Lilo & Stitch
4 out of 5 stars SHADOWS MUST SEE MUST-SEE
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
every family has one 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!

cert U themes, some suspense 23.Jun.02

dir Dean Deblois, Chris Sanders
scr Chris Sanders
voices Daveigh Chase, Chris Sanders, Tia Carrere, Ving Rhames, Jason Scott Lee, David Ogden Stiers, Kevin McDonald, Kevin Michael Richardson, Zoe Caldwell, Ashley Rose Orr
release US 21.Jun.02; UK 4.Oct.02
02/US 1h25

Happy family. Nani and her dopey surfer boyfriend David build a sand castle with Lilo...

carrere rhames lee stiers
TRIVIA ALERT! Carrere and Lee, who provide voices for the Hawaiian characters Nani and David, were both born in Hawaii.
chase/lilo sanders/stitch
R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
every family has one send your review to Shadows... Kristi, Victoria Australia:"This was a gorgeous film that deserves a round of applause. I went and saw it with my little sister, and I immediately fell in love with the cute little alien, Stitch. I especially love his miniature reinactment of Elvis! Love the hair, babe. Lilo was a little sweetie, and I just love the way the she and Nani really sound like sisters. The hawaiian dancing scenes look amazing and the surf scenes were really great. Full of laughs and a movie that I definitely want to see again. I give it 9 out of 10. Well done! P.S. David is cool with his fiery act." (25.Sep.02)

Ruth Mccullough, UK: "Great film! Fell completely in love with Stitch. From the first moment when he was asked to defend himself in court & responded with something obviously unspeakably obscene through all the bits where he climbed across ceilings terroising the dogs at the Shelter & Lolo's sister to the poignant 'I'm lost' to the final happy ending - via his Elvis impersonation - it was wonderful." (3.Nov.03)

2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall