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Lilo & Stitch
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81 out of 89 people found the following review useful:

Is this a Disney movie???

10/10
Author: Theoron from Chicago, Illinois
21 June 2002

Project "Six-Two-Six" is deemed too dangerous by the "Grand Council." A hideous genetic creation from the lab of mad-scientist "Jumba," (David Ogden Stiers) project Six-Two-Six is put on board a space ship to be banished to a nice little deserted asteroid, where he can live out the rest of his days. On the way there, project Six-Two-Six takes over the ship, and then escapes using what looks like a space squad car. He eventually crash lands on one of the islands of Hawaii (Kauai?) where a little five-year old orphan girl named "Lilo" (Daviegh Chase) finds him in a dog pound (don't ask) and takes him home as her new pet dog, "Stitch" (Chris Sanders). Of course the Grand Council soon realizes what has happened, and sends agent "Pleakley" (Kevin McDonald) along with the mad-scientist to the island to recapture experiment Six-Two-Six.

And so begins one of the most unusual and creative animated films from the Disney studios. Featuring a completely new style of drawing, and backgrounds that look like watercolor paintings, Disney is taking a bold step in trying something a little different. The artwork seems like a combination of "Winnie-the-Pooh" and Saturday morning cartoons. The dialogue and slapstick comedy is much more reminiscent of Warner Brother's beloved "Loony-Tunes." Except for a handful of well chosen Elvis Presely songs, and some beautiful Hawaiian music, there are none of the musical numbers that one would expect to find in a typical Disney film. (I, for one, didn't miss them.)

We soon find out that Lilo is an orphan, living with her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere) in what could be comfortably called a "dysfunctional" household. Nani is trying hard to make ends meet and be a mother to her young sister, who is having a very difficult time adjusting to life without her mom and dad. The creators of the film do a superb job with the character of Lilo, making you identify with her loneliness and isolation without making it depressing. They also very accurately portray the problems with an older sibling raising a younger, and the friction and fighting that results is typical of what one would find in this sort of arrangement. The subject matter is very mature, but the animators do a fantastic job bringing it home to a level that small children can appreciate.

Nani decides Lilo needs a dog to keep her company, so off to the kennel they go. Lilo just falls in love with Stitch, the "talking dog," and decides to take him for a pet. It is with this most unlikely of characters that Lilo can find someone to confide in, to share her passions with (like Elvis), and to share the pain and sorrow that comes from being without parents.

Stitch was created by the mad-scientist Jumba to be an evil little monster, but in the care of Lilo, he realizes his own aloneness, and his need for love and acceptance. So the evil little alien allows Lilo to take him by the hand, dress him up as Elvis, and go surfing. (Stitch's one weakness in the inability to swim, so for him to go surfing is a surprising concession to the little girl's whims.) His original motive for being "nice" to Lilo was to avoid the agents sent to recapture him, but soon he realizes that Lilo and Nani mean more to him than just sanctuary.

Disney makes a point in all their trailers and commercials to show Stitch as the Rodney Dangerfield of animated characters: he don't get any respect. Other than Lilo, everyone else in the film, including his creator Jumba, is trying to capture and/or kill him. Even Lilo's sister finds several opportunities to take out her frustrations on the mixed-up little alien. At first, it's rather amusing, since Stitch is about the most obnoxious Disney character of all time, but after a while, you start feeling sorry for the little guy, and start hoping that he can find the love and acceptance he's longing for.

I've often wondered why Disney's recent animated films cannot reach the level that Pixar's CGI creations do effortlessly ("Toy Story," "Monsters Inc."). Disney's cartoons seem dull and lifeless compared to the fun and action that Pixar delivers on a regular basis. Well, it seems as if the Disney animators are finally being infected by some of the magic that comes from their computer animation partners. "Lilo & Stitch" demonstrates that there is still some life left in that old art form that Walt made so famous many years ago. But more importantly, this little gem has a lot of heart. You find yourself caring for the orphaned Lilo, you find yourself hoping that Stitch can fin d a place in a family, and you hope that big sister Nani can find a way to keep social worker "Mr. Bubbles" (Ving Rhames) from taking Lilo away to a foster home.

There are some really big themes being tackled in this film, such as unconditional love, the need to belong to a group or community, self sacrifice, and family unity. The animators handles all these extremely well, and you find yourself getting a lesson in philosophy as well as being entertained. Yet the one theme that Disney pushes in all their advertising, and several times during the course of the film, is the oft repeated phrase: "Ohana means family, and family means NO ONE gets left behind." This is a theme one finds emphasized in the recent combat films "Black Hawk Down" and "We Were Soldiers," but isn't something you often find in a animated feature! That one little phrase, "no one gets left behind," has enough philosophical and theological weight to fill a college text book. It means that everyone, no matter what you may think of them, has value, and that there is no such thing an "expendable" person. A better lesson for young children would be difficult to find.

My rating: 10/10.

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46 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

This is Disney at it's best. Honestly.

10/10
Author: ednakrabapley from United States
26 November 2004

"Lilo & Stitch" tells the touching story of a lonely little Hawaiian girl, named Lilo, who meets and befriends Stitch, an escaped refugee alien who poses as a dog at the pound.

I wasn't expecting much when it first came out, not being to interested in it. Well, after seeing it at the theater, I can now say it is Disney's best film. Ever. It's better than classics like "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid," both of which I adore. Many will not feel the same way as I do but I thought "Lilo & Stitch" was one of Disney's most inventive and involving scripts with fleshed-out and well-written characters.

We are set in Hawaii, a tropical background that gives the movie a great feel. Setting it in Kansas, as originally planned, would not have had the same effect. The animation is simply beautiful, with pink fluffy clouds and wonderfully drawn characters.

However, it's the story that "Lilo & Stitch" tells, along with many other great elements, that makes this film so outstanding. Not only is the film very funny (in fact, it's hilarious!) with pure moments of comic genius that can appeal to older audiences as well as kids, it's one of the most touching films I have ever seen. The whole middle of the movie is one that gives us spectacular scenes in a row that move me to tears each time.

***SKIP THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH, TO AVOID MILD SPOILERS***

I don't wanna say too much, but Nani's fight for custody of Lilo, tossed in with Stitch's touching character arc and search for the one place he does belong, and Lilo's loneliness, and a broken family, and cherished and beloved friendship with Stitch make this movie a surprisingly heartwarming and touching feature. One of the film's strengths is that it can be, at times, so sad.

***END SPOILERS***

The direction is solid, as is the animation. The water, and backdrop of Hawaii is desirable. The characters are developed, unlike most Disney classics, and lovable. You can identify with these characters and feel for them, and yes, Stitch does qualify in that category. His battered emotions, as well as the also adorable Lilo, are part of what makes this film so moving. This is an original, funny, and extremely heartwarming film that I highly recommend to families.

"Lilo & Stitch" was wonderful characters that I instantly fell in love with. More captivating than previous, sub-par Disney releases such as "Hercules," "Hunchback of Notre Dame," or "Tarzan," this movie makes me laugh, cry, and moves me immensely. While it didn't break any new ground or anything, it thankfully returned audiences back to Disney's roots in terms of quality.

10/10

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48 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

A surprisingly savvy movie

10/10
Author: Damfino1895 from Pembrokeshire, Wales
23 November 2004

I was disappointed with the comments of a previous reviewer called ebayanderson concerning this movie as I feel that he/she is not living in the real world. Lilo and Stitch is one of my favourite Disney movies as it covers so many topics and covers them well. Firstly, concerning Lilo's feeding the fish, well, all kids have little quirks and this is obviously meant to be her's. As for Nani being a care giver, well, she's supposed to be in her teens, dealing with her parents's loss as well as dealing with her sister's and taking care of the little girl under the pressure of keeping her family together, finding work etc. and it was nice as my 14 year old daughter pointed out, that Nani was like a real woman, with her little pot belly and not very stick thin build, for me she is a great character for little girls who have to put up with cartoon females such as the impossibly(pardon the pun)thin Kim Possible, which is sadly also a Disney cartoon girl. Actually, I tend not to look too deeply into movies unless they are there to make us do so, e.g Schindler's List, but, this movie covered some subjects that I am familiar with, a young child losing it's parents and it dealt with them well. The scene where Stitch takes the bicycle, well, how could anyone feel sorry for the little girl considering she is the monstrous brat in the movie. Anyway, I love the movie and I've watched it many times and am a hand on heart Stitch fan. Chris Sanders came up with an awesome character and he and Dean DuBlois did an excellent job in bringing him to life. they managed to make a movie that touched your heart with out being sickly or distressing a la Bambi. 10 out of 10

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35 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

A very un-Disney-like Disney animation. And not in a bad way.

Author: Victor Field from London, England
22 March 2003

"Lilo & Stitch" is unusual for a Disney animated movie in that it actually seems to take place in the real world (not to mention the present day), despite the latter half of the title being a genetic creation from another galaxy. Devoid of almost everything that people come to expect when the name "Walt Disney Pictures" appears on screen - which is not to say we're in "Golgo 13" territory here - this, as did "The Emperor's New Groove," suggests that though the box office takings may go down, the House of Mouse may yet pull another "Beauty and the Beast" on us one day.

The movie's a breath of fresh air not only in its setting - it's set on the Hawaiian island of Kauai - but also in its characters; Lilo is a little girl being brought up by her big sister Nani following their parents' death (offscreen), and the movie's not afraid to indicate that it's tough for both of them. They, along with their social worker Cobra Bubbles and friend David, constitute a rare sighting of proper human beings in Disney cartoons (see also, surprisingly, Lucky Piquel from "Bonkers"), the reward writer-directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois get for putting the emphasis on the emotions rather than on the chase element of the plot (Stitch/Experiment 626 was created by a scientist in violation of the laws of his planet; when Stitch escaped, his creator and an "E-arth" expert were sent to bring him back) or on the potential for slapstick - though it's there and it's certainly used, the focus is purely on heart.

The realness of the movie means that "Lilo & Stitch" often feels like a live action movie that just happens to be drawn (at one point Stitch sees a 1950s SF movie on TV, and the movie in question is shown as a genuine film clip). Usually that's a bad thing if the 'toon in question strives to be realistic, but in this case there are so many elements that don't come naturally - seen any koala/dog hybrid-Elvis Presley wannabes on the beach lately? - that it still works. If there's a downside, it's that the scenes of the alien pursuers are for the most part almost a distraction... but even then the human element ups the involvement, with the added bonus of there being no real "bad guys" per se (yes, I said bonus - it's nice to see a Disney movie where there isn't a traditional black-hatted villain, just people doing their jobs).

And if all else fails, take into consideration the fact that it's also often genuinely funny; the fact that it never condescends to its audience; the fact that you actually have real Hawaiians (the voices of Tia Carrere and Jason Scott Lee) as key Hawaiian characters; and the fact that the songs used here actually have a purpose (to add dimension to our heroes - Lilo is a major fan of Elvis and tries to reach Stitch through the King), something many live-action movies often forget. "Lilo & Stitch" would be something worth seeing even if it wasn't a Disney film; seeing that it is... moving forward was always one of Walt's credos. It's encouraging to see that they're actually capable of following his ethos without the help of Pixar.

One major flaw though: in spite of the presence of Elvis, Wynonna and Alan Silvestri, the British release version has well-known song-murderer Gareth Gates slaughtering "Suspicious Minds" over the end credits. Thank heaven someone invented the "mute" button.

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32 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Disney Bites Back

8/10
Author: soymilk from East Anglia, UK
27 February 2004

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.

Grade: A-

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26 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Gets Better And Better As The Film Goes On

8/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
12 October 2006

This was a pretty entertaining "kids" animated film. It was a little different in that there is some dramatic action you usually don't see in nice animated cartoons and you have heroes who aren't exactly good role models. However, as the film progresses, all those characters (small child, big sister and alien) all become nicer and more caring "people." There also is a good "no one is left behind" family message. You just have to be patient with the human kid and sister in the beginning.

I think the best feature of this film are the brilliant colors. This is a great visual movie. It's also nice to hear a kids movie these days with absolutely no profanity in it. (What a sad statement to have to make.)

In summary: one of the better modern-day animated films. Highly recommended.

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25 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Pure Magic

10/10
Author: videogrfx-1 from United States
4 March 2005

I don't know why this film didn't do better at the box office. This is perhaps Disney's best animated film to date. It rivals anything by Pixar. Why? Very simple really and it's what Pixar keeps doing so well. They tell a good story filled with well developed characters. Not to mention the animation is excellent and the watercolor backgrounds beautiful. Watch it a second or third time just to look at these fantastic pieces of art! I hope Disney learns a lesson here (from DVD sales at least) that 2-D animation isn't dead if done right and Lilo & Stitch was done right. I purchased the DVD for my daughter, okay, for me too but she loves it and while only almost four, she gets the themes. (although it took her a while to understand Nani is Lilo's sister and not her mother). The special features are good. The Hawiian Children's Choir and Hula segments especially good. I liked the deleted scene feature and would like to see them added for a later release. Disney should have marketed this film better. I would have liked to have seen it on the big screen. Personally, I don't care for Disney as a company but if they keep producing work like this, I'll keep coming back.

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22 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

I gave this movie another chance. I'm glad I did.

9/10
Author: Francisco Huerta (fjhuerta@hotmail.com) from Mexico City
29 July 2002

First time, I commented how "The Emperor's New Groove" was my favorite Disney movie of the last ten years, and how "Lilo & Stitch" had left me wanting for more.

How wrong I was then.

I gave it another chance. I went back to watch it with a couple of friends and their sons and daughters. What best atmosphere to enjoy a Disney flick?

And then, the scene were Stitch is alone, with "The Ugly Duckling" book, shouting "I'm lost!" (or at least that's what he was saying in spanish) made me change my mind. I suddenly became very identified with the main character's quest for belonging, and suddenly realized he was actually everyone I know - searching for approval, trying to be loved, longing for love. The watercolor drawings, the facial expression, the music, the mood - perfection, indeed. There are a couple of animated scenes that convey this kind of mood - the Ballroom Sequence in "Beauty and the Beast", Simba's dad being killed in "The Lion King", Jessie's song in "Toy Story 2" - and this one is one of the best I've ever seen. Such simplicity and beauty is strange to find.

When we walked out of the movie, my friend's kids were talking excitedly about the movie, when one of their mothers asked them what they enjoyed most about the movie. And one of the girls exclaimed "Ohana means family! And your family never forgets or abandons you!" (that's what is said in the spanish version of the movie).

Then I suddenly realized we need more movies like this.

Solid 9 / 10 for Lilo & Stitch.

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18 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

The Oasis in the Middle of a Desert

9/10
Author: Foux_du_Fafa from United Kingdom
21 October 2006

Disney's animation department (until the purchase of Pixar) had, to tell the truth, fallen into a bit of a dark age as the 90s drew to a close. The films were getting muddled with executive desires, and as a result went ridiculously over budget, and needless to say ultimately often bombing at the box office and/or with critics as a consequence. Only the Pixar films and, to a lesser extent, DTV sequels (themselves not exactly the brightest bulbs in the chandelier) were really the only new animated films from Disney that were making money. Whilst a number of Disney's animated films of the early 2000s are fine ("Home on the Range" and "Brother Bear" are, in particular, both fun flicks), they certainly don't quite live up to the best of Disney animation.

And then there's "Chicken Little". I wanted to like it, but I was left really disappointed. It had nice animation, but executive meddling had left the story in a mess. I'm a fan of Zach Braff and Harry Shearer, but even their vocal talents didn't save this film, which resulted in the worst Disney film of all time, and was probably only a hit due to the sheer mountain of advertising.

And yet, there's always an oasis in the middle of a desert, and "Lilo and Stitch" is, in this case, just that. It's the story of a girl who mistakes an alien for a dog, and whilst seeming an unusual little flick, is unpretentious. The animation differs from the classic Disney style that many may be used to, but it's delicious eye candy. It's rather touching, too and was rightfully a hit with critics and at the box office. Director Chris Sanders is directing another animated film for Disney entitled "American Dog" and should be released in 2008. Hopefully that will be just as good.

Although it was rated PG in the USA, I honestly think that most young kids will be able to take this if they survived the likes of "The Lion King", "Finding Nemo" and "Dumbo". But enough with the kids, and onto the adults; seriously, don't dub this as a kids movie because it's made by Disney. It's got something for everybody in it and I recommend it.

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15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Funniest thing Disney's done in a long time.

9/10
Author: tenn-noodlehead from Sparta, TN
8 August 2002

This is a great little movie. It has the right mix of comedy, drama, and tear-jerking. The characters are interesting and very well done. The animation is high quality. The setting is fairly unique. I have to say, Disney's animation people can do something besides make bad sequels after all.

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