Lilo And Stitch (2002) – movie review

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Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring: Daveigh Chase, Chris Sanders, Tia Carrere, Jason Scott Lee, David Ogden Stiers
Directors: Chris Sanders, Dean Deblois

Disney’s animated feature LILO AND STITCH, set on an Hawaiian Island, has the family love or ‘ohana’ theme as a central, pivotal part of the plot that is so familiar to Disney movies.

Stitch or Experiment 626 (Chris Sanders) as he’s known on his home planet where he was made by a mad professor, Jumba (David Ogden Stiers), escapes incarceration and flees to Earth. But with his super-alien abilities he’s built for survival. Just as well seeing he’s run over by two trucks while being hunted by Juma and Pleakley (Kevin McDonald), who followed him to Earth to retrieve him because he’s so dangerous.

Enter Lilo, boisterous and rebellious, whose only family is her grown up sister Nani (Tia Carrere) who is trying her best to look after Lilo following the death of their parents. Lilo however is under the scrutiny of Social Services in the form of Cobra Bubbles (Ving Rhames) looking more like a secret service agent than a social worker.

To humour Lilo, Nani takes her to a dog shelter and lets her choose her very own pet ‘dog’. This is where Experiment 626 finds Lilo and loses 2 of his 6 legs to make himself more appealing. She buys him for $2 dollars and gets a certificate to prove ownership.

She names him Stitch and life for Nani goes from bad to worse as Stitch has a predestined ability to destroy most things he comes into contact with. Stitch’s antics carry Lilo along on a rollercoaster adventure of destruction with Jumba and Pleakley in hot but fruitless pursuit, which results in Nani losing her job and prevents her in obtaining other gainful employment elsewhere. This doesn’t bode well for her with Bubbles, who after warning Nani feels he no option but to remove Lilo to foster care. Lilo escapes from his car with Stitch but ends up being abducted by one Captain Gantu (Kevin Michael Richardson) sent to Earth as Jumba and Pleakley have failed miserably.

LILO AND STITCH is certainly an enjoyable movie but it seems strange that Lilo is a big Elvis Presley fan since most of the jokes and dialogue relating to the King are lost to some extent on the younger children and doesn’t hold there attention continuously. In this respect the film is probably more suited to teenagers upwards who should understand the references.

Lilo is also a very typical, loveable but equally annoying child who knows just how to irritate her sister and her friends with maximum effect, which so many people can relate to. It’s this mischievous quality that cements her relationship with Stitch which grows into a bond showing Stitch another side of life, one he doesn’t want to lose as he learns the meaning of ‘ohana’.

It’s particularly good casting that Tia Carrere who voices Nani is actually Hawaiian.

Definitely worth watching, especially for all those Elvis fans!

4 out of 6 stars