Out of 3000 movies that I've seen, this is my favorite. I didn't watch it for a long time because I thought the previews looked like a typical Disney movie. You know, one made for children, with not much for an adult with a working brain (although I must warn you, some of my fellow movie buffs have questioned whether my brain is working or not).
It's a funny, emotional, and entertaining story about family and friendship. For my taste, it's nearly perfect.
I’m at my 15th viewing, and still immensely enjoy watching it every year.
Lilo is a feisty, quirky, moody, amusing, Elvis loving young Hawaiian girl that has lost her parents and finds it hard to attract friends. She is living with her older sister Nani, with whom she has a good relationship (some of the time).
When she discovers a strange creature in the dog shelter that was run-over by a couple of 18-wheelers, it’s love at first hug. She names it Stitch, and despite the misgivings of her sister and the shelter keeper, she takes it home to find it has a propensity for destroying things (“no more caffeine for you”).
That does not deter her though, and I love how she goes about teaching it how to be kind to fellow beings at the same time she's learning herself. She teaches Stitch what Ohana means and uses a wonderful quote about family that Stitch uses later on Lilo's sister Nani when Nani tries to get rid of the critter. Stitch can’t remember his family, and goes through a hard time because of it. But, at the end of the movie, Stitch finds what he needs and says something about family that shows he has learned very well indeed (it brings the most tears from these rheumy old eyes of the many emotional places in the movie). However that doesn’t mean this movie is excessively Saccharine.
The wonderful Hawaiian music as Lilo is introduced brings tears to my eyes. The music during the surfing is also very good. They are sung by the Kamehameha Choir (age 9 to 13), who know how to sing. There’s a great extra on the first edition DVD that shows the choir singing for the writers and directors, who are “completely blown away” by them. Among other compliments, the Director said “We anticipated it to be pretty. We didn’t expect it to be powerful.”
Although I’ve lost my desire to listen to Elvis music, this movie is full of it and here I love it. Probably because it fits with the story so well, and is presented in a humorous manner. It’s so funny watching Lilo teaching Stitch how to appreciate Elvis and play his music as they follow Nani around job hunting, causing havoc wherever they go. Wynonna used her powerful voice to sing the fitting, closing song, “Burning Love”.
There is some traditional dancing and I get a great deal of joy watching how much Lilo loves dancing the Hula Kahiko.
I like that Lilo’s sister Nani is built like a real woman, not the anorexic ones we see so much of in most entertainment and advertisement in the last quite a few decades. All the people, scenery, objects, and special effects in this movie were made “rounded” for a cuddly, fuzzy, feel-good effect (even the fire & explosions)!
For the few that haven't yet seen Lilo & Stitch, I won’t (fully) give away the ending, but suffice it to say, it’s a happy, feel-good one. I’ll also give you a warning that it has a considerable Science-Fiction element to it. So, if you don’t like Sci-Fi, you may not be able to suspend your disbelief enough to appreciate it. There are a considerable number of wildly different alien beings running around in the story, but they are humorously presented for the most part.
Many of the aliens are inspired by Disney characters, including Piglet and Tigger.
I should also mention that it’s an animated movie.