Starring: Daveigh Chase, Chris Sanders, Tia Carrere
Director: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
Running Time: 85 mins
Lilo & Stitch is an American film about an alien sent into exile who crash lands on Earth on a small Hawaiian island. There, he is taken in by a young girl who believes he is a dog, however his increasingly bizarre behaviour, coupled with two aliens following in an attempt to capture him leads her to help protect him from being captured.
This film is one of the most fondly-remembered from the last days of traditional animation, but I don’t really understand why. Sure, it’s a fun watch, and its imagination makes it a lot more entertaining than it could have been, but it’s by no means the most hilarious nor most engrossing Disney film of all, and is often actually a frustrating mess rather than a riotously entertaining watch.
However, we’ll start on the bright side, with the world the film establishes. From the first scene, the entire premise of this alien being taken in by a little girl is brilliant, and the ensuing chaos is hugely entertaining. What’s more is that the wide variety of characters, both human and alien, make for some good laughs along the way, particularly in the opening and closing stages when the two species clash head-on.
Another thing that makes this film good fun is the animation style. Thinking about it, this is one of those films that I just don’t think would work so well in modern animation, and the traditional animation allows its characters to have an extra level of zany madness about them whilst never feeling like it’s going over the top. The animation of Stitch and his fellow aliens is delightful, and the wonderful Hawaiian backdrops add even more colour and vibrancy to the look of this film, which goes a long way to making a pleasant watch.
In terms of the actual comedy here, it’s okay. This definitely isn’t the funniest Disney film I’ve ever seen, and although its chaotic vibe is a lot of fun to watch, I wasn’t laughing my socks off at the majority of the jokes.
The biggest issue with this film, however, is its story. In the end, I enjoyed the film, but the story was the major obstacle to me having a really good time with Lilo & Stitch. The problem is that the story tries to take on too many different personas at once. Its sci-fi element is by far its strongest, with great imagination, but the story centring on Lilo’s relationship with her sister just feels out of place in the movie, whilst the film’s eventual fall into a very generic ‘you’re special no matter you are’ period was very frustrating to see.
Overall, I enjoyed Lilo & Stitch. The mad, zany vibes of the film make it a lot of fun on numerous occasions, as does its animation style, but the story is more often than not a messy and frustrating affair, with a mash of sci-fi, kids’, drama, comedy and more all coming together at once, and that’s why I’m giving Lilo & Stitch a 7.0.