“Lilo” stitches up Disney’s record

By Gus Bode

Director:Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders

Once and a while, Disney decides to go out on a limb and break tradition. When the company decided to use history for a musical in “Pocohantas,” it did fine with the kids, but critics were ready to commit ritualistic samurai suicide at the liberties it took with history.

But this time, Disney’s gamble was a good one.


“Lilo and Stitch” is a movie that is suitable for the kiddies, but the humor and storyline are mature enough for parents and even cynical, depressed, “what’s the point, we’re all gonna die” college students.

The story focuses on two characters. The first is a genetic experiment from space, simply known as 626. The subject can lift 300 times its body weight and is programmed to destroy. Experiment 626 is deemed too dangerous and is put in captivity, which he eventually escapes, only to end up on Earth. But 626’s one weakness is that he can’t swim, so it’s just fitting that he lands on Hawaii.

That’s when the story introduces Lilo, a young pariah who likes animals and dancing but has a mutual distaste for her peers. While Stitch was the commercial hero of the movie, Lilo was the star. Her character was so interesting and funny that Stitch was almost completely overshadowed. Don’t let her super-cute appearance fool you. She’s morbid, quick to fight, full of conspiracy theories and loves Elvis. She is, by far, the most endearing character of the film. In fact, she’s the main reason the movie was such an improvement on Disney’s recent films. She is a character that makes the audience laugh and feel genuine sympathy.

Lilo is a troubled child. Her parents died in a car accident, and she is left in the custody of her older sister who is hanging by a thread with social workers. So to help solve Lilo’s loneliness, her sister lets her adopt a dog. Naturally, she picks 626, who is on the run from aliens, because of his uniqueness. She loves the creature when no one else will and names it Stitch.

The Stitch part of the story seems to be aimed more at children with its cartoon antics. While it’s not as interesting as Lilo’s story, it’s still moderately enjoyable.

Disney also deserves credit for having minority protagonists when most movies just try telling the story through a white character – “Men of Honor,” I’m looking in your direction – or just have no minorities whatsoever. However, to make up for their recognition, they managed to slip in some nice stereotypes. Hula anyone?

But the story and the Lilo’s lovable personality are enough to show that Disney is still in the animated-feature gamem and movies that have proven superior in the past, like “The Iron Giant,” still have a fight on their hands.


Reporter Codell Rodriguez can be reached at [email protected].