Richard’s Year of Movies — Lilo and Stitch

The other night Hannah was in the mood for a Disney movie, and I suggested Lilo and Stitch, more because it was one we hadn’t watched together than out of any real desire to watch it.  In fact, I was intending to pop it in and do some fantasy football research while it played in the background.  Because god forbid I’m not doing three things at once every single minute.

And wouldn’t you know it, the little bastard pulled me in.  I’d forgotten how astonishingly good this movie is, particularly when you look at how many disparate elements are in it.  It starts off in space, goes to Hawaii, has Ving Rhames as the most badass social worker ever, and heavily features Elvis in the soundtrack.  It’s like asking a pre-school to write a movie script.  And yet every bit of it works.

I think one of the reasons it became so popular is that it’s a Disney movie that doesn’t come down on the princess side or the pirate side, but straddles the middle.  It’s got spaceships and aliens and lasers, but it’s also got sisters and family and emotion.  And you get most all of that from Stitch himself, who’s an amazingly animated character in every sense of the word.  He’s like a more calculating Tasmanian Devil, but in the hands of the animators, the same eyes that narrow with mischievous delight can also go wide and bright over the sight of “The Ugly Duckling”.  And wow there are a hell of a lot of rhymes in the last part of that sentence.

I also realized that the driving force behind this film, Chris Sanders, directed How to Train Your Dragon, which has a lot of Lilo and Stitch in it, especially in the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless.  In fact, it took me seeing Lilo and Stitch again to peg that it was Stitch who Toothless naggingly reminded me of at times.  Glad to finally put a finger on that.  Or claw, as the case may be.

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