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Article:    Disney's Lilo & Stitch, Reviewed

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The Movie

Disney's latest feature film, Lilo & Stitch, is different, indeed. The story begins on Planet Turo, where scientist, Jumba, stands accused of illegal genetic experimentation. Despite his profuse claims of innocence, there's nothing left to deny once evidence of his crime, "Experiment 626" (later known as the blue alien, Stitch), is placed before both Jumba and the Federation. Stitch is clearly naughty, programmed for destruction -- an "abomination". Before you know it, he manages to escape exile in a police cruiser that lands on the planet Earth--the Hawaii islands, to be exact.

Lilo  Stitch
Lilo Stitch
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Pleakley, a one-eyed, bumbling alien "expert", is convinced that Earth should be saved because the "simple creatures" (humans) are part of the mosquito food chain--and mosquitoes, he insists, are endangered species. So, Jumba and Pleakley are sent to Earth on a mission to capture Stitch.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to a little Hawaiian girl named Lilo, whose feisty and unusual behavior makes her somewhat of an outcast. She practices voodoo, has a predilection for Elvis, and proudly displays her photos of tourists on her bedroom wall. Since being orphaned, her older sister, Nani, has acted as her guardian. Their struggle to make it in their new family roles is intensified by the attention of the imposing Cobra Bubbles, a social worker who has given Nani three days to "change his mind" about the situation. When fate has it that Lilo finds Stitch in a dog kennel and insists on adopting the strange blue "dog", things go from worse to ugly. Besides making Nani lose her job at the luau, Stitch is being pursued by aliens. As time goes by, Lilo's influence on the destructive creature becomes more and more apparent. Even Jumba, his creator, is surprised at Stitch's developing heart.

In the end, Stitch delivers (and repeats) the bottom line of the movie: he says of his newfound family, "It's little and broken, but still good". 

As we have come to expect from Disney animated films, a lot of the humor in Lilo & Stitch is aimed at parents. Still, there are plenty of scenes that will tickle kids. In addition, the whole concept of a misbehaving "pet" goes over swimmingly.

Those who find Disney movies emotionally manipulative and too intense for little kids will be disappointed with this latest film--it's an emotional roller coaster, for sure. (The PG rating provides a clue). For others, the cartoon violence (sci-fi action with laser guns is plentiful) will be too much. However, the film has its own unique charm. Most notable is its treatment of what society labels "dysfunctional" families--Lilo and Nani fight with intensity and rage before they make up, and there is plenty of irresponsible behavior (the stove is left on, sarcastic insults are exchanged, Lilo bites a teasing friend, and so forth)--but the sisters' love for each other is undeniable.

Lilo & Stitch on DVD and VHS: Lilo & Stitch was released on home video and DVD on December 3/2002. The DVD edition includes a number of bonuses: deleted scenes (those scenes that didn't make it to the final cut), the hilarious trailers we saw plus some all-new ones, an interview with country star Wynona, a music video of "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" performed by the A*Teens, games, and more featurettes. See our review.

[For more information, or to buy: Lilo & Stitch (VHS) or Lilo & Stitch (DVD) at Amazon.com]
 

Computer Software Starring Lilo & Stitch

Disney Interactive has released two new titles based on the feature film. Both are notable. Disney's Lilo & Stitch Hawaiian Adventure is a bit confusing at times (audio instructions and help with icons could have been better), but once understood, it's quite fun. Children work through the adventure one activity at a time. Each places kids in similar situations taken directly from the movie (like an activity in which kids need to keep dogs at bay in the kennel, and another in which players must "work" at the luau). Some activities are bland, but many are amusing and entertaining. Avoid this one for children under the age of approximately 6 or 7. Our rating: B. Check out screenshots from the game in our screenshot gallery. [For more information, or to buy: Disney's Lilo & Stitch Hawaiian Adventure at Amazon.com for approximately $19.99 US]

Disney's Lilo & Stitch: Trouble in Paradise! is best for children ages 9 and up. It's an action game in which kids play as either Lilo or Stitch (roles alternate), leading them through terrains and trails at mega speeds. The game is challenging but compelling. Fans of the movie who are good at video games will enjoy this program. Make sure your system can handle this game (the minimum system requirements are comparatively high). [Buy Disney's Lilo & Stitch: Trouble In... at Amazon.com for approximately $19.99 US]

UPDATE April 2004: Both of the above Lilo & Stitch computer games are now available in a bundle: Disney's Lilo & Stitch Collection, along with a free book. 

A new print studio entitled Disney Print Creations: Movie Collection is now available. Images from Disney movies, including Lilo & Stitch, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Disney Babies, and more, are featured. This program is powered by Print Artist. Kids, and the young at heart, can make greeting cards, calendars, stickers, invitations, posters, and more with this program. There are over 7000 graphics to grab and insert into projects. Photo editing is integrated into the software. [Buy Disney Print Creations: Movie Collection at Amazon.com for approximately $19.99 US]


Lilo & Stitch: Soundtrack from the Movie

Elvis classics like Hound Dog and Stuck on You, redone Elvis classics (Burning Love performed by Wynonna and Can't Help Falling in Love by A Teens), plus a handful of Hawaiian originals add up to a fun mix on the Lilo & Stitch soundtrack. Some of the tracks are a little depressing, such as the eerie I'm Lost. All in all, however, this CD makes a long-lasting souvenir of the movie that both parents and kids will enjoy. [For more information, or to buy: Lilo & Stitch Amazon.com] 

 

Lilo & Stitch Sticker Book

Kids love stickers--and Lilo & Stitch--so a book bursting with colorful stickers of characters and scenes from the movie is bound to be a winner. More than 60 stickers of Lilo, Nani, Stitch, Pleakley, and even the council's leader, are featured in DK's Lilo & Stitch Sticker Book. They are "restickable", so children can use them to fill the book's pages (each sticker has its place on a page, alongside its appropriate caption) or to decorate their own books. [For more information, or to buy: Lilo & Stitch Sticker Book (Ultimate... Amazon.com]

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

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July/August 2002/Updated April 2004, April 2005
 

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