Disney Gets Weird, but I Like It: Lilo and Stitch (2002)


Lilo and Stitch (2002)

Released: June 21st, 2002

Genre: Animated, Adventure, Science Fiction, Comedy

Director: Dean Deblois/ Chris Sanders (Debut)

Starring: Ving Rhames

Opening Thoughts:

This isn’t  Disney’s first venture into science-fiction/fantasy, but I still find it among the most entertaining.  I went into Lilo and Stitch hyped, and I walked out loving the film. All these years later, I still enjoy the film.


Stitch, An indestructible weapon escapes captivity only to crash land on Planet Earth. It finds itself on a small Hawaiian island filled with endearing locals, and then there’s Lilo.


While the film certainly wasn’t completely whitewashed, it could have used a few more Hawaiian native voices.  Again, there is progress made in the film, but we should always strive for more diversity in voice casts and casts alike.

There is fake Hawaii that has been introduced in the last 75-80 years as a marketing device, and there is real Hawaii. This film skirts around in both areas of thought.  While I don’t expect this film to address the cruel and ILLEGAL manner of how Hawaii was invaded and seized by the United States. I would have liked to see a bit more depth into their genuine culture.


First off, I love 2D animation, even now, I would totally love to see another be made. So while in this era, there was a lot of 3D films starting to be made, Lilo and Stitch remained delightfully 2D. The colors, the scenery, and character designs all beautiful, too.

Everyone has different taste in humor, but if I had to define my humor using an animated movie, Lilo and Stitch would be the one. I find it hilarious and much more subversive than other animated films.

While there are better soundtracks that are more akin to the area, I must say that I love how Lilo loves Elvis and that many Elvis songs are featured in the soundtrack. I think is unique and I can appreciate it.

I think the film has some of the most complex characters Disney has ever crafted.  We have the troubled youth in Lilo. She practices voodoo, has an affinity for the overweight (at least one person in Disney isn’t a total jerk in that category), bites people, listens to Elvis as a form of rebellion, and lives by her own terms.  On the darker side, she is suffering from the loss of her parents and is an outcast in her society. All of that can have a traumatic effect on a child.

Stich is a genetic monstrosity created by Jumba. Stitch’s sole mission in life is to destroy. His story arc is fascinating and profound. The fact this movie discusses genetic mutation, and what is considered an affront to nature, definitely has a more mature tone….at times.

Nani is Lilo’s older sister, she is desperately looking for work and try to raise Lilo who can certainly be difficult.  She is a wonderful sister figure. She is kind and caring, but she wants Lilo to follow some rules and structure. She isn’t fully grown yet, but she truly means well for her sister.

What I like most about this film are the mature concepts within the film.  The first twenty minutes of this film is really rough.  We have a family that has been torn in half by tragedy. A young girl is dealing with the loss of her parents while her older sister takes on the responsibilities of the house which have proved exceedingly difficult. They are often at odds with one another, and you can feel their home is a wreck. Disney showcasing this broken home is heartbreaking, but also valuable. Because not everyone is blessed with a wonderful childhood. There are children who become orphaned and in less than a great situation. This is the acknowledgment of this, and I appreciate this aspect. It is okay to grow up in a less than ideal home.

As for Stitch, his destiny is to destroy and create chaos. He does have certain limitations (can’t swim/seeks out major populations centers). He finds himself trapped on an island and his primary function in life becomes obsolete. Stitch has an existential crisis. What am I now that all I’ve ever known is taken away? Who am I? Stich is able to see other aspects of life, music, food, friendship, love, and family.  All he has known is hate and discrimination, but now he has a loving home. That changes him, and when presented with hope and other options. He decides to be more heroic and docile. There is no such thing as destiny. It is all up to us to decide who will be. I think this movie portrays that in exquisite fashion.

Finally, the whole idea of Ohana is beautiful. The film’s message about Ohana meaning nobody gets left behind or forgotten is wonderful. However, if you look into this a bit deeper   “In the Hawaiian language, ohana means family, community, a circle of good friends. We welcome family as you define it, and we hope that you will leave Ohana strengthened and reconnected.”  This idea that family is not defined merely by blood relation, but that we all have a definition for it.  (Yes, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), your family works here, too.)

I love this aspect and like many of us, I live it. My closest friends are family, and I have a very strong connection with them.


Lilo and Stitch remain one of my favorite post-Renaissance Disney films. It’s eccentric and amazing humor, darker concepts, and sound character development put it ahead of many films within the medium.

The Animated Ladder-

Princess Mononoke (1997) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/animation-international-princess-mononoke-1997/

The Lion King (1994)- https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/07/disney-renaissance-the-lion-king-1994/

Toy Story (1995)- https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/08/one-ring-to-rule-them-all-i-meanpixar-toy-story-1995/

The Iron Giant (1999) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/20/the-forgotten-one-the-iron-giant/

Mulan (1998)  https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/disney-renaissance-mulan-1998/

Beauty and the Beast (1991) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/animation-renassisance-beauty-and-the-beast-1991/

The Little Mermaid (1989) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/03/12/animation-renaissance-the-little-mermaid-1989/

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/beyond-disney-batman-mask-of-the-phantasm/

Lilo and Stitch (2002)

Akira (1988) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/animation-throwback-akira-1988/

Monsters Inc. (2001) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/06/06/pixar-reigns-supreme-monsters-inc-2001/

Aladdin (1992) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/disney-renaissance-aladdin-1992/

Toy Story 2 (1999) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/pixar-rebounds-toy-story-2-1999/

The Brave Little Toaster (1987) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/animation-revival-the-brave-little-toaster-1987/

Shrek (2001) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/dreamworks-genesis-the-road-to-el-dorado-2000/

The Jungle Book (1967) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/the-rewind-the-1960s-disneys-the-jungle-book-1967/

The Secret of NIMH (1982) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/animation-revival-beyond-disney-the-secret-of-nimh/

Prince of Egypt (1998) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/dreamworks-animation-genesis-the-prince-of-egypt-1998/

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/animation-international-my-neighbor-totoro-1988/

Ice Age (2002) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/blue-sky-emerges-ice-age-2002/

South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut (1999) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/beyond-disneysouth-park-bigger-longer-and-uncut-1999/

Castle in the Sky (1986) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/03/02/animation-internationalcastle-in-the-sky/

Emperor’s New Groove (2000) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/disney-in-limbo-emperors-new-groove-2000/

Antz (1998) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/dreamworks-animation-genisis-antz-1998/

A Bug’s Life (1998) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/25/pixars-sophmore-slump-a-bugs-life-1998/

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (1992) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/beyond-disney-fern-gully-the-last-rainforest-1992/

Bambi (1942) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/animation-genisis-bambi-1942/

The Land Before Time (1988) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/animation-revival-beyond-disney-the-land-before-time-1988/

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/animation-international-kikis-delivery-service-1989/

101 Dalmatians (1961) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/animationevolution-101-dalmations-1961/

Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/disney-renaisance-hunchback-of-notre-dame-1996/

Pinocchio (1940) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/animation-genesis-pinocchio/

Tarzan (1999) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/the-grand-finale-of-the-disney-renaissance-tarzan/

The Road to El Dorado (2000) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/dreamworks-genesis-the-road-to-el-dorado-2000/

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/animation-international-1984-nausicaa-of-the-valley-of-the-wind/

An American Tail (1986) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/animation-revival-beyond-disney-an-american-tail-1986/

The Last Unicorn (1982) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/animation-revival-beyond-disney-the-last-unicorn/

Hercules (1997) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/07/disney-renaissance-hercules-1997/

Chicken Run (2000) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/05/10/dreamworks-genesis-chicken-run-2000/

Cats Don’t Dance (1997) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/beyond-disney-cats-dont-dance-1997/

Pocahontas (1995) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/disney-renaissance-pocahantos/

Robin Hood (1973) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/animation-desolation-robin-hood-1973/

A Goofy Movie (1995) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/the-disney-renaissance-a-goofy-movie-1995/

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs/

Cinderella (1950)- https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/cinderella-1950/

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2000)- https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/05/04/disney-in-limbo-atlantis-the-lost-empire-2000/https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/05/04/disney-in-limbo-atlantis-the-lost-empire-2000/

Titan A. E. (2000) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/swan-song-for-don-bluth-titan-a-e/

Rescuers Down Under (1990)- No link.

Lady and the Tramp (1955) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/animation-evolution-lady-and-the-tramp-1955/

Anastasia (1997) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/the-return-of-don-bluth-anastasia-1997/

Sword in the Stone (1963) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/rewind-1960s-sword-in-the-stone-1963/

Fox and the Hound (1981) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/01/09/animation-desolation/

The Black Cauldron (1985) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/animation-desolation-the-black-cauldron-1985/

Alice in Wonderland (1951) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/classic-review-alice-in-wonderland-1951/

The Great Mouse Detective (1986) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/01/10/animation-desolation-the-great-mouse-detective/

The Rescuers (1977) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/animation-desolation-the-rescuers/

The Sleeping Beauty (1959)-https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/animation-evolution-sleeping-beauty-1959/

Dumbo (1941)- https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/animation-genesis-dumbo-1941/

The Aristocats (1970)-https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/animation-desolation-the-aristocats/

Peter Pan (1953)-https://andrewthewordpress.com/2017/12/29/animation-evolution-peter-pan-1953/

The Swan Princess (1994) https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/beyond-disney-swan-princess-1994/