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Movie of the Day – Lilo and Stitch

Posted on the 17 July 2013 by Plotdevice39 @PlotDevices

What a vastly underrated Disney animated movie.  Lilo and Stitch certainly was one of those Disney movies that might have seemed like a lower tiered Disney release, one not destined to have the trappings of a usual princess fare with some sort of whimsical nature.  No Lilo and Stitch is actually a much deeper animated adventure, one that goes into the idea of family, belonging and friendship.  It isn’t all seriousness, as the movie brings one of the most likeable characters to the screen, Stitch.  Plus this is kind of a girl and her dog bonding happening, which I am a dog person so this speaks right to me.

Lilo 1a

In a place far, far away, illegal genetic experiment #626 is detected: Ruthless scientist Dr. Jumba Jookiba has created a strong, intelligent, nearly indestructible and aggressive being with only one known weakness: The high density of his body makes it impossible for the experiment to swim in water. The scientist is sentenced to jail by the Grand Council of the Galactic Federation. The experiment is supposed to be transported to a prison asteroid, yet manages to escape Captain Gantu, who was supposed to deliver him there. With a stolen police cruiser (the red one), the destructive being races towards a little and already doomed planet: Earth. Stranded on Hawaii, experiment #626 can’t actually do much harm: water all around, no big cities and two well-equipped representatives of the Galactic Federation already following close behind to catch him again. But Dr. Jookiba and the Earth expert Pleakley never could have guessed that earth girl Lilo adopts the experiment as dog, gives him the name Stitch and actually causes an emotional development in the little beast. Her dysfunctional family, consisting only of Lilo and her sister Nani, is about to be ripped apart by social worker Cobra Bubbles. Stitch as the new family member brings quite some action into all their lifes, and after a while, not even Pleakley and Dr. Jookiba can recognize their former target. But how shall they bring the news of failure to the Grand Councilwoman without being punished?

There is a lot more to this movie than just a cutesy story about a little girl and her intergalactic “dog”, which is probably why I like this movie more than most Disney movies.  The story of the film is centered around belonging and family, what it means to be a apart of something even if it fails to fall within the traditional confines of the “norm”.  For most instances, Lilo and Stitch is focused on the broken family of Lilo and Nani, two characters who are sisters with no mother or father in the picture.  Nani is the one taking care of Lilo and struggling with finding a job, supporting their lives and keeping the remaining family together.  The introduction of Stitch is really what any family wants to do and that is to add something of value to their lives.  Stitch adorably just happens to be as lively and conflicted as they are in what he wants in life.  Their interactions are by far some of the most touching and unique aspects of the film, with Disney diving deeper into the characters and their relationships.

Lilo 1b

The movie isn’t just all about the message of family, I mean it is prevalent throughout the movie, but it’s the interaction of Stitch with Lilo that brings a lot of the awws and laughs of the movie.  Stitch is by far one of the most expressive Disney characters out there.  Considering that the creature has no pupils to telegraph emotional cues, we get a lot more exaggerated and lively movement from the creature that bring about more connection with Stitch.  He is a snarky little alien, with a crude personality but also a loveable demeanor that you get from how he acts.  It’s all foreign to him, but he learns to grow with it as Lilo is growing with him.  They really drive home the emotional bond through their adventures and it is just damn adorable to watch.

Along with the characters, the entire look of the movie is magnificent.  The scenery of the Hawaiian islands looks gorgeous with the water color approach that the animators took in creating the movie.  It makes everything feel a bit more rustic and lush, while adding that paradise feel that people going to Hawaii are looking for.

Lilo and Stitch kind of goes downhill a bit in the third act, where it turns into this mess of an alien chase and action adventure that shifts the tone of the movie a bit, but nothing where I am completely taken out of the moment.  It’s the family dynamic that pulls the heartstrings, along with Stitch providing a lot of the comedic relief through his antics.  It’s a fun watch with a better message than most other Disney movies that aren’t something along the lines of princess falls in love or evil forces are beaten back by good.  It’s a story about a family sticking together through the thick of it, never letting anything stand between them and happiness.

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