VOICES OF: Daveigh Chase, Chris Sanders, Jason Scott Lee, Tia Carrere, Kevin McDonald, Amy Hill, Ving Rhames, David Ogden Stiers

2002, 85 Minutes, Directed by: Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders

Description: On the planet Turo, mad scientist Jumba Jookiba (voice by David Ogden Stiers) has created a miniature monster programmed for destruction. When the monster escapes to Earth, it's adopted as a pet and named "Stitch" by Lilo (Daveigh Chase), a lonely little Hawaiian girl. Lilo and her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere) have been struggling to stay together since their parents died. Stitch and Lilo share some hilarious adventures, evading welfare officer Cobra Bubbles (Ving Rhames) and galactic police agents.

A small girl befriends an alien from outer space. E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial? Not quite, the movie is Lilo & Stitch the latest traditional (as opposed to computer-generated) animated effort by Disney. When one critic called Spielberg's E.T. (still excellent after all these years as witnessed by its recent special re-release) the best Disney movie Disney never made, he may have had a point. Lilo & Stitch is however very much unlike E.T. or any Disney movie the mouse house has ever made . . .

First off, the alien in question is a viscous little tyke - the result of a genetic experiment to create a super powerful creature that is incredibly destructive. In fact two bumbling aliens are sent to capture him (it? her?). The girl in question is a bit of a social outcast and has some emotional problems as one character in Donnie Darko termed it, though not quite as severe as seen in said movie. While Lilo & Stitch veers dangerously towards sentiment towards its end, it never succumbs to cheap sentiment, as Disney pics tend to do.

Much like recent animated efforts such as Shrek, Lilo & Stitch has lots of humor and sly pop cultural references that will appeal to adults and will go way over the heads of small children. Unlike more serious Disney fare (The Hunchback of Notre Dame anyone?) Lilo & Stitch is very cartoony, in that a lot of the movie centers on sight gags instead of dramatic narrative. To be honest it is the Disney flick (excepting the Pixar efforts such as Monsters, Inc.) that I have enjoyed the most since the fun, much underrated Emperor's New Groove.

Unlike a lot of animated efforts aimed at small children (the dismal straight-to-video Cinderella II for instance - ugh!) both adults and small children can enjoy Lilo & Stitch. To be honest I found myself rewatching some favorite scenes using the chapter selection function on the DVD immediately after it had finished. Yes, it's that good . . .

However, be warned that my wife thought that some scenes may not be quite suitable for smaller children, but I disagree: Lilo & Stitch ought to have your children in stitches (groan), but some parental guidance may be in order . . .



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