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Tia Carrere, David Ogden Stiers, Zoe Caldwell, Kevin Michael Richardson, Daveigh Chase

Directed by: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
Written by: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders, Alan Silvestri
Produced by: Clark Spencer

Distributor: Walt Disney

US: 21/06/02 UK: 04/10/02

Feel good Disney tale about being human. Lilo is a lonely Hawaiian girl who adopts a small ugly ‘dog,’ whom she names Stitch. Stitch would be the perfect pet if he weren’t in reality a genetic experiment who has escaped from an alien planet and crash-landed on Earth. Through her love, faith and unwavering belief in “ohana” (the Hawaiian concept of family), Lilo helps unlock Stitch’s heart and gives him the one thing he was never designed to have – the ability to care for someone else.

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"Hawaii Five O out of five from Lilo"

Disney's animation department obviously had fun going against the grain with this lively and mischievous film, sticking with some formulae (orphaned protagonists, family-values ending) and throwing out others (no one sings, the characters are all very feisty). They also combine the look of traditional animation with some innovative images. The result is one of the most enjoyable and genuinely funny animated features they've ever made. The plot centres on the fiercely strong-willed Lilo (voiced by Chase), a lonely little Hawaiian girl who lives with her grown-up, equally forceful sister Nani (Carrere) after their parents were killed in a car crash. When a social worker (Rhames) comes to visit, Nani faces the prospect of losing custody of Lilo, so to calm her down a bit she lets her pick out a dog from the animal shelter. And Lilo picks Stitch (Sanders), an odd-looking blue "dog" who we already know is actually an escaped alien creature, genetically built to be indestructible ... and compulsively destructive.

Jammed with both colourful action for the kids and sophisticated humour for the adults, the film is thoroughly entertaining on several levels. The animation is exciting and textured, racing at the pace of an old Looney Tunes caper, and packed with witty throwaway sight gags to keep us from getting bored. Action scenes are genuinely thrilling, and the background scenery is lovely. Elvis tunes fill the soundtrack for no real reason at all, which is wonderful! And the characters are funny, pushy, individualistic and, most importantly, outside the usual Disney mould. When the message kicks in at the end it all goes rather squishy and nice. This shift is not remotely smooth; from spirited and nasty, both Lilo and Stitch become sweetly obsessed with being a happy family. Not a bad lesson, but with sharp characters like this it would have been much more effective to undercut it just a bit with something at least slightly depraved!



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