My favorite cartoon is Lilo & Stitch. Not the Pokemon-like TV series, which I’ve never seen, but the original movie.
It’s just so happy-making. Like most Disney movies, it’s about family. Toddler Lilo and her older sister Nani have been orphaned, and as a result, Nani’s overwhelmed and Lilo’s acting out. Unlike most Disney movies, the adult role model is female. (Ever notice how many missing moms there are in cartoons? Apparently the Aladdin extras talk about how Princess Jasmine was supposed to break this mold and have both parents, but they removed her mother to cut costs, because each main character costs more in design and animation and voice.)
Anyway, I love the look of the characters. They’re not waif-thin and the sister isn’t excessively hourglass. Instead, she’s got a strong, attractive body, with powerful thighs, the better to surf with. Everyone’s emotions are understandable, complex, and well-voiced.
And then there’s Stitch. He’s the alien mutant, bred to be a weapon, who pretends to be Lilo’s dog in order to hide out. (When they go to the pound, all the other dogs are cowering in fear.) He’s hilarious in his demented creativity. His mission is to destroy large cities, and he hates water, so when he lands on an island with no urban areas, he goes a little crazy.
This all leads up to the best line of the movie. Alien bounty hunters have come to capture Stitch, and between them, they’re destroying Lilo’s home. She tries to call for help while watching the fight, only to report “Oh good! My dog found the chainsaw!” And the beauty is, you believe yes, it is a good thing for a destructive alien pet to have power tools.
Then there’s the setting — gorgeous Hawaii, as seen by natives. The culture is apparently quite realistic, due to help from voice actors Tia Carrere and Jason Scott Lee, who are from the islands. The surfing scenes are beautiful. Plus, the Elvis soundtrack, mixed with gorgeous modern hulu songs, is energetic. All in all, it’s a wonderful ride.
The best praise I can give it is that, right after we watched it the other night, I wanted to immediately watch it again. It’s funny and charming and not too sappy and has a bit of bite. Even if I do cry when Stitch says “This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.”