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On the lush and tropical Hawaiian islands, a lonely little girl, Lilo (voice of Daveigh Chase), adopts what she thinks is an unusual dog, from the local pound. She calls her new pet Stitch (voice of Chris Sanders), unaware he is a dangerous genetic experiment that has escaped from an alien planet. Lilo lives with her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere), who is battling with social worker Cobra Bubbles (Ving Rhames) to keep custody, after their parents’ death. In the meantime, Stitch’s creator is sent to Earth to take him back to his planet.

Review by Louise Keller:
A bright, colourful family adventure, Lilo and Stitch is a fast paced, snappy and often humorous encounter that doesn’t quite live up to expectations. In fact, it is one of those projects that sounds better than it actually is. It’s as though the ingredients were formulated on paper, but no-one really noticed that on the screen, they didn’t quite deliver. On the plus side, continuing Disney’s tradition of hand-drawn films, the animators have used water colour backdrops, which give the whole film a greater richness and depth. But while the animation may be traditional, the central characters of Lilo and Stitch are not. After all, Lilo is a rebellious little girl whose behaviour is definitely anti-social. And her ‘dog’ Stitch is a little monster that looks like a cross between a blue koala and a squirrel. I don’t mind that the two central characters are different and even rather unlikeable; it’s credit to the filmmakers that we get to understand these two misfit characters at all. Perhaps the most incongruous and interesting juxtaposition of the project, is the use of Elvis Presley songs in the setting. Hawaii has never looked so blue as through the melody of Blue Hawaii, but we also hear tunes like Heartbreak Hotel, Stuck on You, Suspicious Minds, Devil in Disguise. Undemanding young audiences may enjoy the trip from riding a wave to jettisoning into outer space, but parents may fidget and expect more. 

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
As you’d guess if you’d caught a glimpse of the advertising materials, this is a revolution in Disney terms: it’s an animated film for little kids, but Stitch, the character around whom the story spins, is neither cute nor cuddly. Stitch is a bad mannered, ugly and destructive little shit. No cute factor here, until the very end, when the evil koala-like thing (it’s blue, at that!) is given a make over of sorts to enable him to smile. Not that I mind ugly; the problem is he has no character, loveable or otherwise. He’s just a destructive little toy monster from outer space. ET it ain’t. (Maybe it’s a she but I like to think of it as…it.) The point is, we can’t believe that even a brat like Lilo would snuggle up to a bratshody in blue. Frankly, I associated most with Lilo’s big sister Nani, who – after parents are killed in a car crash - is left to look after Lilo, the brat who befriends this alien pet. Lilo is a menace. Stitch is a bitch. And there’s a tad too much violent behaviour. I began to have doubts about the film’s suitability for little kids right at the start when the intergalactic court is dealing with the evil scientist (East European caricature) who created the artless brat later known as Stitch. The script talks about genetic engineering and I guess I never got into that when I was seven. But there is a lovely, deeply subtle line in this scene; when Stitch is seen, his mutated koala looks are mocked and ridiculed by the aliens, each of whom would make the hunchback Quasimodo look like Brad Pitt. But that short moment passes and we’re left to hang around as Stitch is accidentally rocketed to Earth. All the proceedings are excused by the filmmakers being enthralled by one aspect of the whole enterprise, as summed up by Walt Disney Animation President Thomas Schumacher: the thing that turned everyone on in the making of this project was “the notion that no matter who you are – a genetic experiment from another galaxy or a little girl who’s been left all alone in the world – you can find your place and make a family.” Worthy concept, wonky film.

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CAST: Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere, Chris Sanders, Ving Rhames, David Ogden Stiers, Kevin McDonald, Jason Scott Lee, Zoe Caldwell, Kevin Michael Richardson

PRODUCER: Clark Spencer

DIRECTOR: Chris Sanders, Dean Deblois

SCRIPT: Chris Sanders, Dean Deblois

EDITOR: Darren T. Holmes

MUSIC: Alan Silvestri


RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 19, 2002

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