In a place far, far away, illegal genetic experiment #626 is detected: Ruthless scientist Dr. Jumba Jookiba has created a strong, intelligent, nearly indestructible and aggressive being with only one known weakness: The high density of his body makes it impossible for the experiment to swim in water. The scientist is sentenced to jail by the Grand Council of the Galactic Federation. The experiment is supposed to be transported to a prison asteroid, yet manages to escape Captain Gantu, who was supposed to deliver him there. With a stolen police cruiser (the red one), the destructive being races towards a little and already doomed planet: Earth. Stranded on Hawaii, experiment #626 can't actually do much harm: water all around, no big cities and two well-equipped representatives of the Galactic Federation already following close behind to catch him again. But Dr. Jookiba and the Earth expert Pleakley never could have guessed that earth girl Lilo adopts the experiment as dog, gives him ... Written by
Julian Reischl <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The character David Kawena is critically acclaimed to have been inspired by Hawaiian surf legend David Nuuhiwa. See more »
At the beginning of the film, the Grand Councilwoman seems not to know the Planet Earth (since she doesn't recognize it and doesn't know it's almost completely covered in water). However, in the end of the film, she claims she has already been on Earth in the Roswell incident, and she has met Cobra Bubbles. See more »
Read the charges.
Doctor Jumba Jookiba, you stand before this council accused of illegal genetic experimentation!
How do you plead?
Not guilty! My experiments are only theoretical, and completely within legal boundaries.
We believe you actually... created something.
Created something? Hah! But that would be irresponsible and unethical. I would never, ever...
[Stitch is revealed]
...make... more than one.
See more »
During the end credits, we see a wall of various photos featuring Pleakley, Lilo, Stitch, Jumba, David, Nani, and Cobra Bubbles together behind the credits. See more »
Yes, it's a sad fact that Disney, the family favourite for close to a century, have fallen into decline. All the same, it annoys me no end when people go on about how 'The Lion King' of 1994 was the last truly great film that the company produced, because, in their period of decline and lack of success, the House of Mouse still surprised us all by churning out one cracking exception - the sassy and heartwarming 'Lilo and Stitch'.
In the Stitch of the title (and face it, he may have shared his title logo with Lilo but Stitch has always been the undisputed star of this empire) it really feels like Disney have found that very likable and very different kind of hero to break them out of their rut. To begin with at least, he has none of the noble or high moral qualities that Disney usually attributes to its lead characters. And the circumstances in which he comes about are, for a family film, startling - the result of an illegal extra-terrestrial experiment to produce a creature that is both destructive and indestructible. When Stitch finds himself seized by the Intergalactic Council to be punished for his inbuilt wickedness, he escapes - it wouldn't be much of a movie if he didn't - and flees to planet Earth, with the alien authorities in hot pursuit. Though the film's anarchic spirit owes a fair bit more to 80s creature films like 'Gremlins' and 'Critters', I suppose you could look at it as a inversion on the plot of 'ET', in which, this time round, the humans are harmless and it's his fellow aliens who pose greater threat to Stitch.
Finding himself stranded on Hawaii, our little anti-hero has no choice but to disguise himself as a dog and take refuge with Lilo. Lilo being a lonely young orphan living with her older sister Nani, and who may be taken away in a matter of days if Nani doesn't prove herself to be a more responsible guardian. The merging of these two very troubling story lines shows a lot of tenaciousness on Disney's part and in the end they produce a film that is fun and funky enough for the younger audiences, but also heartwrenching enough to touch even the most cynical of adults. It's also helped by a good line secondary characters, the most successful of which are Jumba and Cobra Bubbles, because, like Stitch, they're unconventional in the roles they fulfil. Jumba is an evil genius with a heart. Bubbles is a social worker who, fittingly since he's voiced by Ving Rhames, looks like he walked straight out of 'Pulp Fiction'.
It ain't perfect though. Considering that Stitch is one of Disney's most engaging heroes, it really blows that Gantu should have to be one of the stuido's flatter villains. He isn't drawn very well and he isn't developed as a character much further than being ruthless and bad-tempered. There is also one pretty big plot-hole that older viewers may be troubled by - if that lady at the pound really thought that Stitch was dead, why did she put him in with the dogs? And wasn't she alarmed by his six legs and his antennae?
It may be flawed, but in the end it's the merits that triumph. And it's a good example of just how dazzling 2D animation can be when given the right attention to detail. Once you get past the pretty pale opening scenes in outer space and enter the world that Lilo inhabits, visually this is beautiful stuff, employing the technique of watercolour backgrounds for the first time in decades. And the soundtrack too is one of the most memorable in Disney's canon. I believe this is the first time they've based its score around the pre-existing songs of a familiar artist - in this case the immortal Elvis Presley. Needless to say, it's great music.
(Sadly, we also had to tolerate the likes of Gareth Gates and A Teens doing sugary covers over the end credits, but at this stage you can always switch off or leave the cinema.)
Too bad that Disney are now really on the wane, or they could have tried doing these themed soundtracks more often with the Beatles and Pink Floyd...oh well, I can dream.
To sum up, Stitch is the best. Watch him.
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