Lilo & Stitch (2002) Poster



Near the end, the tracking image Captain Gantu uses to track the location of Stitch on Hawaii is the icon for the Disney theme park in Florida, EPCOT Center - Spaceship Earth.
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The name "Lilo" means "Generous One" and its origin is Hawaiian. It can also be interpreted as "Lost" and this would give the song title "He Mele No Lilo" a loose translation as "Lullaby of the Lost". The name Nani means "Beautiful" in Hawaiian.
Hawaii-born cast members Jason Scott Lee and Tia Carrere helped the writers with dialog and accents.
Disney promoted this movie with a series of trailers inserting Stitch into some of its "classic" titles. Examples:
  • The Little Mermaid (1989): Stitch surfs a wave that crashes down on Ariel.
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991): Stitch causes the chandelier to fall during the ballroom scene, nearly smashing Belle and the Beast
  • Aladdin (1992): Stitch steals Princess Jasmine from Aladdin during the "A Whole New World" magic carpet ride.
  • The Lion King (1994): Stitch takes Simba's place on Pride Rock during the "Circle of Life" opening.
Almost all of the landscape scenes in the movie are recognizable locations in Hawaii. This is especially true earlier in the movie when Lilo and Stitch are riding the bike around the island, and in the closing sequence.
Many of the aliens are inspired by Disney characters, including Piglet and Tigger.
The character of Cobra Bubbles, voiced by Ving Rhames, bears a marked resemblance to the gangster he played in Pulp Fiction (1994), right down to the same earring.
Although it uses computer-colored (but hand-drawn) digital cels instead of hand-painted ones, this was the first Disney animated feature to use watercolor-painted backgrounds since Dumbo (1941). A conscious effort was made to give the film a warmer, more old-fashioned look than most other modern Disney films: this film does not use the "Deep Canvas" technique used in Tarzan (1999), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), or Treasure Planet (2002); it only contains about five shots which use either a "multiplane camera" or "3D camera" effect; and the use of tone mattes (shading/shadows on the characters) was kept to a minimum.
Like the live-action monster movie that appears briefly, photographs of Elvis Presley are real pictures and not animated drawings.
Near the beginning of the film, during the trial, Stitch is asked by the council woman to provide some sign that he understands what's going on. Stitch responds by licking the inside of his glass cage. The saliva trail is in the shape of the famous 'D' in the Walt Disney logo.
When Pleakley and the Grand Councilwoman go to the prison to visit Jumba, in the cell to the right of the elevator is Dr. Jacques Von Hamsterviel, who went on to become a recurring villain in Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003).
Along with The Princess and the Frog (2009), this is one of only two films from the Walt Disney Animation Studios released in the 2000s to meet with critical praise and make its money back in its initial theatrical run.
Originally, Stitch was going to be an intergalactic gangster, Jumba was going to be a disgruntled member of his gang who was left behind during a heist and was going after him as revenge, and the other members of the gang would have been the ones who came to get him in the third act. The filmmakers felt that Stitch was more sympathetic when the audience thought of him as younger, and so was changed from a hardened criminal to a genetic experiment, and Jumba became the scientist who created him.
One of the hardest parts about Stitch's characterization was that it's very difficult to read what kind of emotion he is feeling, mainly because his eyes don't have pupils. The animators largely got round this problem by making Stitch very physical.
In order to capture the traditional Hawaiian dance form - the hula - correctly, Disney took a camera crew to a renowned halau, a hula school. All of the introductory hula dance is modeled (though not rotoscoped) on sequences captured at the halau.
Stitch was never really conceived to talk.
Chris Sanders, one of the directors of the film, also served as co-screenwriter, co-character designer, and provided the voice of Stitch, a character he first created in 1985. Chris Sanders had originally created the character of Stitch in 1985 for an unsuccessful children's book pitch.
After some of the previous animated features like The Emperor's New Groove (2000) and Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) had not been as successful as the films of the Disney Renaissance, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner decided that the studio should try their hand at a smaller scale and a less-expensive film. The idea was inspired by Dumbo (1941) which was made at the studios for relatively little cost in the wake of the more expensive productions Pinocchio (1940) and Fantasia (1940).
Most of the license plates in the film (the fire engine, gas tanker, and Nani's Beetle - but only at the end, not at "blue punch buggy" - plus one in Lilo's room) are A113. The same as Mrs. Davis's plate number in Toy Story (1995), Mater's plate number in Cars (2006), and also used in many other Disney and Pixar films. It is a reference to a room number at California Institute of the Arts, where many of the animators at those two companies received their educations. The fuel truck in the volcano has the license number "A113". A113 was the room for the animation department at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts; the room now houses graphic design classes). During the 1970s, directors John Musker and Ron Clements, in addition to Disney/Pixar animation executive John Lasseter and Pixar director Brad Bird, studied animation in room A113. "A113" labels are hidden in many Disney and Pixar films.
First feature length animated film to be set on Hawaii.
The sign on Lilo's door is the Hawaiian word "kapu". It has cognates in other Polynesian languages, including Fijian "tabu" from which English "taboo" is borrowed. In context, it could be loosely translated as "Keep Out."
Running Gag: Every time Pleakley looks at or attempts to show someone information about Earth, the device used is a "Viewmaster". Viewmasters create the illusion that the viewer is looking at a three-dimensional image that's actually created by each eye looking at a slightly different pictures. Its basic premise is that the person looking in it has two eyes to create the effect, but Pleakley is a one-eyed creature and therefore would not see the 3-D effects of the Viewmaster. Adding to the gag is when he hands the ViewMaster to Dr. Jumba - a one-eyed alien handing an four-eyed alien a viewing device intended for two-eyed humans.
One of the few Disney animated features to take place in the present day. Others include Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), 101 Dalmatians (1961), The Rescuers (1977), The Fox and the Hound (1981), The Rescuers Down Under (1990), Oliver & Company (1988), The Lion King (1994), and Bolt (2008).
Earth is referred to as being in Section 17, Area 51 in the Galactic charts, one of several references to Area 51.
Lilo is six in the film. Daveigh Chase was nine when she started voicing Lilo.
After Stitch breaks the water gun apart, Cobra is shown looking on disappointed, as a crowd of people run by in terror. The last two to run by are cartoon versions of Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. Sanders is the guy with blond hair and sunglasses. DeBois is the big guy with a beard.
When Lilo and Nani are watching from the bedroom window what they initially believe to be a falling star but is actually Stitch's crash landing, a Dumbo stuffed animal can be seen off to the left amongst paint jars on the shelf of an easel. Dumbo was also a misunderstood outcast.
Producer Clark Spencer has revealed the story was originally placed in an isolated town in Kansas rather than on Kauai.
According to the projected landing location of Experiment 626, the story takes place on the island of Kauai. Also, at one point when Stitch and Lilo ride a bicycle around the island, the famous Kilauea lighthouse, located on Kauai, can be seen in the background, confirming the location.
In the subtitles for the Chinese version, a line spoken by Stitch in his alien language is translated into Chinese despite it having no corresponding English meaning. The reason for this is thought to be because Stitch's line sounded a lot like Ni Qu De (Go to your place) an offensive Chinese phrase used to tell somebody to go away. The actual Chinese translation was a lot more family-friendly. The inclusion of this line moves forward the first understandable dialogue spoken by Stitch from the English version, showing far earlier in it Stitch is intelligent.
After completing this film, director Chris Sanders's next project for Disney was Bolt (2008). When John Lasseter took over as head of animation at Disney, he dismissed Sanders, who then moved on to DreamWorks Animation.
The second animated feature to be made at Disney's Orlando studio. The first was Mulan (1998). After picking up Stitch from the animal shelter, Lilo, Stitch, and Nani can be seen passing stores, one of them being the "Mulan Wok". Also, Nani has a "Mulan" poster from the film on her bedroom wall. When Lilo and Stitch enter Nani's room to show her the trick Stitch can do with the radio, a poster of "Mulan (1998)" can be seen in the background. It's most likely a note that Tia Carrere, the voice of Nani, was originally considered for Mulan's voice.
The film's North American gross of $145 million was Disney's biggest gross for an animated film since Tarzan (1999).
Alan Silvestri collaborated with Hawaiian hula master Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu on the score.
In the hotel scene, Stich carrying a rose was inspired by an animation student that was known to give flowers to the animators (and other animation students) at the annual Disney Institute animation classes.
The film's extra-terrestrial elements - such as spaceships - were designed to resemble marine life.
HIDDEN MICKEY: There are several "hidden Mickeys" in the movie - one can be seen in the Grand Council scene, on Jumba's platform. Another can be seen as a logo on the shorts of one of Lilo's photographic subjects on the wall of her room. Another can be seen on one the screens of Gantu's ship near the end of the film.
This marks the first time since the mid-1940s that the backgrounds are painted in watercolors as opposed to the traditional gouache technique. Directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois wanted to adopt the technique to hark back to the style of Dumbo (1941). This decision required a lot of background artists to be trained in the technique.
According to Stitch's dog license at the shelter, the adoption official is "Susan Hegarty", the name of the actress who voiced the character. Also, according to the license, Lilo and Nani's last name is "Pelekai". Other writing on the same license includes "as well as our partners at Disney MGM Studios for their participation and support during the making of Lilo and Stitch."
One of Pleakley's human disguises in the film bears a striking resemblance to Francesca Fiore, a recurring character from the show The Kids in the Hall (1988), which Kevin McDonald also starred in.
Studio trademark: Habitually barefoot character(s): All the aliens are barefoot. Lilo and Nani are often barefoot too.
This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animation, but lost to Spirited Away (2001). Daveigh Chase voiced the lead character in both these films (Lilo in Lilo & Stitch (2002) and Chihiro/Sen in the English dub for Spirited Away (2001)).
The two small black-and-white dogs that were part of the first group of canines Stitch met at the pound resemble two dogs that belong to Dean DeBlois. One of his dogs was recorded (breathing, grunting, etc.) and mixed in with Chris Sanders's performance as Stitch.
The voice of Stitch was a difficult one to dub for other languages so Dutch voice artist Bob Vanderhoven rather than Chris Sanders does the voice in the Dutch, German, Flemish, and Italian versions of the film.
In one of Lilo's photographic studies, of a fat man lying on the beach, the man is so big that she took a couple of photos and overlapped them to get the picture.
The grocery store Nani tries to get a job at is owned by a "Mrs. Hasegawa", a reference to the famous "Hasegawa's General Store" in the town of Hana on Maui.
The cities featured on the postcards during the scene when Lilo and Stitch are having a snow cone include New York, Honolulu, San Francisco, Toronto, Orlando (with a picture of Walt Disney World Resort on the front), Dallas, Chicago, and Hong Kong. When Lilo and Stitch walk past this store selling calendars with images from around the world, the "Orlando" calendar has a picture of the Magic Kingdom.
Lilo & Stitch (2002) received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, one of three Disney films nominated in the category that year. The others were Spirited Away (2001) and Treasure Planet (2002).
The 42nd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics collection.
Lilo is adamant that she feed Pudge the fish a peanut butter sandwich every Thursday. Most believe that Pudge is never seen in the film. However, during the opening credits, right before the title appears and you see Lilo underwater, you actually see Pudge swim by with a peanut butter sandwich in his mouth.
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The character David Kawena is critically acclaimed to have been inspired by Hawaiian surf legend David Nuuhiwa.
Keith David was considered for the role of Cobra Bubbles.
HIDDEN MICKEY: When Lilo shows Stitch his bed, a picture of Mickey's head can be seen on the wall in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
In the the scene of Stich's escape at the beginning of the movie, all of the police vehicles, as well as the vehicle being piloted by Stitch, appear to be modelled after the Jaguar E-type.
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"He Mele No Lilo" has caused debate regarding intellectual property rights. The "Mele" is a melding of two older chants to King David Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani.
When Stitch emerges from his crash landing near the beginning, he starts chattering in an alien language. One of the words he says is "Chewbacca" which is the name of one of the main characters in the Star Wars franchise.
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Earlier script drafts included a scene, in which Lilo is introducing Stitch to Pudge The Fish, when suddenly a pack of birds fly down and kill Pudge. Lilo screams for help, but Stitch just sits back, enjoying the carnage. This is when Lilo starts to realize that something is wrong with Stitch, and she explains to him the concept of family, claiming that Pudge was a part of theirs. Afterwards, Lilo buries Pudge in a cemetery. Stitch is puzzled at first, but then notices the graves of Lilo's parent's nearby, and starts to feel ashamed for the first time, and then Lilo forgives him. The scene was drawn, but not animated.
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Alan Silvestri was the directors' first choice for composer.
LOGO GIMMICK: The "Walt Disney Pictures" logo gets sucked in by a ship where there is green light coming from it.
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Inside the closing scenes while dancing at the Merrie Monarch Festival, two portraits are presented beside the stage. They are of George Naope (Uncle George) and Helene Hale. Helene was the Chairman of the County of Hawaii who founded the festival in 1963 to attract tourism, and Uncle George was her Promoter of Activities, who would later add the hula competition in 1971. Source, The Merrie Monarch Festival History Page.
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Mulan (1998) is featured in this movie when a restaurant with the name "Mulan Wok" can be seen on the boardwalk.
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The sandcastle Nani, Lilo, and David build together during Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride is a replica of Sleeping Beauty Castle found at Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland.
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Earlier script drafts included a scene, which depicts several tourists on the beach treating Lilo in a racist manner. As a payback, Lilo plays a practical joke, tricking them into believing that a tsunami is coming, which makes them run away scared, much to the disdain of Cobra Bubbles, which makes Lilo tell him: "If you lived here, you'd understand". In the final script, this scene was replaced by Stitch playing guitar on the beach dressed as Elvis, and then going crazy and, again, making everyone run away scared to the disdain of Cobra Bubbles. The original scene was partially animated, but never completed.
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The experiment number for Stitch is "626" which is an area code for the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California (whether one of the writers for the movie lives or is from this area is not known).
Stitch escaping to Earth in a stolen cruiser is a parody of Star Wars IV A New Hope where the droids R2 D2 and C3 PO escape via a pod from Tantive IV to Tattooine. Similarly Lilo buying Stitch and Jumba and Pleakly being sent by the Grand Council woman is a parody of Luke Skywalker and his Uncle Owen buying the droids and Vader sending his Stormtroopers to retrieve the Death Star plans respectively. Plus a few dinosaur like aliens in white suits who also have ray guns are dressed similarly to the storm troopers.
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The character of David is seen wearing a necklace of a fishhook. The fishhook looks like the one used by Maui in Moana (2016). Even though Moana was released 14 years after this film, the demi-god Maui is a very important figure in Maori and Polynesian culture and his fishhook plays a prominent role in the Legend of Maui so it is plausible that David would wear a replica of Maui's hook.
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Judging from his vocal patterns, and that the minimum age of joining the CIA is 18, it would be reasonable to believe that during the events of Lilo & Stitch, Cobra Bubbles would be at least 48 years old.
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Bob van der Houven not only voiced stitch in the Dutch version, but also the German, Italian and Belgium versions.
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Running gag: Whenever the "Ice Cream Man" appears, his ice cream drops from its cone before he can finish it.
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Cobra was first designed as a thin, vulnerable and fussy man. When this didn't work, animator Andreas Deja was asked to create the "ultimate authorative social worker".
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Cobra mentioned that he saved Earth from an alien race by convincing them that the mosquito was an endangered species. Ironically, Pleakley used the same theory to convince the Grand Councilwoman not to gas Earth. This also further assumes that it was Pleakley's race that was convinced by Cobra about the mosquitoes being an endangered species.
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Emily Deschanel's 4th Disney animated film since Pocahontas II: Journey to A New World (1998), The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (2000) and Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001).
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Jake Gyllenhaal's 2nd Disney animated film since The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (2000).
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Rachel Weisz's 1st Disney animated film.
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Emily Deschanel and Jake Gyllenhaal's second time together since The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (2000).
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

When Lilo explains that she needs to give Pudge the fish a peanut butter sandwich every Thursday, because he controls the weather, everyone thinks she is just being crazy. But later in the movie it is revealed that Lilo's parents died because of a rainstorm, which explains why this is so important to her. It may also indicate that her parents died on a Thursday.
Jumba's red spaceship, seen in the climax, is heavily modeled after a Boeing 747. This is because the original version of the flying chase scene involved Stitch and Jumba hijacking a Boeing 747 from Lihue airport, and chasing Gantu's spaceship through Honolulu, crashing into buildings. The scene was already completed, when the 9/11 attacks occurred, in which a group of terrorists hijacked several planes and crashed them into buildings on September 11, 2001. As a result, the chase scene had to be redrawn, with 747 replaced by a similarly shaped spaceship, buildings replaced by mountains, and a street full of people replaced with a valley having just one fat guy in it.
At the end of the film, when Stitch is dancing with Lilo's halau hula, the camera pulls back to reveal that they are performing at the Merrie Monarch Festival, a real annual festival honoring King David Kalakaua and celebrating Hawaiian arts and culture.
During the ending credits the camera scans across various "photographs" of the characters. One of them is a "remake" of Norman Rockwell's 'Freedom from Want' Thanksgiving Day painting with Cobra as the grandfather and Stitch as the grandmother.
The surfer statue featured in the end credits is a real Hawaiian landmark on Waikiki Beach. It is of Duke Kahanamoku, a native Hawaiian considered the father of modern surfing and an Olympic gold medal winner. Nani also has a Duke poster in her bedroom. When Stitch strikes Jumba with a car and sends him flying to Nani's room she has a poster of Duke on the wall. When Stitch delivers a second blow the facial expression on Duke's face changes.
In the (very short) birthday party sequence at the end, Stitch made an enormous cake, which has seven candles on it. This would make it Lilo's seventh birthday, supporting those who have stated that Lilo is six years old through most of the movie.
Due to time, a scene was repeated. When Stitch is burned off Gantu's ship during the climax, Lilo screams, "Stitch!" when he falls off. The exact same scene of Lilo saying Stitch's name happens again before Stitch tears a hole in a petrol truck to cause it to explode.
The scene of Lilo's house destruction was initially much darker, with Jumba acting more sinister, using his gun all the time, forcing Stitch to fill the house with gas, so that Jumba couldn't use the gun, but he, apparently going completely insane, fires the gun anyway and the house explodes. The scene ends with Lilo watching in horror as her house becomes a huge bonfire. The scene was heavily modified at the late production stages, with the gun barely used and made to look almost harmless even when does (e.g. Stitch catching the plasma shot). It was also heavily laden with jokes and goofs, including "punch buggy", "I love that song", "Leave my mother out of this", "Happy Hanukkah" dialog, exploding doll, etc. The new scene ends with Lilo looking back in horror, as before, but the view of the burning house is completely cut.
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HIDDEN MICKEY: Near the end of the movie, when Gantu is tracking Stitch after blasting him off his ship, there is a Mickey head on the far left monitor.
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Throughout the film, Lilo is shown to have a love for Elvis Presley's music. It's highly likely that her parents were Elvis fans too and Lilo listens to his songs to keep their memory alive.
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Early in the film, Lilo is shown to have a passion for photography. Later in the film, Stitch finds out that Lilo keeps a family photo under her pillow. It's possible that the reason Lilo loves taking photographs so much is because a picture is one of the few reminders she has of her parents.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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