Disney Animated Marathon: Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Movie #43 in the Disney Animated Marathon will cause you to laugh and laugh and laugh and then laugh some more!

Written By: Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders
Directed By: Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders

When watching movies it’s very easy to get caught up in the idea of the plot. Basic storytelling tells us that the plot is very, very important, and that is quite often true for movies. However, movies are their own medium and movies can, and often do, function on a more ethereal realm. Lilo & Stitch is a great example of why a well thought out and complex plot isn’t needed for a movie to be a hell of a ride. The plot of Lilo & Stitch is simple and light, but it is my belief that Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders have crafted a film where the plot is a very minor matter when compared to its themes.

Family is important in Lilo & Stitch, and the story of Lilo and her family is an easy one to understand, but it’s supposed to be. The easier that we can relate to what Lilo is going through the faster we as the audience can begin to soak in the theme of family that Lilo & Stitch wants to present. Outside of one moment, when David piles on Stitch in his speech at the beach, Lilo & Stitch is a film that presents a great thematic message about family. The characters we see in Lilo & Stitch matter to us because we can relate to their loneliness and desire to fit in no matter how weird they may be. Long before the characters realize they have formed a new family we have figured it out, watching the nucleus of this new family be born is half the fun.

The rest of the fun can be found in the character of Stitch and the chaos he brings upon Hawaii. No matter how many times I watch Lilo & Stitch I always find myself laughing heartily at the antics of Stitch, Lilo, Jumba, Pleakley and others. The humor in Lilo & Stitch is very adult and it’s also very deadpan and dry, almost observational. The film sees things from the alien perspective even if it isn’t shot from the alien perspective. The viewer becomes the silent observer, watching and laughing at the discoveries of Stitch, Lilo announcing she wants to die or Pleakley becoming a home for mosquitoes. Maybe we can relate to some of the comedy, but much of it is foreign and that is why the audience is placed in the role of observer.

I don’t know if my last point made much sense, reading it back right now I’m not sure it even makes sense to me. Rest assured, I always laugh when watching Lilo & Stitch, it is a very funny movie, so that’s that. Lilo & Stitch floats effortlessly from theme to theme presenting an adult world full of adult ideas nestled in beautiful animation and a wonderful sea of music. Lilo & Stitch is a fun movie that kids can relate to just as easily as adults, but since I don’t really care about all of that, my parting words to you are that Lilo & Stitch remains a hidden gem of Disney animation and perhaps the oddest film in Disney’s canon, but it works. From start to finish the film works in almost every way that it strives for, I love it every time I pop in the DVD, and maybe, just maybe Lilo & Stitch is a modern day Frankenstein with a healthy dose of humor to prop up the pathos. Who knows, but it’s food for thought, and yeah, I guess I went on for a long time after I was supposed to have blessed you with my parting words. Hey, it’s me, what do you expect?

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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5 responses to “Disney Animated Marathon: Lilo & Stitch (2002)

  1. Jumba?
    what a great underrated film. you nailed it on the head, Bill, its just good fun from start to finish.

  2. I have only seen this movie once, but I certainly intend on seeing it again. Your review reminded me of how good it is. It’s without question one of the funniest films Disney has ever made.

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  5. Ross – It sure is a lot of fun, and one that I never get tired of going back to.

    Edgar – Definitely, my family cracks up every single time we watch this one.

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