on 1 June 2004
The marketing people soooo got the pitch of this movie wrong ...
I thought it was some schmaltzy Disney tale of a cute little Hawiian girl and her pet mouse! It actually turns out to be one of the funniest, most entertaining, original animated movies since Toy Story....
I'd hate to give the plot away so I'll just say that it involves the story of the relationship between an alien who has been genetically engineered to be the most evil creature in the universe and consequently banished to earth by the Intergalactic Federation, and a 'problem' child with a penchant for Elvis Presley, who's about to be taken into care by social services, represented by an ex-gangsta called Bubbles! - Disney? NOT!!
There IS a strong moral overtone here, delivering the importance of the concept of 'family' (in the broadest sense tho', which I applaud) and it can verge on the sentimental for my taste (but hey, this is Disney); but the script, the gags, the characters, the comic timing and the animation are staggering. I laughed til I cried many times ... the script is by far the most adult I've heard in any of the recent animated movies which have aimed to give something to the grown-ups too - in fact I reckon most of the gags will go way over the head of your average kid, this film is every bit an adult comedy.
This really is a 'must own' DVD. An absolute classic.
After months of dust-collecting, I finally got round to watching Lilo & Stitch, a film reputed as the 'best of the rest' in the lesser-known corners of Disney's feature animation output. Whilst a reasonable financial success in 2002, and a big-name franchise for a modern Disney thought by many to be going steadily downhill, the film nevertheless passed many by and continues to do so. As a 2D feature, it lost the academy award to the brilliant 'Spirited Away', and lost many an audience member to a climate that was increasingly hostile towards 2D animation at the peak of Pixar and Dreamworks' success. As such it passed many by, and continues to do so.
Inevitably, this is unfair and Lilo & Stitch fully certainly deserves its reputation as the best of Disney's recent output, perhaps even as the best Disney movie since The Lion King. This is because Lilo & Stitch isn't as much about Stitch's causing havoc (though the 'Aladdin' level of humour/mayhem in this is certainly welcome, and consistently punchy) as it is about the family unit that forms around Stitch, Lilo and older sister / mother substitute Nani. Despite being pivotal I didn't know this family conflict was in the film when I sat down to watch it, and it surprised me with how emotionally engaging it was, ensuring that I was weepy one minute, laughing the next, a maturely managed roller-coaster of emotion.
Along with the beautiful Hawaiian setting, when marketing for the original film, Disney has downplayed this family theme and highlighted Stitch as a sort of alien Bart Simpson, a whirlwind of havoc with full "BOLD ITALIC UNDERLINE ALL-CAPS!" surf-boarding radicalness. Yawn. Disney originally created an interesting marketing campaign in which Stitch was seen as the antithesis to Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, but (clever as their alternate re-tellings of classic Disney moments were) after years of unsuccessful Disney productions they just served to cement the fact that Disney had changed to something unrecognisable.
And true, the film isn't a big-budget ani-musical and its Science Fiction setting basically a first in the Disney Animated Features Canon, but at its core is a sentimental and commendable message worth far more than the 'Saturday Morning Cartoon' treatment that Disney gave to Lilo and Stitch's promotional period. But of course, Disney weren't quite finished: because it DID become a Saturday Morning Cartoon, and it was subjected to as many Cheapquels as every other half successful Disney feature of the last 70 years and then some (and predictably, Stitch is the main focus of these stories, in full BOLD ITALIC UNDERLINE ALL-CAPS! glory). A shame that a decent idea should be recycled endlessly in this way, but frankly that's just the way Disney has been in this decade, and looks to remain if John Lasseter fails to turn them around...
So what of this 2-Disc DVD edition of Disney Animation's only 21st Century triumph? In a rare reversal of the norm, this 2-Disk edition has never seen a release in the US which is a shame for stateside Disney fans, because the second disk is great! So long as you don't expect impartiality (Disney documentaries typically make Chinese versions of 'What really happened at Tienanmen' look like a tear-drenched confession) you're in for a treat. The first disc contains the standard Disney DVD knick-knacks aimed primarily at kids: silly DVD games, a Disney-pedia feature on Hawaii and the obligatory inharmonious holocaust of some song or other by Disney's favourite regiment of audio assassins (The Mouseketeers aren't so called because their spiritual leader is a small, trouser wearing rodent, they've earned the name by violently filling DVD extras with enough cheese to stink out Cheddar gorge). There is an audio commentary which I haven't got round to hearing yet, but the second disk alone is enough for me to give a recommendation. Cleverly segmented into parts with optional 'footnotes' as you go along, the second disk is a comprehensive making-of adequately supplemented by material that all too often gets left off the disk despite being discussed in the documentary: complete deleted scenes, production sketches and scene / concept pitches are present. Particularly interesting are interviews with animation idols responsible for backgrounds in the first four Disney features, presented as supplements to detailed accounts of Lilo & Stitch's early development and unconventional use of watercolour backgrounds. The hours of content on these discs manage to put some of the more recent 'Platinum' editions to shame and are highly commendable.
Stitch is a destructive alien experiment that crash lands on Earth. He soon strikes up a friendship with a troubled young Hawaiian girl called Lilo (well, actually he gets mistaken for a dog and she adops him from a rescue home!). Meanwhile Stitch's creator (Dr Jumba Jookiba) and another alien (Agent Pleakley) are sent to Earth to capture Stitch. Lilo is cared for by her big sister Nani (since their parents passed away) who really struggles to keep things together and eventually ends up under the watchful eye of a social worker (Cobra Bubbles) who informs Nani that Lilo will be taken into care if she doesn't step up her game. Stitch's aggressiveness and destructiveness (and also his mad attempts at escaping capture) begin to have a massive effect on Lilo and Nani's lives and things soon take a downward spiral.
This film is good fun for children aswell as adults. It has an enjoyable and unique storyline. I loved the way you didn't know how things were going to pan out and was particularly pleased with the ending.
I loved Lilo's fascination with Elvis and her attempts of modelling Stitch on him. I also love the fact that even though Lilo and Stitch were both quite awkward and troubled characters, they were very likeable at the same time. The relationship between Lilo and Nani was played out well too - it wasn't rosy but you could see how much love they had for each other.
I enjoyed seeing how Stitch coped after there was nothing left to destroy and how he started to wonder about his own 'Ohana'. It was nice to see the softer sides of many of the characters but I also enjoyed some of the 'action' scenes (which usually involved Stitch trying to escape capture). It's a real story of family and friendship.
Nani also has a love interest (a young man called David) who features heavily throughout the film and it was nice to see their relationship develop.
The animation is great and feels like a Disney film should (not that I have a problem with CGI but all Disney classics are hand drawn animation). I also like the fact that the majority of the film is set on a Hawaiian island which means lots of sand, sea, sun, hula skirts and hibiscus flowers - very refreshing! The soundtrack is also good and features lots of Elvis songs.
Lilo and Stitch is rated U which means it's suitable for all ages and has a running time of 82 minutes which is just about the right length in my opinion.
Extras on the DVD include a tour around the Hawaiian islands, a couple of music videos, a game to create your own alien, a hula lesson and trailers. The second disk includes the making of Lilo and Stitch, deleted scenes and still frame galleries. The extras are okay, but nothing special in my honest opinion.
I recommend this DVD to all.
on 22 June 2009
i absolutely adore animated films. especially when they are done right (as in NOT Madagascar or Shark Tale). Lilo and Stitch is one of those films i ignored for quite a long time. i couldn't see how it was going to be good. bookended in time between the dire Atlantis and the so-so Treasure Planet, i thought that a cutesy disney film about an alien rogue and a hawiaan girl would be, ya know, junk.
but by the time my collection of animation was near completion, it occured to me that i still had a few disney films left to add. one of those was Lilo and Stitch. i bought it cheap from Woolworths, just before it closed down, and when i finally saw it, i was struck by the films odd charms: the lush, but understated watercolour backgrounds; the wobbly, plump looking character designs (i found this endearing) and the mixture of quirky humour, sci-fi, family drama and... um... elvis presley.
in all honesty, and i won't go into plot details (because i'm sure that has already been covered), i feel that this is more in the vein of Hayao Miyazaki circa Kiki's Delivery Service in its tone and charm than it is disney at its most vintage. i think its their most likeably odd film, they don't look like they are trying to hard to be different (like they did in Atlantis, which is dire) and its quirky humour is just at odds with the companies heritage (no wise-cracking meercats and chirpy musical songs here). of course, i'm not saying that this could pass off for being, i don't know, a studio ghibli production. its just that it just feels to be that little bit too avante garde to truly convince as a disney classic. i think it is a classic, hence the five stars. its just lacking that disney feeling. which is cool, as i think that those who usually pass over disney animation for being to sentimntal will probably find something to adore here!
well, i won't write a review that goes on forever, but i hope that this review will prove helpful if you can't decide if you'll like this or not. this is a brilliant family film, and i'm sure everyone will enjoy it if they give it time to grow!
Lilo and Stitch is a return to classic animation and story telling for Disney. No computer generated characters, but real animation, set in Hawaii. The backgrounds used are gorgeous, and the Hawaiian physique is exaggerated.
Stitch is a genetic experiment gone wrong. Sentenced to imprisonment, he escapes and after some hilarious escapades, lands on Earth. Here he is mistaken for a dog and taken to the shelter.
Meet Lilo and her older sister Noni, who is trying to raise Lilo after the death of their parents. Things aren't easy and social services is threatening to intervene. In an effort to cheer Lilo up, Noni takes her to the pound, where she can pick herself out a dog. But instead, Stitch picks her in effort to escape his would-be captors.
This is a classic Disney story, with Stitch trying to find a place to fit in, and Lilo and Noni, struggling to stay a family. It's not done in a schmaltzy way, but instead handled well, and will undoubtedly cause you to shed a tear or two.
The use of Elvis songs throughout strengthens the film, adding to the humour and sadness. There are plenty of funny moments in this film, mainly featuring Stitch. Bred for fighting and causing chaos, Stitch's skill is in "flooding sewers, turning signposts around and losing socks."
This is my favourite recent kids film by a distance. Laughs and tears gauranteed, but you can bet that it all works out in the end. A great soundtrack, fitting in with the present Elvis revival.
on 22 June 2003
I watched this film recently and as an adult, LOVED IT! The animation was so good, I am sure the Hawaiian tourist board will benefit.
The characters are all great and Lilo & Stitch totally adorable. So there are lots of laughs to be had by watching this film for ALL ages.
on 17 February 2015
One of the best Disney films in recent years. The story is of a little creature created by genetic experimentation and bound to prison with his evil creator. Stitch escapes and heads for Earth where he tries to impersonate a dog and gets adopted by little Lilo, whom, bent on self preservation, he plans to use as a human shield to protect him for the aliens sent to recapture him. But without a greater purpose in life, no friends, family or memories, Stitch does a little soul searching and begins to understand the meanings of "love" and "family" and his feeling for Lilo begin to change.
It has what you expect from Disney, great story with heart warming message, great songs and overall very enjoyable and would recommend.
on 7 April 2016
Great film, it's nice to revisit some of the slightly older films, still good, cheaper to get hold of and the younger kids haven't seen them before so a nice treat to keep them amused during the school hols.
on 29 May 2003
Lilo and Stitch, I have to admit, is not what I thought it would be at all. It is funnier than I thought, more touching than I thought, just better than I thought it would be. So the outline? Well...
Lilo is an orphaned little girl who lives with her big sister Nani, in Hawaii. Lilo is quite eccentric, and after a visit from social services (the terrifyingly named Mr Bubble), goes to the pound and adopts Stitch. Stitch has a bit of a background, namely being that he is an indestructible experiment gone wrong. He is banished to earth by his people, being fired into an ocean (he can't stand water), but lands on Hawaii. Stitch subsequently causes havoc in Lilo's house, and there are people after Stitch as well, sent by the ruler of the aliens. What follows is a hilarious and heart-warming story about the importance of friendship, and the importance of Ohana (family).
Admittedly, things get a little silly towards the end, but then again this is Disney, and if not having silliness in Disney is like having a breadless sandwich.
So, Lilo and Stitch ranks up there among the best of the modern Disney films - really, the ones since The Little Mermaid. The animation is lush and vibrant, despite being in 'outdated' 2D, and it lends the film a friendly, fun feel to it. The story is the most inspired thing to come out of Disney for a while, the characters are great, and realistic - Lilo and Nani's sisterly bickering remind me of arguing with my little brother - and all these factors combined add up to a fantastic film. Not one to be missed.
on 13 May 2003
Disney have really done themselves proud with this movie! We have seen it once a day practically since Mother's Day (it was MY present)! The children love it and the adults think it is entertaining too.
Disney has created some lovely charcters and I would certainly not be against a Lilo and Stitch 2!
A Disney collection is simply not complete without this film!