Lilo & Stitch

Starring:
Daveigh Chase as Lilo
Chris Sanders as Stitch
Tia Carrere as Nani
Jason Scott Lee as David Kawena
Ving Rhames as Cobra Bubbles
David Ogden Stiers as Jumba
Kevin McDonald as Pleakley

Special Features:
Build An Alien Experiment Game
Disneypedia: Hawaii
A Stitch In Time
Deleted Scenes
On Location With The Directors
The Young Voices Of Hawaii
Animating The Hula
“Burning Love”: Behind the Scenes With Wynonna
A*Teens Music Video “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You”
Trailers – 4 Lilo & Stitch Inter-Stitch-als
How To Hula Lesson
DVD ROM Features

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.66:1) – Enhanced For 16×9 Televisions
Running Time: 85 Mins.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Certified
English, French, and Spanish Audio Tracks

Synopsis:
On the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Lilo is a spirited young girl living with her older sister Nani. She is rather odd, though. Her hobbies include taking photos of fat tourists, feeding fish peanut butter sandwiches, listening to Elvis music, making up strange stories, and conducting the occasional voodoo ritual. Lilo also has a rather bad temper that gets her in trouble and causes her to be unpopular with the other young girls on the island. Lilo doesn’t mean to be bad. She just tends to get in trouble too much. This especially becomes a problem when the local social worker, Cobra Bubbles, comes to evaluate Nani and Lilo’s family situation. He doesn’t think Nani is capable of taking care of Lilo and threatens to take her away.

In the middle of this arrives a visitor from outer space – Experiment 626. An escaped science project created by a mad alien scientist, Experiment 626 is an alien creature designed to be very smart, incredibly strong, and highly destructive. After being locked away as a threat to the universe, Experiment 626 escaped to the planet Earth. Unfortunately, Earth is well known among aliens as a wildlife sanctuary for the rare endangered mosquito, so they can’t simply destroy the planet to get rid of Experiment 626. Instead they send the scientist who created him, Jumba, and an Earth specialist, Pleakley, to recapture the escaped creature and return him to prison.

By chance, Experiment 626 ends up in a dog pound where Lilo is looking for a new friend. Thinking his pursuers won’t harm him while he’s with an Earth child, he decides to allow himself to be adopted. Thanks to her weird tastes, Lilo picks the strangest dog in the pound – the alien of course. She names him Stitch, little knowing that there are aliens pursuing him. The stage is now set with the temperamental and lonely girl being paired up with the destructive and neglected alien experiment. Chaos ensues.

This film is rated PG for mild sci-fi action.

The Movie:
While I wasn’t as enamored with it on my DVD viewing, I still enjoyed it a lot. “Lilo & Stitch” is easily one of the better movies of the summer. Funny and entertaining, it goes to prove that 2-D animation is far from dead.

The music is the best to come along in a long time. It is a really unique blend of laid back Hawaiian sound and Elvis music. Since Lilo is an Elvis fan, his music is played throughout the film and underlines the feelings of each scene. Strangely enough, it works. The Hawaiian music captures the unique spirit of the islands and the Elvis music helps provide an upbeat feel to the whole film. This is a soundtrack you may want to pick up and it sounds fantastic on the home theater system.

As for the characters, Lilo is probably the most realistic child ever seen in a Disney cartoon. She’s loving and kind, yet she has no problem punching and biting a little girl when she’s insulted. She’s funny and witty, yet she gets in screaming matches with her older sister. She’s into art and music, yet she’ll say the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. This equal mixture of angel and devil makes her so realistic and so appealing at the same time. This is a character you can’t help but love.

The Extras:
While this DVD doesn’t have the extensive extras of Beauty and the Beast or Monsters Inc., it does have a decent amount of them. Here are some highlights:

Build An Alien Experiment Game – The premise of this game is that you’re helping Jumba create a new genetic experiment. By answering trivia questions, you gain access to three genetic concoctions. By choosing them in the correct order, you then create a new creature that looks like a Pokemon reject. It actually takes a number of tries to come up with the correct sequences. While not particularly challenging to adults, kids enjoy it.

Disneypedia: Hawaii – This features Nani, Lilo, and Stitch spouting facts about Hawaii over documentary footage. You can select the various islands to get facts about them. It’s not a great extra, but it’s educational for kids.

A Stitch In Time – The premise of this joke documentary is that Stitch has been trying to break into Disney stardom for a long time. A fake biography is made up and he’s shown with bit parts in classic Disney films like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jungle Book, and more. Unfortunately, we are only shown stills of the character in the films, but they are still rather amusing.

Deleted Scenes – Since animated films don’t always have deleted scenes, it’s a special treat to find them on a DVD. This one offers up three. They include a different opening trial scene at the beginning, a different storytelling scene between Nani and Lilo, and an inquisition scene with the head of the Federation and the captain. None of them are spectacular, but they are still interesting to watch in their rough early form. The creators have good reasons for modifying them into what you see in the movie. Unfortunately, one of the most infamous deleted scenes is not included on the DVD. Originally, Stitch stole a jet airliner and flew it around downtown Honolulu in the final chase. After September 11th, this was changed to show him flying Jumba’s spaceship well away from tall buildings. While hints of this can be seen in other features on the DVD, it is understandably not included in the deleted scenes.

On Location With The Directors – This is a great documentary featuring the creation process of the film. In a “fly on the wall” format, you sit in on storyboard meetings, voice recording sessions, score recording sessions, and much more. This ends up being one of the more interesting extras and is worth checking out.

The Young Voices Of Hawaii – If you enjoyed the music of this film, then this is a nice short feature you’ll want to see. It shows the children’s chorus that sang in the two main songs “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” and Lilo’s Song.

Animating The Hula – You wouldn’t know it, but a LOT of thought and research was put into the brief hula scenes shown in the film. This short shows how they studied the motions of hula dancers for the characters in the movie. It’s a cool bit of Hawaiian culture.

“Burning Love”: Behind the Scenes With Wynonna – For some reason Wynonna’s voice fits Elvis music very well. In fact, in this video she’s referred to as the “Female Elvis” and that’s a pretty accurate description. This short 1:30 video shows her recording the song and it’s about the only reference to Elvis in the extras. Since he was one of the unique aspects to this film, it’s surprising there wasn’t more.

A*Teens Music Video “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” – It’s a testament to Elvis’ songs that they sound good even when sung by teeny bopper groups. This extremely short video was likely a left over from Disney Channel promotions for the movie.

Trailers – 4 Lilo & Stitch Inter-Stitch-als – This film had one of the more unique advertising campaigns. In the four different trailers, Stitch appears in key scenes from previous Disney films and generally screws things up. These include Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. They were funny, inventive, and a cool treat for audiences. It’s nice to have them on the DVD.

How To Hula Lesson – If you expect to be able to hula after seeing this video, then you’re out of luck. While not an instructional video as the title implies, it is an interesting additional piece on the hula and key moves in it.

The Bottom Line:
“Lilo & Stitch” is a fun movie for kids and adults and a great addition to your DVD collection. It’s one of the more unique Disney animated films to come along in a while.

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