When my son was about three, he was obsessed with Lilo & Stitch. Fortunately for him, it’s one of my favorite Disney flicks, so I had no problem watching it repeatedly.
What’s great about this film is there’s something for everyone: aliens, family, rescues, beautiful scenery, and Elvis.
The main (human) characters don’t fall into typical Disney prototypes. Rather than fair skin and tiny waists, Lilo and her sister Nani (Tia Carrere) are normal sized women of Polynesian descent. Their relationship is far from perfect, as young-adult Nani struggles to care for her young sister after their parents pass away, but their love for each other shines through the entire movie.
Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind — or forgotten. ~ Lilo
The characters must own the consequences of their actions, and they’ve all shown growth by the end – even Bubbles (Ving Rhames) and Jumba (David Ogden Stiers).
The music is perfection. While I would never claim to be a fan of Elvis, the use of his music works well. The song played over the opening credits “He Mele No Lilo” is a wonderful introduction to the main story, the song “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” just makes me happy, and Nani singing “Aloha Oe” to Lilo is beautifully heartbreaking.
The filmmakers did a great job at highlighting the beauty of Hawai’i – the water color style backgrounds are stunning. The also showcased some of the culture with the hula and fire performances, including a nod to the Merrie Monarch Festival. Voice actors Tia Carrere and Jason Scott Lee, both natives of Hawai’i helped rewrite the dialogue so it would more accurately represent local dialects.
Spend 105 minutes watching this movie (with or without kids), you won’t regret it.