a critiQal film review Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Plot: An evil genius from another planet (Stiers) has created a monster: Experiment 626 (Sanders). Escaping from his imprisonment, Experiment 626 crash lands on Earth, where a young girl named Lilo (Chase), mistaking him for an ugly dog at the pound, adopts him and names him Stitch. Unable to get off the island and chased by members of a galactic alliance, Stitch learns about the power of family.

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  • ...Disney's take on the classic Ugly Duckling story - involving a blue alien - turns out to be truly memorable.

I was not too impressed with the previews for Lilo & Stitch, thinking Disney had finally run out of good ideas. So I was not too excited when I went to see this movie (maybe “dragged to this movie” is a better phrase to use here). So, would all of my early impressions be wrong, or has the time come for a Disney successor in animated films?

The voice actors all put in great performances, really infusing their characters with vibrant life. Ving Rhames, of course, puts in the best voice performance, but the others all try their best to match his capabilities.

Tia Carrere is another welcome addition to the voices, since some viewers might have wondered if she had totally disappeared off the face of the earth after her star turn in Wayne’s World (1992).

The plot centers around an alien, Stitch, who is quite a character. He goes on rampages, and they come up with great stuff for him to express his destructive capabilities with. The little mock-up of San Francisco and his Godzilla imitation is a riot, as well as his ability to roll himself into a ball and crash around the house.

Along with all the fun of his rampaging, and of course his Elvis impersonation, there is a more tender side to the movie as well. Stitch associates himself with the story of The Ugly Duckling, while Lilo tries to help him understand what family means to her. It’s this great mix of humor and humanity that makes the plot for Lilo & Stitch work so well.

Disney also has come a long way toward blending computer animation and hand-drawing together seamlessly. The first computer animation I remember in a Disney movie was the fire and the carpet from Aladdin (1992), and you could tell when they didn’t computerize it and when they did. In Lilo & Stitch, it’s almost impossible to tell what’s computerized and what isn’t. Maybe they’ve learned a trick or two from their pals at Pixar?

Despite my original misgivings, I have to say that Disney has come through with another hit in Lilo & Stitch. The voice actors, the animation, and the storyline come together to form a great film for all ages. The storyline and humor are such that parents won’t mind taking their kids – and both will enjoy it. And if you’re a bit of an older kid, you won’t feel silly being there either.

Lilo & Stitch should be a definite addition to anyone’s Disney collection when it hits DVD.

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