To me, Lilo & Stitch is the Dumbo of latter day Disney. Just like Dumbo, Lilo & Stitch was the result of a Disney initiative to cut down on costs. As a result, the animation is not that impressive, especially since it followed the beautiful Atlantis. Also, it does not have the most original concept. But in the end, like the movie about the elephant, these things don’t really matter as they are elevated by the talent and passion that is put behind the scenes.
I’ve already said that the animation was not impressive so I won’t dwell too much on that point. But I will say that I loved the character design and the watercolor backgrounds that are visible when the movie takes place in Hawaii.
Anyways, the reason why the movie truly succeeds is the care and passion that the movie’s writer/directors put into it. Chris Sanders and Dean DuBlois took a simple and overused premise and put new life into it. The characters are well thought of and developed, particularly Lilo, who may be my favorite child character in any movie. She is somewhat mature because she was forced to by tragic circumstances, but at the same time she is still a quirky girl that wants friends, a puppy, and has celebrity obessions (Elvis in her case). Nani is also one of the best characters of her type I’ve seen. As for Stitch, his lines are mostly unintelligible, but thanks to how the character was written and the work of the animators, he is a great co-emotional core. There are also some other little moments, like when Lilo slams her doll on the floor and leaves, but comes back a few seconds later, picks it up and hugs it, that add to the movie’s greatness.
This movie also uses music greatly. There are a couple of Hawaiian songs that are used during the beginning and during an important family scene towards the middle and they help a lot in setting up the mood of the story. Elvis’s songs are used to great comedic effect, especially the one with Lilo in the beginning. And Alan Silvestri provides one of his least Silvestri-esque scores to date, and it works perfectly.
I can’t find enough superlatives to praise this movie. I honestly can’t find anything wrong with it