Lilo & Stitch (2002)

lilo and stitch poster 2002 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun animation and music

Story is lacking direction

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lilo & Stitch

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios/Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida

Genre(s):  Animated/Comedy/Family/Musical

Release Date(s):  June 16, 2002 (Premiere)/June 21, 2002 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

lilo and stitch ohana means family nani

I got to go with Mr. Bubbles on this…you’re doing a pretty crap job raising me

Experiment 626 has escaped custody and crashed on Earth.  With Dr. Jumba Jookiba and Agent Pleakley sent to recapture him, the aliens learn that Experiment 626 has been renamed “Stitch” and is masquerading as a dog.  Nani is trying to take care of her sister Lilo and keep her from being taken by her new social worker Cobra Bubbles.  When Lilo adopts Stitch, Stitch could cost Lilo and her sister everything they have…but ohana means family, and no one is left behind.

Directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, Lilo & Stitch is a Walt Disney animated feature.  It is the forty-second film in the Disney Animated Classic series and follows Atlantis:  The Lost Empire in 2001.  The movie was released to mixed to positive reviews but started a franchise.  The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature (losing to Spirited Away).

lilo and stitch elvis costume devil in disguise

Keeping a low profile…check

I know a lot of people who don’t like Lilo & Stitch.  They think the animation is par and the story is weak.  I actually kind of like the animation, but I concede that the story leaves a lot to be desired.  Overall, Lilo & Stitch gets a thumb up.

As mentioned, the story is rather weak.  I like the basis of the film.  Originally Stitch was going to be a gang leader who was exiled, but tying the story more to family and belonging is a better idea.  The story however derails in the third act when it becomes a simple adventure with the “rescue Lilo from Gantu” part and loses the heart of the movie for a good chunk of the film.

The voice actors are quite good.  Child star Daveigh Chase (who was in movies like Donnie Darko, The Ring, and also voiced Chihiro in the American dubbing of Spirited Away which beat this movie at the Oscars) sounds like a real girl but in modern takes, the role should have been voice by a Native Hawaiian or someone of Lilo’s ethnicity.  Tia Carrere provides the voice of her sister while Disney regular David Ogden Stiers is Dr. Jumba Jookiba and Kids in the Hall vet is amusing as mosquito loving Pleakley.  Ving Rhames, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Jason Scott Lee round out the cast.

lilo and stitch halloween costumes pumpkin

Happy Halloween!

The animation of Lilo & Stitch is highly debated.  Disney opted not to go computer animated as movies like Pixar were dominating the market.  I love traditional animation, and the film’s whimsical watercolored-esque world is fun…I can see arguments with the character designs however since they look oddly proportioned in most scenes.  The movie decided not to do an original soundtrack and tied in with the Hawaii-Elvis theme which really worked.

Despite a lot of Lilo & Stitch hate, I actually kind of like the movie.  It isn’t Disney’s best film, but I admire that they tried something new and utilized traditional animation.  The movie is uneven and the story is predictable, but Lilo & Stitch is simple fun.  Disney followed Lilo & Stitch with Treasure Planet also released in 2002.  The film had a sequel in Stitch:  The Movie in 2003 which served as a backdoor pilot for Lilo & Stitch:  The Series and a true sequel in Lilo & Stitch 2:  Stitch Has a Glitch in 2005.

Related Links:

Lilo & Stitch 2:  Stitch Has a Glitch (2005)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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