A Second Look: Lilo & Stitch

Updated on May 12, 2016
Film Frenzy profile image

Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.


In 2002, Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois released Lilo & Stitch, Disney’s 42nd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. Starring Sanders, Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere, David Ogden Stiers, Kevin McDonald, Ving Rhames, Kevin Michael Richardson, Zoe Caldwell, Jason Scott Lee, Amy Hill and Susan Hagerty, the film grossed $273.1 million at the box office. Nominated for multiple awards, including the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film, and the Annie Awards for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Theatrical Feature, Outstanding Character Animation, Outstanding Character Design in an Animated Feature Production, Outstanding Direction in an Animated Feature Production, Outstanding Effects Animation, Outstanding Music in an Animated Feature Production, Outstanding Production Design in an Animated Feature Production, and Outstanding Writing in an Animated Feature Production, it won multiple awards as well including the Annie Award for Outstanding Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production and the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role – Age 10 or Under.


When the alien mad scientist Dr. Jumba Jookiba stands trial for an illegally created life form, his creation is taken into custody to be destroyed. Along the way, the creation, Experiment 626, escapes and finds himself on earth, taken in and adopted by Lilo, who thinks he’s a dog. Now, Jumba and the United Galactic Federation’s earth expert Pleakly must track down Experiment 626, who Lilo has named Stitch, and bring him back.


Though a weird concept, Lilo & Stitch is a great film that really defines what it means to be a family. Experiment 626 crashes to earth not long after Lilo’s parents have died meaning that she has to be raised by her older sister Nani. As a result, the two of them are left with a fractured relationship and the fact that the first impression they gave the social worker wasn’t all that great doesn’t help things. At the same time, Stitch is a created experiment with a mad scientist being the closest thing he has to a father or family until he becomes Lilo’s dog. Both Lilo and Stitch learn from each other, the former how difficult it can be to care for someone or something and the latter understands the concept of family through a beautiful scene when Nani is singing to Lilo. Stitch’s understanding of family culminates with the idea of “ohana,” a Hawaiian concept that family means no one is left behind or forgotten. The concept is taken to its furthest reaches when Stitch is able to escape the Galactic Federation taking him and Lilo and he’s able to unite himself, Jumba, Pleakley, and Nani to rescue her. For failing to capture Stitch, Jumba and Pleakley are forced to stay on Earth and they actually turn into quite the family. It demonstrates the film’s core concept that a family doesn’t have to look or be conventional to be a family.

Lilo is even great as a character, with the film making her into an understandable and relatable child character as opposed to an annoying or whiny little girl. She doesn’t have a lot of friends because she’s a bit eccentric and misunderstood. However, the film goes beyond just showing that she’s weird, rather demonstrating that her quirks are what make her who she is. She’s not only obsessed with Elvis Presley’s music, but also enjoys photography which showcases her intense imagination. Couple both of those with her hyperactivity and it’s no wonder that Nani struggles with being her guardian.

Jumba and Pleakley are two pretty great characters are as well, considering that the two are a good duo with Jumba being the straight man to the humor that comes from Pleakely, such as him getting sucked dry by mosquitos and thinking it’s an honor. However, it’s from Jumba where one of the most philosophical lines in the film comes. He’s watching Stitch through binoculars and wondering what happens to his experiment when there’s nothing left to destroy as it would void the necessity of his existence, also thinking what it must feel like to be a creation with no memories to visit in the middle of the night. It’s a bit of a throwaway line in the middle of the film, but it does raise an interesting point as to what makes us who we are and what defines our personalities.

The film has some interesting art as well, with all of the backgrounds being done in watercolor. It’s not a medium that’s done a whole lot in films and since this one is set in Hawaii, it really immerses the viewer into the story

Notably, this film was released in the time following what’s known as the Disney Renaissance, a time when not a whole lot of the company’s films were matching the quality and grandeur of those released during that era. This one did though and is certainly one of the best films to come out of that period.

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinion

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)