Friday’s movie pick

This weekend’s choice is a personal favorite, and one of my favorite animated movies of all time, Lilo & Stitch.

Released in 2002, this Disney movie was meant to be on the small side in animation – no major special effects, very old-fashioned looking with watercolor backgrounds (a technique not used since the 1940’s), and had a very simple marketing campaign. It was released the same weekend as the Spielberg blockbuster “Minority Report” and literally tied for first place with that movie. What made Lilo & Stitch so popular? It has a heart. I cried in the theater watching it for the first time – and nearly every time since.

Lilo is a six-year-old Hawaiian girl who lives with her sister after the death of their parents. She doesn’t really fit in, has an overactive imagination and a passion for Elvis Presley. In desperation, her sister allows her to adopt a dog – at least, what they think is a dog. Stitch is a escaped genetic experiment from outer space who crash-landed on Kauai and is on the run from his captors – however, he ends up in a dog pound and gets adopted by Lilo, who is determined to keep this new pet and make him good. Stitch is adorable with an edge – he looks like a demented blue koala – and Lilo is sweet, but incredibly stubborn with a knack for getting into trouble. The story is fast-paced (it takes place over a few days), the characters are hilarious and touching at the same time, and I showed it to the Munchkin last night and she was glued to it.

It is rated PG for some “mild sci-fi violence” but not enough to truly scare any children, in my opinion. Some parents have objected to the movie because of Lilo’s disobedience and Stitch’s bad behavior – but that behavior ends up having consequences every time. What is harder to explain to children is Lilo’s orphaned status – her parents died in a car accident. Though Lilo has no parents, she does have people who care about her and look out for her, and that would be the thing to emphasize to small kids.

If Disney would just look for good stories like this one, there would be more good movies and less bombs like “Treasure Planet” (which came out later that year and was meant to be the big-budget animation film of the year and tanked horribly at the box office). It isn’t all glitz and special effects, people.

Have a good weekend – Mariners play the White Sox this weekend. Hopefully they sweep them just like they did the Royals!

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