Main cast: Daveigh Chase (Lilo Pelekai), Chris Sanders (Stitch/Experiment #626), Tia Carrere (Nani Pelekai), Jason Scott Lee (David Kawena), David Ogden Stiers (Dr Jumba Jookiba), Ving Rhames (Mr Cobra Bubbles), Kevin McDonald (Pleakley), Zoe Caldwell (Grand Councilwoman), and Kevin Michael Richardson (Captain Gantu)
Directors: Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders
Ooh, ooh, forget Pokemon, Stitch is the cutest thing ever! Mean, with an attitude, and makes a mean Elvis Presley impersonation, he steals the show and makes it his own. What am I saying? He is the show, and boy, what a show it is.
In a faraway planet in an even further galaxy, there live cute round and dotty aliens (although some are scrawny like the Grand Councilwoman and there are shark-like critters too, like scary Captain Gantu). But one day a mad scientist, Dr Jumba Jookiba, proves that he is a meanie under his adorable four-eyed tubby appearance. He has created a creature of massive destruction, Experiment #626! This small, round guy with four arms and wide gremlin eyes and all teeth is so cute, I shock myself and the others around me by shrieking “I want one!”
While on his way to detention, Experiment #626 escapes and crash lands on earth. Hawaii to be exact. Here, he gets run over by a truck and is sent to a dog pound. People don’t seem to know what to make of this ugly… dog, until a hyperactive problem child named Lilo buys him from the pound for $2.00 and names him Stitch.
With Lilo and her long-suffering sister Nani, and along with the book The Ugly Duckling, Stitch will soon learn the meaning of family. But not before many misadventures that culminate in social worker/secret agent (don’t ask) Cobra Bubbles coming to take away Lilo from Nani. Oh, and the aliens are after Stitch too. Fun!
By the way, are cartoon characters ever this sexy? Nani and her man David are all legs and perfect physique, it feels like I’m watching hentai at times as these nicely drawn artwork show enough legs that stretch along from Tibet to Maui or chest broad enough to support the entire Trans-Siberian railway line. But Stitch and Lilo are pure cuddly perfection, all round and circles and stumpy arms that just define the phrase “adorable”.
Incidentally, while the family message isn’t that deep, it’s pretty well-done to the point that it’s heartfelt rather than insincere or preachy. Lilo and Stitch are two troublemakers who help each other mellow, and it’s pretty heartbreaking to see Stitch staring at the pages of The Ugly Duckling, bewildered by the confused emotions he must be feeling. As Jumba Jookiba remarked, it must be hard for Stitch, who is programmed to destroy things, to live with nothing left to destroy. How does it feel to live completely without any purpose at all in one’s life? Pretty preachy and even trite, I agree, but in this movie, it works very well to bring out the lost soul in Stitch.
But it’s not just deep messages here. Elvis tracks are used, along with gentle hummable tunes by Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu and a choir of children to bring out the best of atmosphere. The final action sequences are more violent than any Disney cartoons I’ve seen – cars being thrown about, a house being blown up, this is cooler than when that scary dude falls to his death in The Hunchback of Notre Dame – but they are also a hoot to watch.
Did I mention that Stitch makes a killer Elvis impersonator? Those floppy ears are so cute, I tell you.
Lilo & Stitch is one of the rare almost-perfect cartoons for adults as well as kids. It’s entertaining and funny for the kids, but for old geezers like me, this movie aims right for the inner kid in me to bounder along for the ride. Even better, it really touches the heart without clogging the arteries with preachy tripe. I laugh, I cry, and damn, I feel, oh how I feel, people!