Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4
LILO & STITCH, written by Chris Sanders (MULAN), proves what SPIRIT: STALLION OF
THE CIMARRON forgot. When you're making an animated feature, especially when
it's a traditionally drawn one and not a computer drawn picture, it's all about
the quality of the script. And in that department, the delightfully sweet yet
charmingly edgy story of the little Hawaiian girl Lilo (voiced by Daveigh Chase)
and her alien companion Stitch (voiced by director Chris Sanders) is a wonderful
treat that's more for the ears than the eyes. The eyes, however, have plenty to
enjoy. The soothing palette for the picture is made up of lush pastels, heavy
on the blue. There's even a line in the movie that subtly pokes fun at its own
The story concerns a lovable misfit originally named Experiment 626. A little
guy with razor sharp teeth, he mainly just hisses when he isn't destroying
something. With the ability to move objects three thousand times his size, he
is a threat to everything with which he comes into contact. Because of this, he
is banned to a far-off planet named Earth.
After landing on the island of Kauai, Experiment 626 ends up being incarcerated
at the local dog pound, where he is adopted by Lilo, who names him Stitch. A
loner who is constantly teased by her supposed friends, Lilo shares many
personality traits with Stitch, so they make perfect companions.
A terrific subplot involves Lilo's big sister and guardian, Nani (Tia Carrere),
who has trouble keeping her job because of Lilo and Stitch's antics and has
trouble keeping Lilo out of the hands of the child protective service for the
same reasons. Although Chris Sanders's voicing of Stitch is the best in the
movie, close behind is the hilarious work of Ving Rhames as the voice of Cobra
Bubbles, the child protective service officer who looks like a cross between a
Secret Service agent and a private club bouncer.
LILO & STITCH is a movie with a good message ("Family means nobody gets left
behind or forgotten.") that never feels preachy or disingenuous. It's also one
that skewers the normally sacred text of animated movies -- environmentalism.
The reason that the aliens can't just destroy Earth when they want to eliminate
Experiment 626 is that our entire planet turns out to be a wildlife preserve for
the endangered mosquitoes. Moreover, the aliens are strictly forbidden to kill
any human beings since they are "part of the mosquito food chain." Just think
about that the next time you're inclined to swat the mosquito that's noshing on
LILO & STITCH runs 1:25. It is rated PG for "mild sci-fi action" and would be
acceptable for kids of all ages.
My son Jeffrey and his friend Nick, both age 13, gave the movie ***. They
thought it was cute and funny and had a nice story.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes