Animated film (2002). Walt Disney Animation Studios. Directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. Written by Sanders and DeBlois from an idea by Sanders. Cast includes Tia Carrere, Daveigh Chase and Sanders. 82 minutes. Colour.
Disney's first great film of the twenty-first century. Stitch (Sanders) is the product of illegal Genetic Engineering by a Mad Scientist; designed as a Weapon of war, he is essentially a naughty child with Superpowers. When the Galactic Federation learns of his existence, he is exiled to a deserted Asteroid but manages to escape to Earth, crash-landing his Spaceship on Hawaii. Lilo (Chase) is also a naughty child, acting out in the aftermath of her parents' death and ostracized by her six-year-old peers for her weird hobbies (such as listening to Elvis, feeding peanut butter sandwiches to fish and taking photographs of sunburnt, overweight mainland tourists). Although lacking superpowers, her capacity for chaos has her bigger sister Nani (Carrere) at her wit's end. When Stitch attempts to go undercover in a dog pound, Lilo is inevitably drawn to another ugly duckling and adopts him despite her sister's concern that he looks like an "evil koala". Together, they form a strained, endearing friendship before carrying the day amidst Ray Gun battles and aerospace chases.
Bittersweet but uproariously funny and ultimately joyous, Lilo & Stitch is a true classic. Simultaneously more realistic and more imaginative than the majority of Disney's output, it is more akin to Pixar films such as WALL-E (2008). The company was soon back to business as usual, however. The forgettable Treasure Planet (2002) was released later in the same year, while Lilo & Stitch spawned three unnecessary direct-to-video sequels – Stitch! The Movie (2003), Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005) and Leroy & Stitch (2006) – as well as an eponymous Television series that ran from 2003 to 2006. [ML]
see also: Aliens; Cinema; Children's SF; Invasion.
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