Animated Tale of Kids, Space Alien Is a Blast
By Elizabeth Weitzman / NY Daily
Both sweet and sassy, Disney's "Lilo & Stitch" gives the raspberry to skeptics who consider hand-drawn animation a relic of the Ice Age. First things first: Yes, the title characters are as pug-ugly on-screen as they look in the movie's flatly unappealing trailers. But what the ads don't show you is how much fun they are to be around.
Lilo and Stitch in animated Disney adventure Hawaiian orphans Lilo (Daveigh Chase) and her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere) have been on their own since their parents died. Lilo, a brilliant, hyperactive 5-year-old, is an ideal candidate for Ritalin. Instead, Nani gets her a dog, Stitch.
This is, at first glance, a monumental error. If teenager Nani can't create a stable home, a scary social worker (Ving Rhames) will take Lilo away. And as it turns out, Stitch is not actually a cuddly puppy, but a genetically engineered space alien designed to create chaos.
Of course, after some fabulous, crowd-pleasing anarchy, Stitch, Lilo and Nani learn to be a family — which, for them, includes sharing a love of Elvis and becoming involved in an intergalactic race that is far better than anything George Lucas has offered lately.
In fact, the whole movie is a blast, thanks to a whip-smart script clearly written for kids and grownups alike. Even the lessons are easy to take, coming from two inveterate mischief makers like Stitch and Lilo. And while the animation is undeniably 20th century, the movie proves there's still a place for old-fashioned fun — as long as it's tempered by newfangled sensibilities.
'Stitch' will keep you in stitches
By Claudia Puig / USA Today
Lilo & Stitch is a fresh departure from Disney's recent animated movies. The hand-drawn figures are rounder and simpler than the studio's usual style, and watercolor backgrounds are used for the first time since Bambi in 1942. The colors in this comedy are ultra-vibrant and rich, appropriate to the Hawaiian setting. Best of all, the movie has an endearingly cheeky attitude sometimes missing from more earnest Disney tales. Witty, touching and well paced, Lilo & Stitch is ideal family fare, but little more. Lilo (pronounced LEE-lo), an adorable Hawaiian girl, is a lonely child whose parents were killed in a car accident. She is being raised by her teenage sister, Nani, who is doing her level best, but Dr. Spock might take issue with her parenting skills.
In fact, a hard-nosed social worker (who looks like Shaq in shades). visits at an awkward moment and decides Lilo might be better off in a foster home.
Nani is determined to hold on to Lilo and tries to cheer up her younger sibling by getting her a pet. At the dog pound, Lilo meets Stitch, who's really a mischievous alien on the run from his planet's ruler. Stitch has crash-landed his space vehicle in Kauai and hidden in the animal shelter. He figures that if he pants, barks and generally acts like a canine, he might escape a pair of inept aliens hot on his trail. His bright-blue fur, razor-sharp teeth and pink, bat-like ears make it difficult for anyone to figure out what species he might be.
Lilo doesn't care. She knows what it's like to be left out for being different, and she can't resist the odd-looking creature. A friendship is formed, even though mayhem surrounds Stitch wherever he goes.
Lilo is a stitch herself: funny, feisty and ever faithful to the principle of family ("ohana"). She teaches the wayward Stitch what love means, and writer/directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois avoid sappiness.
The soundtrack is mostly Elvis tunes, and Stitch even does an adorable impersonation of the King. As Elvis might put it, you can't help falling in love with Lilo & Stitch.
She Loves Nothing but a Pound 'Dog'
By Jan Stuart / Newsday
(3 1/2 STARS) LILO & STITCH (PG). Respectively, a little Hawaiian girl with an attitude problem and a canine-like alien who relates.
The Disney animation machine in full blossom, and the first satisfying Elvis-soundtrack musical since "Viva Las Vegas." 1:27. At area theaters.
A mopey little girl flops on her bedroom floor, drops a phonograph needle on Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" and moans, "Leave me alone to die." On the other side of the door, a teenager throws a hissy fit at her self-dramatizing kid sister. In another part of town, an incorrigible dog that hates rain (and what self-respecting dog doesn't?) lurks in an animal shelter, waiting to destroy everyone and everything in sight.
These are animated characters after your heart. Do they win the pursuit? Big time.
It doesn't hurt their cause that the two sisters live in Hawaii, where the surf is as high as an elephant's eye and the tourists' bellies rise like Diamond Head over the beach. It also helps that the dog is really a refugee lab experiment from some far-off galaxy, and that he actually could destroy everything in sight if he put his mind to it.
Anyone suffering from Scooby-Doo blues should pick themselves up, dust themselves off and head to "Lilo & Stitch," a beguiling splash of pastel colors and prankish comedy from Disney. Following "Monsters, Inc." and the affecting live-action drama "The Rookie," "Lilo & Stitch" affirms a new golden age for the studio, which is rediscovering the art of making family films that manage to be savvy without bowing to the smart-alecky imperative of post-"Simpsons" sensibilities.
There is knowing humor to spare in this tale of a misfit orphan named Lilo (the voice of Daveigh Chase) with a yen for Elvis, in and out of his "Blue Hawaii" period. Lilo is cared for by her 19-year-old sister Nani (Tia Carrere), who is losing the battle to hold down a job and play surrogate mother. Nani's guardian efforts are being monitored by a social worker named Cobra Bubbles (Ving Rhames), an imposingly large African-American whose dark suit and sunglasses give him the air of a nightclub bouncer with a zero- tolerance mandate.
Mr. Bubbles' concerns deepen after Nani takes Lilo to an animal shelter, where they unknowingly adopt a runaway alien that has been genetically crafted to be destructive. Lilo names him Stitch and does her best to tame the creature, who channels his violent impulses into building scale models of San Francisco and decimating them with a shrug like Godzilla.
The film is buoyed by musical interludes that alternate early Elvis hits with pleasing Hawaiian-flavored pop songs by Alan Silvestri and Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu.
We could have lived without the draggy outer-space prologue and the high-tech finale chase, which temporarily suspend the film in a state of generic sci-fi blahness. "Lilo & Stitch" is more itself when having sport with the very theme- park Americana that its producing studio has turned into a kitsch industry, as in a luau restaurant scene in which a waitress complains, "The kid at table three is throwing poi again." Speaking as someone who invariably ends up seated at table two, I'd say Disney deserves a handsome tip.
By Lou Lumenick / NY Post
Just when traditional animation was looking like an endangered art form, along comes "Lilo & Stitch," arguably the most irresistible hand-drawn Disney cartoon since "The Lion King."
Drawing inspiration from anime and vintage Looney Toons, this beautifully drafted, offbeat charmer is hip, funny - and a bona fide heart tugger for the whole family.
The opening isn't hugely promising.
It's your standard cartoon sci-fi setup, with four-eyed mad scientist Jumba (voice of David Ogden Stiers) being tried by a galactic council (Zoe Caldwell, no less, provides the voice of the head being) for unlawful genetic experimentation.
The mischievous "Experiment 626," who has superhuman powers, is to be sent into exile.
Instead, the critter steal