Lilo & Stitch

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This article is about the film. For the TV series, see Lilo & Stitch: The Series. For the franchise, see Lilo & Stitch (franchise).
Lilo & Stitch
LiloandStitchmovieposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by Clark Spencer
Written by
  • Chris Sanders
  • Dean DeBlois
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Edited by Darren T. Holmes
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • June 21, 2002 (2002-06-21) (United States)
  • October 4, 2002 (2002-10-04) (United Kingdom)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80 million[1]
Box office $273.1 million[1]

Lilo & Stitch is a 2002 American animated science fiction adventure comedy-drama film[2] produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on June 21, 2002. It is the 42nd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It was written and directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, the latter also starring in the lead role, and features the voices of Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere, David Ogden Stiers, Kevin McDonald, Ving Rhames, Jason Scott Lee, and Kevin Michael Richardson.

Lilo & Stitch was the second of three Disney animated features produced primarily at the Florida animation studio located at Disney's Hollywood Studios (then known as Disney-MGM Studios during production) in Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida. The film received positive reviews and was nominated for the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, which ultimately went to Studio Ghibli's film Spirited Away, which was also distributed in the United States by Walt Disney Pictures.

The 2002 film eventually started a franchise: a direct-to-video sequel, Stitch! The Movie, was released on August 26, 2003. This was followed by a television series, Lilo & Stitch: The Series, which ran from September 20, 2003, to July 29, 2006. A second direct-to-video sequel, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, was released on August 30, 2005. A third sequel, a television film titled Leroy & Stitch, was released on June 27, 2006, as the nearly conclusion to the TV series. An anime that succeeded Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Stitch!, ran from October 8, 2008, to June 19, 2011, in Japan, with TV specials broadcast in 2012 and 2015. Other animation studios produced the sequel films and series; Stitch! The Movie, Lilo & Stitch: The Series and Leroy & Stitch were produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, Stitch Has a Glitch was produced by DisneyToon Studios, and Stitch! was produced by Madhouse and later Shin-Ei Animation.

Plot[edit]

Dr. Jumba Jookiba, the ingenius (but socially-deviant) creator of an extremely destructive, weaponized living creature known only as "Experiment 626", is arrested and taken to trial before the Grand Councilwoman of the Galactic Federation for "illegal genetic experimentation". Brought before the court as evidence is the creature itself, whose behavior disgusts and alarms those in attendance. Dr. Jumba is found guilty by the court and sentenced to prison, while the court determines that Experiment 626 is far too dangerous to be kept around civilization and must be disposed of to protect the Federation from potential harm. 626 is taken by Captain Gantu to be exiled to an isolated, desolate asteroid to prevent him from causing untold destruction and chaos.

Experiment 626 escapes from his restraints aboard Gantu's vessel, and subsequently manages to escape in a spaceship and activate the hyperdrive, causing its guidance systems to randomly set a course for Earth. The Grand Councilwoman calls forth Agent Pleakley, an expert on Earth, for advice on how to deal with the situation. After learning that the Earth is a protected planet that houses the endangered mosquito population, the Councilwoman dispatches Jumba and Pleakley to safely and quietly retrieve 626, in exchange for Jumba's freedom. 626 successfully lands on the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi, where he is promptly knocked unconscious by three passing trucks and taken to an animal shelter.

Meanwhile, Lilo Pelekai, an unruly and socially outcast child, struggles to fit in and constantly gets in trouble with her older sister and guardian, Nani. A social worker named Cobra Bubbles expresses increasing concern that Nani has not been able to take adequate care of Lilo and gives her three days to prove she can take good care of Lilo. Seeking a change, Nani decides that she will allow Lilo to adopt a dog and they go to the animal shelter, where Lilo immediately takes a keen interest in 626, who is impersonating a dog in order to escape. Lilo names 626 "Stitch" and shows him around the island. Stitch's antics cause Nani to lose her job, which lands her in trouble with Cobra, who tells her he cannot ignore her being jobless. Upon meeting Stitch, Cobra also orders Lilo to turn him into a "model citizen." As Nani attempts to find a new job, Lilo tries educating Stitch about Elvis Presley, whom she calls a "model citizen". Despite this, however, Stitch's antics, which include foiling Jumba and Pleakley's attempts to capture him, ruin Nani's chances of getting a job every time.

David, a friend of Nani's, invites Nani and Lilo to take a break and enjoy a day of surfing. While Nani, Lilo, and Stitch ride on a huge wave, Jumba makes one final effort to capture Stitch from underwater, causing Nani to wipe out, and Stitch unintentionally pulls Lilo down with him. Although everyone gets safely to shore, Cobra witnesses this unfortunate event, telling Nani that although she means well, Lilo's best interests mean she has to be placed in foster care. That night, after seeing how much trouble he has caused, Stitch leaves. Meanwhile, the Councilwoman, having lost patience with Jumba and Pleakley, fires the duo from their mission and reassigns it to Captain Gantu, inadvertently freeing Jumba to pursue Stitch by using instant but very dangerous capture methods.

The next morning, David tells Nani of a job opportunity, which Nani rushes to pursue. Stitch, hiding in the nearby woods, encounters Jumba, who chases Stitch back to Lilo's house. The two fight, destroying the house in the process. Cobra arrives before Nani can return, attempting to take Lilo away. As Nani and Cobra argue, Lilo runs away and encounters Stitch, who reveals his true form just moments before they are abducted by Gantu. Stitch escapes as the ship takes off, with Lilo still aboard. As Stitch tries to explain everything to Nani, he is captured by Jumba and Pleakley. Nani demands that they had better rescue Lilo, but Jumba states that they can't, as they're only there for Stitch. Nani breaks down over losing her sister, but Stitch manages to tell Nani about ʻohana, a term for "family" that he learned from Lilo. After convincing Jumba to help rescue Lilo, Jumba, Pleakley and Nani give chase in Jumba's spaceship. Meanwhile, Stitch hijacks a tanker truck full of gasoline and drives it into a volcano, using the explosion to launch himself into Gantu's cockpit, distracting Gantu enough to crash-land the ship and rescue Lilo.

Back on land, the Grand Councilwoman arrives and fires Gantu from his job. As Stitch is being taken into custody, he explains that he has found a family in Nani and Lilo. Seeing that Stitch has become a civilized creature, the Councilwoman has trouble with incarcerating Stitch again. At the advice of Cobra, Lilo shows her the adoption paper for Stitch, declaring she owns him and that taking him would be theft. The Councilwoman, before leaving, decrees that Stitch will be exiled on Earth and entrusted into the care of Lilo and Nani, and asks Cobra, who reveals himself to be a former CIA agent who previously convinced the Federation that mosquitoes were an endangered species (which was why Pleakley became obsessed with mosquitoes), to keep an eye on them. Together with Jumba and Pleakley, whom were purposely left behind, the house is rebuilt, and the two happily become members of Lilo and Stitch's family as well.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

A 1985 concept sketch of Stitch by creator Chris Sanders

Production of Lilo & Stitch began with then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner deciding that, in the wake of a number of high-profile and large-budget Disney animated features during the mid-1990s, the studio might try its hand at a smaller and less expensive film.[3] The idea was inspired by the production of Dumbo, an economically-made 1941 Walt Disney film produced in the wake of the more expensive Pinocchio and Fantasia. Chris Sanders, a head storyboard artist at Disney Feature Animation, was approached to pitch an idea. Sanders had created the character of Stitch in 1985 for an unsuccessful children's book pitch, and developed a treatment for an animated feature featuring the character.[3] The story line required a remote, non-urban location, so the movie was originally intended to take place in Kansas.[4] Sanders's decision to change the film's setting to the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi was an important choice in defining the plot more clearly. No other animated feature had ever taken place on any of the Hawaiian islands before.[4] In Sanders's words:

Animation has been set so much in ancient, medieval Europe — so many fairy tales find their roots there, that to place it in Hawaiʻi was kind of a big leap. But that choice went to color the entire movie, and rewrite the story for us.

Writing[edit]

Dean DeBlois, who had co-written Mulan (1998) with Sanders, was brought on to co-write and co-direct Lilo & Stitch, while Disney executive Clark Spencer was assigned to produce. Unlike several previous and concurrent Disney Feature Animation productions, the Lilo & Stitch pre-production team remained relatively small and isolated from upper management until the film went into full production.[5] The character and set designs were based upon Chris Sanders's personal artistic style.[3]

While the animation team visited Kauaʻi to research the locale, their tour guide explained the meaning of ʻohana as it applies to extended families. This concept of ʻohana became an important part of the movie. DeBlois recalls:

No matter where we went, our tour guide seemed to know somebody. He was really the one who explained to us the Hawaiian concept of ʻohana, a sense of family that extends far beyond your immediate relatives. That idea so influenced the story that it became the foundation theme, the thing that causes Stitch to evolve despite what he was created to do, which is destroy.

The island of Kauaʻi had previously been featured in such films as Raiders of the Lost Ark and those from the Jurassic Park trilogy. The Disney animators faced the daunting task of meshing the film's plot, which showed the impoverished and dysfunctional life that many Hawaiians lived during the then-recent economic downturn, with the island's serene beauty. The actors voicing the film's young adults Nani and David, Tia Carrere, a native of Honolulu, and Jason Scott Lee, who was raised in Hawaii, assisted with rewriting the Hawaiian characters' dialogue in the proper colloquial dialect and adding Hawaiian slang.

One innovative and unique aspect of the film was its strong focus on the relationship between two sisters, Lilo and Nani. Making the relationship between sisters into a major plot element is very rare in American animated films.[6]:13

Design and animation[edit]

In a deviation from several decades' worth of Disney features, Sanders and DeBlois chose to use watercolor painted backgrounds for Lilo & Stitch, as opposed to the traditional gouache technique.[3] While watercolors had been used for the early Disney animated shorts, as well as the early Disney features Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), and Dumbo (1941), the technique had been largely abandoned by the mid-1940s in favor of less complicated media such as gouache. Sanders preferred that watercolors be used for Lilo & Stitch to evoke both the bright look of a storybook and the art direction of Dumbo, requiring the background artists to be trained in working with the medium.[3] The character designs were based around Sanders's personal drawing style, eschewing the traditional Disney house style.[3] The film's extraterrestrial elements, such as the spaceships, were designed to resemble marine life, such as whales and crabs.[7]

Marketing[edit]

Teaser trailers for this film parody trailers for other Disney films (two of these were animated by Sanders) from the Disney Renaissance: Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Lion King. These are called "Inter-Stitch-als" and are featured on Disney's official site as well as on the film's respective DVD release. The original actors were brought back to reprise their roles and were shocked when asked to act negatively towards Stitch. The trailers also include the AC/DC song track "Back in Black." In the United Kingdom, Lilo & Stitch trailers and TV ads featured a cover of Elvis' song "Suspicious Minds", performed by Gareth Gates, who became famous on the UK TV program Pop Idol. As a promotional campaign, comics of Lilo & Stitch were run in Disney Adventures prior to the film's release. The comics detailed events leading up to the film for both title characters, including the creation and escape of Stitch. These events were later contradicted by the sequel Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch rendering the comics non-canonical, but is notable to the series as introducing Experiment 625, Reuben, who was made a main character in the subsequent movies and TV series. The comic series has been released as a collective volume titled Comic Zone Volume 1: Lilo & Stitch.

Deleted scenes[edit]

Several major elements of the film changed during production. Originally, Stitch was the leader of an intergalactic gang, and Jumba was one of his former cronies summoned by the Intergalactic Council to capture Stitch.[3] Test audience response to early versions of the film resulted in the change of Stitch and Jumba's relationship to that of creation and creator, respectively.[3] The biggest change came to the film's third act, which had Stitch, Nani, Jumba and Pleakley hijacking a Boeing 747 jet from Lihue Airport and flying it through downtown Honolulu to save Lilo. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, this sequence was revised so that Stitch instead flew a spaceship through the mountains of Kauaʻi. This revision was done primarily by replacing the CGI model of the 747 with that of Jumba's spaceship, with only a few shots in the sequence fully re-animated.[3] Another scene that was deleted was one of Lilo's attempts to make Stitch into a model citizen by notifying tourists on the beach about the tsunami warning sirens, which she knows are being tested that day. The original version of Jumba attacking Stitch in Lilo's home was found to be too violent by test audiences, and was revised to make it more comedic. There was also a scene in which Lilo introduces Stitch to Pudge the fish, which ultimately leads to the fish's death. Lilo then takes Pudge's body to the same graveyard where her parents were buried, and thus Stitch learns the consequences of his actions and gains a better understanding of mortality. A scene was removed where Nani brings Lilo pizza and then Lilo tells herself a bedtime story about a friendly and stinky bear named Toaster. It was replaced with the scene where Lilo and Nani talk about being family because test audiences had mistaken Nani for Lilo's mother. The trial scene originally had Stitch as the defendant, and Jumba is not present. This was changed because of the film directors thought Intergalactic Council had to blame him for creating Stitch.

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film opened in second place with $35.3 million in its first weekend, less than $500,000 behind the film Minority Report. In its second week it fell to third, again behind the Steven Spielberg film coming in second. The film earned $145.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $127.3 million internationally, totaling $273.1 million globally.[1] Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 53 million tickets during its original run.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Lilo & Stitch met a positive reception. The 145 critical reviews the film has received on the site Rotten Tomatoes give it a positive total rating of 86%. The site's consensus reads, "Edgier than traditional Disney fare, Lilo and Stitch explores issues of family while providing a fun and charming story."[9] The film has also earned a score of 73 on Metacritic.[10] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4 and wrote "It's one of the most charming feature-length cartoons of recent years—funny, sassy, startling, original and with six songs by Elvis".[11] The film's success spawned a Lilo & Stitch franchise, with three direct-to-video sequels and a television series spanning two seasons.

Peter M. Nichols states that through the character of Nani and her struggles, the film appeals to older children better than such attempts by the studio to do so as The Emperor's New Groove, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Treasure Planet.[12]

Home video[edit]

The film was released on VHS and DVD on December 3, 2002.[13] In 2009, a special 2-disc DVD "Big Wave Edition" was announced featuring a making-of documentary, more deleted scenes including the original climax with the plane hijacking, a number of behind-the-scenes featurettes, and some games.[14] The film was released on Blu-ray on June 11, 2013 in a 2-Movie Collection with Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch.[15]

Soundtrack[edit]

Lilo & Stitch
Lilo & Stitch (soundtrack album - cover art).jpg
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released June 11, 2002
Recorded 2001-2002
Genre Rock, country rock, pop
Length 34:47
Label Walt Disney
Producer Chris Montan (executive)
Lilo & Stitch music chronology
Lilo & Stitch
(2002)
Lilo & Stitch 2: Island Favorites
(2006)
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
(2001)
Lilo & Stitch
(2002)
Treasure Planet
(2002)
Singles from Lilo & Stitch
  1. "Can't Help Falling in Love"
    Released: October 29, 2002
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[16]

Lilo & Stitch: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack is the soundtrack to Disney's 2002 animated feature Lilo & Stitch. It contains two original songs from the film written by Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu and Alan Silvestri (the film composer), and performed by Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu and the Kamehameha Schools children's chorus. Also contains five songs by American singer Elvis Presley, and two of his songs re-recorded by American singer Wynonna ("Burning Love"), British singer Gareth Gates ("Suspicious Minds", UK release) and Swedish group A*Teens ("Can't Help Falling in Love"). It was released by Walt Disney Records on June 11, 2002 on Audio CD and Compact Cassette.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Performer Length
1. "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride"   Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu, The Kamehameha Schools Children's Chorus 3:28
2. "Stuck on You"   Elvis Presley 2:25
3. "Burning Love"   Wynonna 3:10
4. "Suspicious Minds"   Elvis Presley 3:23
5. "Heartbreak Hotel"   Elvis Presley 2:13
6. "(You're the) Devil in Disguise"   Elvis Presley 2:30
7. "He Mele No Lilo"   Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu, The Kamehameha Schools Children's Chorus 2:28
8. "Hound Dog"   Elvis Presley 2:27
9. "Can't Help Falling in Love"   A*Teens 3:07
10. "Stitch to the Rescue (score)"   Alan Silvestri 5:57
11. "You Can Never Belong (score)"   Alan Silvestri 3:56
12. "I'm Lost (score)"   Alan Silvestri 4:43

Charts[edit]

Chart (2002) Peak
position
US Billboard 200 11
US Billboard Top Soundtracks 1

Sequels[edit]

On August 26, 2003, Disney released a direct-to-video sequel, Stitch! The Movie, which served as the pilot to a TV series titled Lilo & Stitch: The Series. This series ran for 65 episodes between September 20, 2003 and July 29, 2006. The series carried on where the film left off and charted Lilo and Stitch's efforts to capture and rehabilitate Jumba's remaining experiments. This series almost ended with TV movie Leroy & Stitch, which was released on June 27, 2006.

On August 30, 2005, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, the "official" direct-to-video sequel to the film, was released. In this film (set between the first and second films), Stitch has a glitch because his molecules were never fully charged (this is contrary to an alternate opening, "Stitch's trial", which was seen on the DVD release of Lilo & Stitch). Lilo wants to win the May Day hula contest like her mother did in the 1970s, but Stitch continues to have outbursts. Lilo gets increasingly mad at Stitch as his glitch causes more problems for her and ruins her chances of winning the competition. She thinks Stitch is not cooperating properly, until she finds out that Stitch is dying.

In March 2008, Disney announced a reimagined version of Lilo & Stitch, titled Stitch!, aimed at the Japanese market. The anime, which began in October 2008, features a Japanese girl named Yuna (formerly referred to as Hanako) in place of Lilo, and is set on a fictional island in Okinawa Prefecture instead of Hawaii. This series was produced by Madhouse and later Shin-Ei Animation.

Video games[edit]

There were two official games released to coincide with the film, Disney's Lilo & Stitch for the PlayStation and the Game Boy Advance and Disney's Stitch: Experiment 626 for the PlayStation 2. Stitch is also a summonable character in Kingdom Hearts II and appears along with his homeworld in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep for the PlayStation Portable. Lilo and Stitch both appear in the Nintendo 3DS game Disney Magical World and its sequel. Stitch is also a playable character in the Disney Infinity series from the second game, Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, onwards. He was also a meet and greet character in Kinect: Disneyland Adventures.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Lilo & Stitch". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  2. ^ "Amazon.com: Lilo and Stitch". 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Story Room: The Making of 'Lilo & Stitch' (DVD). Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Home Entertainment. 2005. 
  4. ^ a b Davis, Pat (April–May 2002). "Disney Goes Hawaiian". Hana Hou! 5 (2). 
  5. ^ Moore, Roger (2009-04-01). "Lilo & Stitch, Disney Feature Animation Florida's finest hour--remembered (originally published as "For Disney's Orlando animators, it's show time!" on 2002-06-16)". Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Florida: Tribune Company). 
  6. ^ Solomon, Charles (2013). The Art of Frozen. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-1-4521-1716-4. 
  7. ^ Gilland, Joseph (2009). Elemental Magic: The Art of Special Effects Animation. Focal Press (Elsevier, Inc.). p. 256. ISBN 978-0-240-81163-5. 
  8. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=main&id=lilostitch.html
  9. ^ "Lilo & Stitch (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Lilo & Stitch". Metacritic. Retrieved January 7, 2012. 
  11. ^ http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/lilo-and-stitch-2002
  12. ^ Nichols, Peter M. (2003). The New York Times Essential Library: Children's Movies. New York: Henry Holt and Company. pp. 152–154. ISBN 0-8050-7198-9. 
  13. ^ Godfrey, Leigh (December 3, 2002). "Lilo, Walt And Mickey Join My Neighbor Totoro On DVD". Animation World Network. Retrieved May 2, 2015. 
  14. ^ Cedeno, Kelvin (May 26, 2003). "Lilo & Stitch DVD Revie". UltimateDisney.com. Retrieved May 2, 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Emperor's New Groove, Lilo & Stich, [sic] Atlantis 2-Movie Collections in June (Pre-orders Up)". Blu-ray.com. March 23, 2013. Retrieved May 2, 2015. 
  16. ^ Lilo & Stitch at AllMusic

External links[edit]