December 09, 2002

Lilo and Stitch

Lilo and Stitch came out on DVD last week, and when I got home from work on Friday we all (all five of us) sat down to watch it. 'Twas wonderful, I enjoyed it just as much as I did in the theater; I think it's the best thing Disney has done in years (the Pixar films not included).

If you've not seen it, Lilo and Stitch is the story of Stitch, an alien creature genetically engineered to be incredibly smart, amazingly destructive, and effectively indestructible. He's exiled by the Galactic Council, but escapes, ending up crashlanding on the island of Kuaui. Here he meets Lilo, a little girl who is also amazingly destructive, though in her case it's all down to nurture rather than nature. Lilo's parents died in a car crash when she was small, leaving her in the care of her older sister Nani. Nani means well, but things are not going at all well when Stitch comes into their lives, and with his destructive tendencies, they only become worse. Lilo and Stitch together wreak more havoc (almost all of it unintentional) than either do apart--they make a good team.

But here's the point I really like. Stitch is supposed to be smart--and he is. He soon realizes that's there's no future in being destructive. He's all alone; there are no others like him. If he wants to belong somewhere, his best bet is to make things work with Nani and Lilo, and eventually he does. This is a movie about family, and especially about making a broken, battered family work.

On top of that the movie is just a lot of fun. The opening hula sequence, featuring Pudge the fish and a peanut butter sandwich, is simply beautiful; I bought a copy of the soundtrack just for the song that accompanies it. Then there's the scene where Stitch destroys San Francisco; and the long sequence where Lilo, in an attempt to turn Stitch into a model citizen, tries to teach him to behave like Elvis Presley (it ends on the beach with a brief, though very understated, tribute to Frankenstein). And how can you not like a social worker who says things like, "So far you have been adrift in the sheltered harbor of my patience."

Anyway, two thumbs up here (both of mine, that is). If you've not seen it, and even if you don't have kids, buy it or rent it and enjoy.

Posted by Will Duquette at December 9, 2002 08:03 PM