Anthony's Film Review
Lilo and Stitch (2002)
Not a bad idea, but the usual Disney charm is missing...
It's hard to say which Disney film marked the start of the declining quality of Disney animation. I know it's not Aladdin or The Lion King. Those were spectacular films. The Hunchback of Notre Dame wasn't too bad. Again, it's hard to say. What I can say is that Lilo and Stitch, released in 2002, is somewhere on that downward slope. It's not the premise of the story that's the problem. It's the execution.
Like many Disney pictures, the main characters include a human and a nonhuman. Lilo is a young Hawaiian girl who lives with Nani, her older sister. The nonhuman character is not some animal seen on Earth but a creature from outer space. Before being named Stitch, the creature is known as Experiment #626 by an alien scientist. Amidst a chaotic situation that follows, the creature finds its way to planet Earth and lands in Hawaii. There is a strange contrast in the main characters, one from Hawaii and the other from another planet. However, as the film progresses, one can get used to the idea.
The main problem with this movie is that the two characters are not totally likable at first. By the end of the film, they are a little more likable, but not much so. Lilo is a girl who is lonely and is picked on at school. She's so depressed from it that she even contemplates ending her life. Now, keep in mind that the suicidal notion isn't too explicitly portrayed that it's downright frightening, but it's still a bit out of place for a Disney film in my opinion. The solution to this problem is for her to get a pet. She ends up with Experiment #626, which she names Stitch. Somehow, Stitch could pass on as a dog despite the bluish color and alien facial features.
Stitch is only somewhat of a cute character. When Stitch looks like he's smiling, that's one thing. Most of the time, he's destroying things, which is not as cute. I wouldn't say the creature is hideous and scary, but he's just not lovable enough. If there is one purpose for Stitch being in the film, it's the fact that the aliens are trying to get him back. That, of course, leads to scenes where you have two worlds colliding. The action scenes are amusing enough to watch.
Anyone watching Lilo and Stitch with the expectation that there is a genuine friendship story may be disappointed to know there's not enough of it. There is a plot that works as a family film, but not one that Disney is known for. Overall, my opinion of the film is in the middle of my 1-to-10 scale. It's not a really bad movie but not one I would love to see more than once.
For more information about Lilo and Stitch, visit the Internet Movie Database.