Video/DVD Review:    Lilo & Stitch

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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.

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: 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 a short entitled "A Stitch in Time: Follow Stitch Through the Disney Years"--a hilarious featurette that places Stitch in previous Disney movies. Games are also included with questionnaires and mixing chemicals in specific order. A bonus for bilingual families: the movie can be played in French or Spanish as well.

[For more information, or to pre-order: Lilo & Stitch (VHS) or Lilo & Stitch (DVD) at]

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VHS/DVD   Ages 2-5  



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Reviewed December 2002   Comments? Email us.

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