Tuesday, October 19, 2010

DAF #50 - Lilo & Stitch (2002)

"Thus far, you have been adrift in the sheltered harbor of my patience."
Cobra Bubbles

My dear friend Andrew over at Diversion 2.0 whole-heartedly ripped me off by doing a blog series on the 50 (and counting!) Disney Animated Features. I can’t blame him because my series has been collecting dust for quite awhile now. And just like I inspired him, he inspired me to my ass in gear. He is choosing his order randomly while I, who has watched the canon many times, have had the opportunity to rank. So I will be going in ascending order from worst to best. So let’s begin at the very bottom of my barrel with Lilo & Stitch.

I will never forget my first introduction to this movie. I was in the theater on a school trip when I heard the familiar music of my favorite movie. There, on the big screen, was Belle and the Beast dancing to their theme song. Then the camera panned to this giant blue bug crawling on the ceiling. It climbs onto the chandelier causing it to crash to floor, effectively ruining one of the most romantic scenes in cinema history. Belle storms off angrily (and uncharacteristically). Then we jump into a regular trailer with AC/DC's "Back in Black" under scoring.

There was bad blood between me and Lilo & Stitch from the very beginning. Needless to say, I avoided seeing it until the very last moment when I marathoned the canon with my friend Karen back in 2006.

The film begins in space (oh God) at the Galactic Federation Headquarters on Planet Turo. Dr. Jumba Jookiba (David Ogden Stiers...oh, how the mighty have fallen) is on trial for genetic manipulation. It's revealed that he created a super monster that is programmed to destroy everything it encounters. Experiment 626 is sentenced to exile (instead of death). But he escapes into hyperspace and crash lands on Earth, specifically Hawaii. Dr. Jumba and his Jar Jarian assistant Pleakley (Kevin McDonald) are sent to Earth to exterminate 626 before he destroys the planet.

Meanwhile, we meet Lilo (Daveigh Chase), an eccentric little girl who late for hula lessons. She's quirky. She brings Pudge the Fish a peanut butter sandwich because he controls the weather. She's quirky. At hula lessons, another girls calls Lilo "crazy" and is then ATTACKED. Lilo is kicked out of class and walks home alone instead of waiting for her sister, Nani (Tia Carrerre). Lilo locks herself in the house and listens to Elvis records. QUIRKY.

Leave me alone to die.

To make matters worse, social worker Cobra Bubbles (Ving Rhames) comes to inspect the house and plans to return in three days to see if Nani has cleaned up her act. Lilo doesn't help matters by lying about being punished with a pillowcase full of bricks. QuIrKY!!!!

So what's the next logical step when you have three days to organize your life or lose custody of your sister? Get a pet! Nani lets Lilo choose adopt a dog from the pound. But instead she picks 626 and names him Stitch (Chris Sanders). As you can imagine, HILARIOUS HIJINKS occur. Things unravel at an alarming pace. But don't worry, there's time for Elvis and surfing!

Damn it, I HATE this movie. And to keep myself reasonably calm, I'll put all my reasons in a nice, convenient list.

  1. Lilo. She's a freaky, mentally disturbed brat. Quirky does not equal likable or even interesting. Yeah, she lost her parents...SO DID EVERY OTHER DISNEY CHILD EVER. I don't see Bambi performing voo doo. 
  2. Stitch. He's a Jar Jar. He has an irritating voice. He's gross. He's destructive. He's not necessarily stupid but he causes trouble for everyone. How is that cute? Please tell me teen girls of America, how in the fuck is that cute??? 
  3. Nani. She's an idiot. When you have three days to fix your life, do not add one more responsibility to the list. She enabled this whole situation. 
  4. Space. Yes, I like Star Wars. And yes, I even like other Disney films that incorporate Sci-Fi elements (Atlantis, Treasure Planet). But there's something about this uber-cartoony outer space that I don't like. It's too corny and almost making a joke of itself. 
  5. Hawaii. I'm not one those girls with hibiscus flowers all over my room and car. Hawaii has never been a romantic place for me and I feel Disney movies should have a kind of fantastical, romantic aura. Which leads to... 
  6. Present day setting. Certainly Lilo & Stitch is not the first (or last) Disney movie set in "the present" but typically, those rank lower on my list. Hawaii would be a fine setting if it was historical, but with the touristy place that Nani works at, the Elvis soundtrack and the surfing, it just sucks the magic out of the movie. 
In conclusion, a movie with two unlikable protagonists + Hawaii + space = a movie Jordyn hates. i know this movie has its fans and if you are one, you are welcome to your opinion. I just hate movies built around characters like these. In the early 00's, Disney was drowning and luckily, Lilo & Stitch was their Carpathia. So, in a way, I'm thankful...but I still hate the fucking thing.

Rated: PG (for mild sci-fi action)
Run Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Based on: Original story
Setting: Present day (circa 2002) Hawaii

First Viewing: Summer of 2006 during my first epic DAF marathon on VHS.

"He Mele No Lilo" - Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu and the Kamehameha Schools Children's Choir
"Heartbreak Hotel" - Elvis Presley
"Stuck on You" - Elvis Presley
"Suspicious Minds" - Elvis Presley
"Devil in Disguise" - Elvis Presley
"Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" - Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu and the Kamehameha Schools Children's Choir
"Until We Meet Again" - Tia Carrerre
"Hound Dog" - Elvis Presley
"Hunka Hunka Burning Love" - Wynonna
"I Can't Help Falling in Love" - A*Teen (End credits)

Favorite Song: "Until We Meet Again" - Tia Carrerre

Favorite Moment: Nani and Lilo say goodbye. This is actually the only part of this movie I like! When the outlook is bleak and Lilo is to be taken by social services in the morning, she and Nani sing "Until We Meet Again" with the hope that they will be reunited in the future.

Favorite Character: David (Dave Kawena), a waiter who repeatedly asks out Nani. (He's the least of the ass hats.)

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