LILO & STITCH
While Lilo & Stitch produced a collective scratch of the head upon the parts of audiences, it is itself not an unlikable effort. It eventually emerges as is a variant on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) the diminutive stranded alien creature and the lonely kid who form a friendship, the alien being pursued by various authority figures that want to capture it. Although Lilo & Stitch is more an E.T. where the title creature has been replaced by one of the malicious balls of fur out of Critters (1986). Or else an E.T.-copy like Gremlins (1984) conducted in reverse one that starts out with one of the malicious post-midnight Mogwai and proceeds to transform it into a cute and cuddly ball of fur.
The difficulty that most people seemed to have had is that Lilo & Stitch is an atypical Disney film. While most Disney films hold family as a sacred cow above all else, Lilo & Stitch wilfully celebrates family dysfunctionality. The heroine is an orphan who definitely has some social adjustment issues, her sister is raising her in a less than entirely Youth Services-approved manner indeed, a major subplot involves the sisters fight to stop Youth Services taking Lilo away from her care. The Stitch character is an adorable golliwog of misdirected aggression sort of a Critter with permanent ADD. He has some nifty gimmicks including putting its feet in its mouth and rolling around the floor in a ball; using a talon and a hinged jaw as a makeshift record player; and, most appealingly, building a model city and then doing Godzilla impersonations and stomping about and smashing it up. The films central theme that ohanu means family and is all inclusive and ultimately all-redeeming is none too surprising, but in truth the characters here have more in common with the oddball eccentric outsiders that inhabit the world of a Tim Burton film in particular, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) than they do the characteristic wholesomeness of a Disney film.
Perhaps the oddest aspect of Lilo & Stitch is its ethnic backdrop, focusing on Hawaiian culture. In the early 1990s, during their reconstruction phase, Disney films in particular Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994) were accused of pandering to racial stereotypes. Disney then started making scrupulous efforts to embrace different racial/cultural groups Pocahontas (1995) with its revisionist focus on American Indian history, Mulan (1998) and its historical Chinese setting, The Emperors New Groove and its gonzo adaptation of Aztec culture, the Inuit culture of Brother Bear (2003), the African-American themed The Princess and the Frog (2009) and Pacific Island culture in Moana (2016). The results are oddly interesting.
There were three video/dvd released sequels Stitch! The Movie (2003), Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005) and Leroy & Stitch (2006), while the film was later expanded into an animated tv series Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003-7).
Directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders subsequently went onto make How to Train Your Dragon (2010) for DreamWorks Animation. Sanders later co-directed The Croods (2013) for DreamWorks, while DeBlois solo directed How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014).