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The Reviews :: Lilo & Stitch
Reviewed by Megan Larson
In 1989, the Disney animation studios released The Little Mermaid. It ended up being the start of a successful run of animated musicals for the company, with a guaranteed hit virtually every summer. However, in 2000, Disney took a step away from the musical cartoon, with The Emperor's New Groove, and then Atlantis: The Lost Empire in 2001. The trend was continued with this summer's movie, Lilo & Stitch.
I, for one, am happy about the decision Disney made. While the songs from movies like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King are great, it's good to watch a movie without wondering when the characters are going to burst into song next. L&S does have great music though, in the form of various Elvis hits. How can anyone not love the King?
As the movie starts up, we meet Stitch (called "experiment 626" right now), who turns out to be the creation of a mad alien scientist. Stitch is a rude, destructive creature, so the alien council decides to exile Stitch into space. One problem: Stitch is also really smart, and he soon escapes from the transport ship and flies out into space. A chase ensues, and Stitch's ship is shot, sending him spiraling down towards... Earth. Hawaii, to be specific.
Enter Lilo. She seems to be just as much a problem as Stitch is, especially when it comes to how she treats her "friends". Aside from taking pictures of the tourists on the beach, she loves dancing, and Elvis. Lilo is being taken care of by her older sister Nani, who needs to prove to a social worker that she is able to take care of Lilo; otherwise she will be taken away. When Nani hears Lilo wishing for a friend, she decides to take Lilo to the animal shelter, and let her adopt a dog. But instead of a dog, Lilo chooses Stitch, who is trying to hide from the alien scientist who created him and an alien Earth "expert" who were sent by the alien council to retrieve him. Newly adopted Stitch rips apart pillows, attacks people, and in general causes chaos. Lilo loves him anyway, though, and decides to use the example of Elvis to teach Stitch how to behave. As Stitch begins to realize the importance of family, he is still chased by the other aliens, one of whom doesn't care about what happens to any Earthlings that get in the way.
This is a very cute movie. Disney definitely knows how to create a marketable character. There are a lot of jokes in the movie that are geared towards adults, especially the whole Elvis theme, but kids can definitely enjoy it too. I especially like the jokes that aren't right in your face. For instance, when the alien captain is bitten by Stitch, he asks one of his pilots, "Is this infected?" Later on, a little girl asks her friends the same question, but referring to the bite that Lilo gave her. There is also the comedic relief of the alien Earth expert, who plays the thin man to the mad scientist. Literally. The jokes in Lilo & Stitch aren't rare, they pop up at every moment. The audience and I laughed through the entire movie.
Visually, the backdrops of Hawaii are gorgeous, of course. But while some people think that the animation of the people in Atlantis was brushed off in favor of the scenery, you can tell Disney actually paid attention to what people look like this time. In the opening hula scene, I actually thought in my head, "Yes! Fat ankles!" And they like to show off Nani's midriff a lot, even though her tummy isn't flat.
Go, enjoy this movie. See it late if you want to laugh with the adults and forget you aren't kids. Go early if you love seeing little kids enjoying movies. Either way, you're going to come out of it hearing, "I want a Stitch..." maybe even from your own mouth.
Rating: 4 fairies
MPAA rating: PG, for sci-fi action
Official Website: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/liloandstitch/index.html
Starring (voices of): Tia Carrere, Daveigh Chase, Jason Scott Lee, Ving Rhames, Kevin McDonald, David Ogden Stiers, Chris Sanders, Kevin Michael Richardson
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