Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Lilo and Stitch


One of the few Disney features to be set in the present day. It’s also in an interesting and exotic setting: Hawaii. (Or, I notice that these days we’re supposed to spell it Hawai’i. Well, why not? I have to admire a language with only seven consonants, which includes words like Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa.) Teenager Nani and her younger sister Lilo have been recently orphaned, and a social worker (a hulking, scary man named Cobra Bubbles, voiced coldly but menacingly by Ving Rhames) is threatening to take Lilo away. Meanwhile, in a far distant corner of the universe, the Galactic Council has confiscated a monster named 626, about the size of a Pekinese but even uglier and more vicious, and nearly indestructible to boot. They exile the monster, but he escapes to Earth. They are going to destroy the planet but an agent, Wendy Pleakley, steps forward and says you can’t do that, it’s the home of the endangered mosquito. So he and the monster’s creator, four-eyed Dr. Jumba Jookiba (who speaks with a Boris Badenov accent), are sent to retrieve 626, who has been mistaken for a dog. Lilo adopts 626 and names him Stitch and eventually shows him the error of his genetically-programmed ways; his purpose is basically to destroy cities, like a miniscule Godzilla.
This is a delightful SF comic adventure. A lot of the fun is in the details. When the first mosquito lands on Pleakley he is delighted to see this rarity. When ten thousand skeeters land on him he is a bit less pleased. Later Agent Bubbles reveals he was a CIA agent (obviously modeled on Men in Black) and once convinced the Federation that the mosquito was endangered, thus saving the Earth. There’s a lot of that sort of sly humor. The love/war relationship between the two sisters works, and the series of disasters wrought by Stitch on his way to becoming sympathetic are funny. The movie was very popular, and spun off two DTV sequels and a TV series, and a few years ago a Japanese anime version. I think I’ll skip that one.