📽️ Disney Time – Lilo & Stitch

List Item:  Watch The Disney Animated Canon
Progress: 42/58Title: Lilo & Stitch
Year: 2002

It’s been 6-7 years since I first watched Lilo & Stitch, apparently as part of a previous Disney binge as that was around about the same time that I saw Brother Bear. Since then, I’d actually pretty much forgotten about this film for the most part except for one thing: I knew I enjoyed it. On the re-watch, I am glad to say that it still held up and is likely to end up as in my Top 3 for Disney of the 2000s.

Unlike Atlantisthis is a film that I remember being advertised heavily. Pretty smart advertising as well seeing how they really used the love of the Big 4 Disney Renaissance to peak your interest as Stitch arrived during iconic scenes and (like in his own film) ruins everything. Thankfully, these promo spots are all on the Blu Ray, which made for a lot of fun before diving into the film proper.

It’s a brilliant idea to have him be front and centre in the adverts, as Stitch is one of the best original characters that Disney have ever created. In terms of looks, he fits into the same aesthetic as Nibbler from Futurama – i.e. cute because of the amalgamation of traditionally ugly features on a huggably small body.  He also has one of the most complex emotional journey’s that we see a non-human character go through in a Disney story – someone built for a destructive purpose that is still able to love and be loved.

As with a number of other Disney films of this era Lilo & Stitch‘s story really does skew older. Granted, Lilo as a protagonist is still a young girl, but for the film to work you need to be able to empathize with her older sister’s struggle to act as Lilo’s caretaker. Especially as Lilo is a child who has been emotionally damaged by the sudden death of her two parents and has been ostracized by her peer group as she uses her eccentricities as a coping mechanism.

This all makes Lilo & Stitch sound very doom and gloom for a Disney film, but worry not as they really do find ways to bring in the funny thanks to Stitch and other aliens who are hunting him down. Still though, what sets it apart is how much this film can grab you right by the feels and actually does an impressive job of subtly lampshading future events and even gives hints at the dark backstory of Lilo’s parents’ death before you actually hear about it (hint: it’s to do with the fish she feeds a sandwich to during her introduction).

So yea I guess this is it, the last good Disney film until Bolt. The next group are going to be somewhere between mediocre and the bad. Oh well, I managed to get through Disney’s other critical deserts of the mid-to-late 1940s and the 1970s – so I’m sure that the next five films will end up flying by.

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