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Lilo and Stitch | review | dvd | Lollipop
Lilo and Stitch
by Chad Van Wagner
Yes, I know, Disney. Who cares, right? Well, the Mouse does; since they finally stopped doing their "incredibly bland guy as hero" thing, they want you to start caring again. They might actually succeed: Lilo and Stitch is considerably ruder and less sappy than pretty much any Disney film ever made, sometimes (rarely, but sometimes) to its detriment. For those of you who have been living in a cave: Stitch is an incredibly destructive little ball of alien Hell that escapes to Earth, to be adopted by Lilo, a screwed-up little girl being raised by her older sister. The first ten minutes of this film are flat out brilliant: Stitch is a hysterical freak, and Lilo is one seriously bizarre little girl (she says, with all sincerity, that she feeds a certain fish peanut butter sandwiches because he controls the weather. Okay then...) Kudos to Disney for giving the stock outcast character some actual, serious dysfunction.
And Stitch... well... he's friggin' brilliant. I can't really say much about him, since almost everything good about him is purely visual. As much as I hate to give such little space in this review to what is easily the raison d'etre of the movie, to paraphrase Brian Eno (I think), writing about Stitch is like dancing about architecture.
One or two issues, though. Lilo's sister is drawn kind of... odd. She seems to have been conceived by R. Crumb, very pretty with big, thick, incongruous legs. Not a criticism, just strange enough to warrant a comment. And yes, the film does have one painfully cheeseball, Disney-esque scene. During the big climax, Stitch rescues Lilo (I refuse to call that a spoiler; anyone with a pulse knows that's coming), and as he carries her from harm, he says that "no one gets left behind" line. Now, I know this is for kids, and that kind of scene is an inevitability, but this is really cheesy.
But I'm not going to complain too loudly. Disney might be the all being evil overlord of time and space, but they finally made a decent little flick.