPDATE: 02 January 2014. Yeah, three weeks until the next one. Sorry. It’s against my religious principles to review Disney movies when I’m so stuffed with turkey that a team of Oompa Loompas has to roll me around”
Damn you religion.
I also love this film. It also has great sequels and a very entertaining TV series.
I enjoyed the trailers for this movie (“why don’t you get your own movie?”) but they left me with no desire to actually watch the film. One of my roommates forced me to watch it because it was her favorite movie at the time. It’s grown on me after subsequent viewings. The relationship between the sisters is just SO SPOT ON. Dammit, onions, you go back to Mouse!
But noooooooooooooo you must not compare Stitch to Gurgi! The voice may be similar, but it’s what they DO with the voice that makes the difference. Stitch doesn’t talk all that much, and even when he does half the time it’s gibberish to us. When he does speak English, it’s in short, poignant phrases. Gurgi never Shuts The Fuck Up; that’s a big part of why he is a muppety spawn of the Horned King.
(Speaking of the Lord of Bahia himself, he actually makes a couple of cameos in the series “House of Mouse.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horned_King That means that either Disney hasn’t completely swept the movie into the deep recesses of their vaults or — Mouse. I’m scared)
*jams fingers in ears* Not listening! I agree with you on Gurgi. Definitely a case of not what you do but how you do it.
A good movie, one of my top ten, but next you get to see one of my top 5 movies of all time. Yes, I’m a huge Treasure Planet fan, I’m also bi-fictional.
This movie, to me anyway, was also one of the first serious movies that didn’t make all women out to be toothpick thin, super model types that are all bone and no meat. Take a good look at Nani’s figure. She isn’t princess thin, she’s normal looking. Even Lilo is more normal looking for her age bracket than most characters shown her age(Penny for Rescuers.
That to me was worth the price of admission, but the fluff on the helmet to me is that Lilo and Nani both portray rather than tell their emotions, Nani’s love and dedication come through without having to be told, or sung about. It’s something I care deeply for, let me see the emotion in the character, and not have the character act like a botox junkie with an immovable face.
Arrrr, and now if ye swabs be needin’ me, I’ll be on the poop deck shootin’ the sun with me sextant. And if any of ye curs be forgettin ye manners, i’ll be makin’ ye walk the plank of me new ship-of-the-line, courtesy of the British Royal Navy.
Treasure Planet, top 5 all time? I mean, your opinion is your opinion, but TREASURE PLANET??????
In his defence, anything with pirates, aliens and space is approaching a critical mass of awesome.
Actually its more that it told its own story and set its own rules and that its characters weren’t just there to die but fill a function.
The captain showed her badassery but also her softer side in the scene where she was wounded. The doctor was a helpless victim but he’s also the reason he and the captain escape. Silver is a greedy fool but he gives it up to act the father-figure to jim and save them all. And jim? He starts the movie a rebel but those criminal tendencies give him the ability to be the hero.
What other movie offers that?
And if you can get past the ridiculousness of a sailboat in space, it had awesome effects.
And mouse? You realize that the star trek reboot rips this movie off alot?
No, I didn’t. Do tell?
Yeah, TP does seem to have a good share of defenders.
“Bi-fictional.” Lover of the book version and the movie version? I love that! I have to steal that!
Means I’m both a star trek and star wars fan.
Ok, first consider the protagonist’s nicknames. Jim. James “Jim” Kirk
Second, their real history. Jim Kirk in his youth was more model citizen (As best as I can find) and Jim Hawkins was more or less his mother’s son. Neither of these two individuals were rebellious.
Third, their new backstories. Jim Hawkins is a rebel teen who enjoys joyriding on a solar board often around canyons and is often brought home by robotic cops. Kirk is now a rebellious teen who(as seen in the movie) is joyriding in a very vintage car towards a canyon being chased by a cop on a flying motorcycle that seems like I seen once in a Stallone movie.
Four, the turn-a-round. Jim Hawkins turns his life around after he thinks he fails when First Mate Arrow is lost overboard. Kirk turns his life around when he too, in a way, fails when he is unsuccessful at getting “Captain” Spock to get back to Earth to stop Nero.
Five. Both films have a first officer who is a strict by the book officer. Arrow and Spock.
Six, both Jim and Kirk must overcome their personal demons to become the hero inside them, and go on to greatness.
If I need to give you more examples, please let me know.
Sorry, on one, that’s James “Jim” Kirk, and Jim Hawkins. I was just on a roll and didn’t proofread. My bad.
You just blew my mind man.
Give’s you something to think about doesn’t it? Makes you wonder what else they rip off in movies today.
Also, loved the commercials for this movie, where Stitch was messing up the highlights from Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Lion King. Those were funny.
Rabbits make great pets! Lots of great pets. As in 6-7 in a litter.
Joke aside, your dismissal of bunnies broke my heart a little… I purchased a bunny when I was feeling lonely and abandoned (much in the tone of the movie), and for a time she was the only living creature beside me. She was awful – chewed cables, bra straps, remote control buttons, pooed on my head when I was sleeping, and still I couldn’t let go of her. Maybe this is why this movie touches me so deeply.
You’re not exactly selling me on it.
I know. I upgraded to a husband shortly after. Wanna know how this is like? 😉
Its like a rat with longer ears and more social graces, isn’t it?
“Its like a rat with longer ears and less social graces…”
Fixed it for ya. ❤
Definitely continuing to enjoy your reviews, but since Dinosaur I’ve been curious -when is the Horned King going to pop up again? You haven’t mentioned him since his little “I was only mostly dead” reveal.
I have something planned. That’s all I’llsay.
Hmm, looking back over the Lost Era I’m really not seeing why people think as poorly of it as they do. Yeah Dinosaur, Home On The Range and Chicken Little were pretty bad, but that’s just 3 movies out of 11, with everything else ranging from surprisingly great to at the least commendable for taking chances. Then again I’m the type who’d rather take something flawed-yet-interesting over something polished-yet-safe (not to point fingers).
Also, is it just me, or does Disney appear to be cursed in a way, a little bit Faust-style (aside from all that business with the Horned King)? I mean there seems to me this “Five-Film Rule” with them, in which they release five well-loved, highly-acclaimed (whether immediately or eventually) films… and then after stumble across with a major decline.
Like how after the Tar & Sugar movies the next non-compilation film wouldn’t arrive for another 8 years. Or how the five Restoration movies were followed by the Scratchy Era, which while great in its own way did undeniably see a huge downgrade in animation. Or how the Fearsome Four plus Rescuers Down Under (which seems to be quite well-liked among those who are aware of it) were followed by Pocahontas.
If we go by just the reviews here, then you have Hunchback, Hercules (comedy-wise), Mulan, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000… and then Dinosaur. The early 2000s can even be fudged to fit this rule too: you’ve got The Emperor’s New Groove, the cult-favourite Atlantis, Lilo & Stitch here, the underrated Treasure Planet, Brother Bear which certainly has its good points… and then come Home On The Range and Chicken Little, possibly the two most loathed films in the canon.
Granted, when looked at individually these were all due to their own reasons, whether they be blowing the budget, behind-the-scenes conflicts or no less than WWII, but when put together a pattern seems to emerge. Perhaps I’m letting superstition get the better of me, but all this does not bode well for Big Hero 6 (or Zootopia, depending how you count things).
“Hmm, looking back over the Lost Era I’m really not seeing why people think as poorly of it as they do”.
Oh yeah, I forgot, the 00s were also the Era in which the Disney sequels grew to be at their worst. Ah well, that’s what we have this whole canon thing for.
I think it’s more of a case of finding something that works and milking it as long as they can which usually lasts for a decade or so.
As a huge Marvel and Disney fan I really want Big Hero Six to be a success but I am a little nervous. Then again, I thought Frozen was going to be crap so what do I know?
I really, really hope that Big Hero 6 turns out to be great. I’m hopeful because the studio’s choice of an obscure comic book to adapt implies that they’re more concerned with having the freedom to go wild with their creativity than pandering to a hugely established comic fanbase.
Everyone thought that Frozen would be crap from the horrendously misleading trailers for it; you’d have thought we’d have learned our lesson from Tangled and its Dreamworks-esque trailers.
That is very true. I should have more faith.
So you’ve watched Frozen already?
Not yet but I’veheard great things.
I thought Frozen was pretty mediocre. Unfunny humor, dull characters, forgettable songs and a weak story did it for me. The animation was spectacular, though. Overall: 2.5/5
My same opinion on Tangled, actually ( if you swapped weak story and spectacular animation for average animation and a strong story.)
Another great review mouse! Like someone above I really enjoyed the trailers for this, really showed that Disney were trying to distance themselves from the Renaissance movies (in a good way) yet this still had that good old Disney heart
For me, 2002 was a great year for Disney. Because Lilo and Stitch and Treasure Planet are both in my top 5 of the entire Disney Canon.
A fellow traitor after my own heart.
Plus for us gamers it was also the year Kingdom Hearts was released.
Was it that long ago?
I feel so guilty… I don’t know if I should tell you mouse…. You gotta promise not to get mad…. Who am I kidding of course you’re going to be mad…. Just don’t kill me ok?
I don’t deserve to live and death is too good for the likes of me.
Ssssshhh…it’ll all be over soon…(raises hatchet)
My sister gave the DVD away, along with our DVDs for Snow White and Bambi.
Wait, I have proof that at 20:00 last night the subject watched Lilo and Stitch (for the first time) and enjoyed it immensely. Would this be of help to the case? Will you spare the accused’s life in light of this new evidence or is it too late for her?
Ps I loved Frozen, I know a lot of people are saying it was bad but I loved it and all the musical numbers. But then again it might be because I’m closer in age to the target audience. Who knows?
STILL haven’t seen Frozen. How tragic. I’m afraid the sentence has already been carried out.
MOUSE!!!!!!!!!!! You are supposed to discuss sentencing with me, BEFORE they are beheaded!
Yeah Mouse you should’ve talked to Knight first. What am I supposed to do with a bodiless head and a headless body?? Does anyone know how to reattach a head?! I can pay with my voice a la Little Mermiad.
Forgive me. It will not happen again.
I love your reviews ! 🙂 I started reading them, and I’ve finished every single one over the course of two days. I am so looking forward to your next disney review.
I was wondering why my page views had spiked! Hi Anna, welcome to the blog. Really glad you enjoy them. Weird question, you’re not my mother by any chance? She has the same name.
Aw man, 2001 was an AWESOME year for movies! 😀 I loved this movie when it came out. It has a lot more realism that some Disney movies, without making you feel like you’re gonna kill yourself before it’s over (go piss off, Batman Begins, Dark Knight, King Kong, & District 9!) I was used to seeing things like this in kiddy & pre-teen novels, so I didn’t really question how unusual it was for Lilo and Nani to be living like this. Plus everyone’s used to seeing orphaned heroes in Disney films. It’s when you pointed out how odd the family setup was compared to others in the canon that I finally noticed. I tried showing this movie to my nieces & nephews and mom reminded me that Lilo sets a terrible example for younger kids, because she gets away with bad behavior a lot. I had nothing to say to her about it.
I liked the Hawaiian music too. Disney Channel’s Movie-Surfers got to meet the children’s choir that sung those songs, in addition to having a fun interview with Chris Sanders. I have the soundtrack to this movie, but I only really listen to 3 tracks: the 2 Hawaiian songs & “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”
The artwork in this book was beautiful. I read that they actually used watercolors to make the backgrounds (and if you’ve ever painted with watercolors, that’s quite a challenge). It makes the whole movie look like a gorgeous, tropical, ethereal painting. Chris Sanders also talked about how everything in the movie had a rounded look, like you could “hug the movie” (his words, precisely). An example he used was Lilo’s camera. He showed how originally it was more realistic, with straight edges & sharp corners, and how it was made more “pillowy” in appearance. The technique was done to everything in the film, even vehicles & aliens.
The scene in the alien courtroom was funny :D. It’s like Stitch goes “Meega nah lah kweesta!” and everyone’s just outright horrified, & the robot by the alien Chancellor is throwing up nuts & bolts, he’s so shocked. And then Jumba goes “I didn’t teach him that.” It’s like, “Yeah….suuuurrre you didn’t.” I liked your Hitchhiker’s reference on that one Mouse, hehe.
My brother & I both love Stitch. He’s a fun, impish little alien. We both have plush Stitches (probably the size he would be in real life) in his “dog” form. He’s my brother’s fave Disney character (Aladdin comes a close second). We went to Disneyland recently and almost died laughing when we saw a cloisonne (too bad if I can’t spell it!) pin of Stitch in a black Sith Lord’s robe, shooting lightning bolts out of his paws. I totally would have bought it for my brother if there had been a clerk on duty at the time.
Lilo isn’t really the first Disney heroine I’ve seen praying. (Although I’m not really sure if she was praying to God or her dead parents. I mean, she was falling back on the old Hawaiian beliefs, like the fish controlling the weather?) Snow White also prayed, and there are several, extremely subtle Christian church references throughout many of the Disney films (cue any holy man blessing weddings for our heroes, or Queen Elsa at her coronation in “Frozen”), as well as “not-so-easy-to-spot” Christian themes laced throughout many of the classic cartoons. But you have to read into them very closely to find them.
You can spell it Hawaii or Hawai’i, both are correct (though for some reason the native Hawaiians pronounce it “hah-vah…ee.” Gotta luv that glottal stop). Though that was probably a sight gag, right?
According to Odumbass’s FAKE birth certificate, he was born on Oahu, which is the pointy island to the southeast of where the story takes place. The island Lilo lives on is Kaua’i (ka-wah…ee). My parents went to the Hawaiian islands several times back in the 80s & went island-hopping, so over a period of years, they got to know what the islands were like. Kaua’i is basically a gigantic, rainy, jungle-covered, sugarcane & pineapple plantation, with a much quieter, laid-back kind of society (good thing its nickname is “The Garden Isle.”) They aren’t as heavy into major-league tourism as Oahu, Maui, or the Big Island. So if Stitch was looking for the Hawaiian version of the boonies (AKA middle-of-nowhere), he found it.
I blame the Cartoon Factor when it comes to people being completely unable to tell Stitch, Jumba, & Pleakley from dogs & humans. Oftentimes people in cartoons totally fall for ANY kind of disguise, no matter how lame. (Cue Clark Kent with his glasses). Though it was funny how Nani comments on “Miss Pleakley’s” face looking “swollen,” & Jumba cuts in saying “Actually, she’s just ugly.” rofl 😀 (You actually had it correct in how our current Dictator can’t tell ANY world leader from a pile of trash, he really is that stupid, in spite of going to Harvard).
Much as I love Nani (I loved how she didn’t have the Barbie Doll body most Disney Heroines have, and I liked her costume at the restaurant) she really should have found a baby-sitting service for Lilo. We have tons of them all over the US, & Hawaii is no exception. I don’t care if she WAS trying to be a good parent. That was extremely irresponsible leaving a trouble-making nut-job like Lilo to her own devices while out working or job-hunting. I’m quite certain she would have been versed in using daycare before the parents died, so why wouldn’t she use it after too?
By the way, the ugly-as-sin redhead was named Myrtle (though they should have called her Uglinette, Unga, Helga, or even Little-Ugly-Bitch-On-Wheels-In-Training would have fit too). Though your nickname for her was perfectly fine. She looks like someone Snoops would have for a daughter. She’s ugly, stupid, and mean enough.
I’d say the most touching scene was where Stitch told the head Councilwoman about his family and how much they meant to him, and how she let him be “exiled” to his new home. The epilogue stuff was great too, like Cobra (I personally think he was a reject from “Men In Black”) keeping an eye on Jumba & Pleakley, or rebuilding Lilo & Nani’s home, or Stitch doing awesome stuff for Lilo on holidays. I just loved that with the “Burnin’ Love” song going on.
This is perhaps my favorite review of yours. (I swear it has nothing to do with it being my favorite movie! :P)
But, one thing I’ve noticed, and it’s not just you, is that everyone seems to forget about Alan Silvestri’s score for the film. It is freaking GORGEOUS! And nobody ever talks about it! Maybe it’s because Elvis is more memorable or Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu’s songs are more charming. But I still think Silvestri’s incidental score deserves a whole lot more recognition.
Hmmm. I’ll have to watch it again and pay attention to the score.
Lilo and Stitch probably gets the award for having the most outstanding TV series. The Winnie the Pooh and Tarzan series definitely deserve honourable mention, but I was equally fond of the original movies. I largely remember Lilo and Stitch boring at least my mum to tears, though I definitely at least got a kick out of Cobra and Pleakley’s performances. The series however was something I seldom missed during its run. That’s basically a Disney cartoon version of Pokémon, which is a pretty foolproof recipe to get me hooked on something.
Ha ha, that poster. It just makes me think of Zazu’s continuation of that quote. And that Dumbo pun was classic. Hang on, since when did Stiers take the shot-torch from Cummings?!? No wonder he’s on trial when the drinking game starts, this rotter’s a thief, I tell you! *awkwardly attempts to make fist with wing stump and wave it*
Y’know, I definitely think Pleakley deserves props for actually pointing out that the whole “nuke the site from orbit” idea is terrible. Did I mention I really dislike that quote? It’s so painfully overused and almost always just plain old straight, like “look at me, I’m quoting a classic movie, look how edgy I am!” My disdainful stance towards mass destruction probably doesn’t make it more popular with me. Also, that Shawshank reference. Ahh man, that made me sad. Probably because that scene made me sad in the movie. Hopefully a Disney movie technically constitutes as a fairy tale so there won’t be any forcible tentacle penetration or what-have-you.
Oy. Lilo’s appearance sure freaked you out. I think Lilo can be glad Frollo was dead and buried (with fiah!) by the time she hit the scene, or I have a feeling there might be a hungry well with her name on it. Hmm, maybe that’s why no one bats an eyelid at the obvious aliens, maybe Hawaiians are grotesque enough to the rest of the world that it’s the one place aliens can fit in. Fun fact though, one character catches wind that Jumba and Pleakley are aliens in the series and his response is to state that they always looked distinctly Canadian to him. Thanks, writers. Yeah, this is coming from a guy with a funnel for a freaking mouth, but still, come on!
In any case, I get the sense you’ve got a thing for malformed lead characters, Lilo’s right up there with Quasimodo.
Hey now! Uncool!
Maybe I should reiterate; by “right up there” meant up at the top of your top Disney lead list. The rest was just going on with that gag about nonstandard character design equalling terrifying deformity.
About Lilo’s assault victim… ugh. I know from the TV series that she is called Myrtle, and I guess I ought not to blame her, but damn, that kid is the biggest piece of work this side of Kate Sanders. The series basically made her this insufferable brat who acts like God’s gift to the world and never gives Lilo a second to forget that she “knows” she’s superior, never failing to rub her in the dirt even if Lilo tries to be nice. It’s almost kind of satisfying to see the tar beat out of her, even if I guess technically this happened before everything, but still. If this girl is related to Snoops, the man definitely must have a thing for nasty pieces of work who definitely have dominant personality genes. Though now that I think of it, the series appeared to decide to make her the equivalent of Gary Oak. That makes so much sense looking back.
*cough* Moving on, I have to wonder if your “Cobra Bubbles” persona had a similar gimp suit to the one Anna and Naomi made. And I’m not sure prior Disney parents were completely binary. There were parents and similar figures like Ector, Triton and Powhatan who were well-meaning but wrong in some way. Though Nani definitely is greyer than that, so your point still stands.
Would you believe it, I have a neighbour who is a rabbit owner. She has four of them and is quite enamoured with the little creatures. Though from what I gather, you had rabbits too, so perhaps you were unlucky enough to get saddled with some of the bad ones. Or maybe it’s hard wrangling a creature that’s about four times your size, dunno. And hang on a sec, didn’t Snow White pray? I distinctly remember her specifically trying to curry a favour with God so Grumpy would be nicer to her, making the sole character arc of a dwarf a technical gift from the heavens. Though I guess it’s been a while, but then again, I seem to recall a certain late Renaissance flick you’re particularly fond of that has quite a bit of religious themes in it.
In other news, Nit has found a female nit in the midst of my down and has proceeded to start a family of little nitlings.
Oh I was taken to task over the praying thing, don’t worry. Read the other comments.
Ha ha, I love your reference to the original Biblical description of angels. I’ve got to wonder if THD’s universe has some of those. I mean, can you imagine Marie taking on the world with a cherub sidekick that resembled a multiple eyeballed set of blazing wheels?!
Oooh, Taran still managed to keep his fail award while freaking Gurgi got usurped earlier. I think someone needs some aloe applied with extreme prejudice. I guess you can’t try to get Disney’s major renaissance movies on the whore list without consequences. I’d give the Death that Walks some credit though, at least she has the decency to spare innocents. Though I guess unstoppable killing machines rank high with you, Stitch is right up there with Mulan.
Lost it at that moment of abject horror of the Stitch-Gurgi realization. Well, Jumba did design him to be an ultimate evil abomination, so in a way, I guess the connection makes sense.
Good thing it turned out that wasn’t Putin Obama was talking to. You know crows eat garbage, imagine Russia’s modern government getting literally eaten up by a Communist revival. Yikes.
Great review, definitely gave this one a good account.
My angels are not quite so abstract but they do differ quite a bit from standard depictions (Sariel notwithstanding).
Oh, what’s this thing? A deleted scene? My my… I’ll just leave this here. 😁 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LxmT-zQc1GQ
A friend rented this. I had no interest until the dance class at which point I was blown away by the fact they’d researched real hula.
I’ve wondered whether Little Miss Snoops is based on Bette Midler. She once described herself as the only Jewish girl in a Samoan neighborhood when she was growing up.
Mouse, I think the Honest Trailers guy reads this blog.
“Stitch starts trashing everything he touches and Lilo challenges him to create something. Lilo responds by using various books and toys to create a perfect miniature scale model of San Francisco.”
“Lilo and Nani have a blazing row and Lilo says that Nani should just sell her and buy a rabbit which of course is a terrible idea. Seriously, they are the worst fucking pets.”
Apologize to a certain Wolf who’s always wanted a pet bunny. Need I remind you wolves will eat mice if desperate (and without a pack)?