Lilo & Stitch (2002)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Lilo & Stitch</strong> (2002)

(In French, on Blu-Ray, June 2015) One of the benefits of parenthood is the perfect justification to watch all sorts of good kids’ movies.  So it is that I’m going through the Disney catalogue, picking up what I’d never seen due to being a self-important contrarian young adult at the time.  Lilo & Stitch is one of the highest-profile Disney releases I had never seen, and watching the film now it’s easy to understand why it remains an evergreen reference: The Hawaiian look is distinctive, Stitch is a memorable creature (playing just right at the edge of what a dangerous protagonist should be in a Disney kid’s film), the use of Elvis-themed music is inspired (the end credit “Burning Love” cover is particularly spirited) and the thematic concerns about reconstituted families run deep.  There’s a lot of humor (the visual gag in which a robot character retches bolts after hearing a particularly vile alien swearword still has me smiling), but real emotional depth as well, making the film worth a look beyond the hyperactive quality of Stitch himself.  Lilo is a wonderful young heroine, and the blend of Science Fiction elements with more broadly comic or sentimental plot points is generally successful.  The animation is splendid, with a successful integration of classic 2D drawing with 3D elements.  Lilo & Stitch may have darker moments, but it’s ultimately a very likable film, and one that resists simplistic story elements.  It endures just as well today than it did nearly fifteen years ago.

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