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Lilo and Stitch

Elvis would be proud.

After years of being dropped into some of the worst movies of all time (3000 Miles to Graceland comes to mind) he is finally associated with a truly wonderful film-going experience- the Genetically-Created Intergalactic Destruction Machine / Hawaiian Orphan Animated Romp, Lilo and Stitch.

Lilo is a young girl who lives with her older sister. She is a moody, troubled, unpopular loner who drowns her sorrows by listening to The King on her record player. Stitch is a disaster-in-waiting who escapes from an intergalactic prison and crash lands on the lowly, backwater world known as Earth. While the rest of the galaxy suggests simply blowing Earth to smithereens to be rid of Stitch once and for all, cooler heads remind everyone that Earth is a protected wildlife refuge, as the only known home of the endangered species, the mosquito. Likewise, it is unacceptable to openly disrupt the lives of the dominant species of Earth, known as Humans, because they are a vital link in the food chain of said endangered species, the mosquito.

Naturally, Lilo and Stitch eventually hook up when Lilo adopts Stitch at the local dog pound as a mean-tempered, blue-colored dog.

It just gets sillier from there.

Lilo and Stitch is a touching, amusing story that warms the cockles and brings a smile to your lips. The only music is the occasional Elvis song, sung, more often than not, by Elvis on the record player. Rather than Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast, it brings to mind The Emperor's New Groove, an irreverent, silly, heart-warming flick that all could enjoy. And like Emperor's New Groove, you wonder how it slipped through the Disney cracks and got made. I mean, there's no doe-eyed heroine, no gut-wrenching love story, no Elton John or Andrew Lloyd Weber musical extravaganza, no real shot for this to turn into a Hit Broadway Musical--nothing. And yet, it's a great movie, and you sure wish Disney would make a few more of them like this one.

There are plenty of wonderful characters peppering the film like a fine culinary salad, but the draw is Stitch. Stitch is simply kickass. He spits, he drools, he barks, he impersonates Elvis. He's indestructible, incorrigible, and absolutely adorable. The kind of Archie Bunker anti-hero that you tend not to find in movies primarily aimed at four year olds.

But the kids love him. And the parents love him even more.

The voice cast rocks, from Ving Rhames to Tia Carrere to Kevin McDonald from Kids In The Hall, who really needs his own HBO special. Much of the movie is laugh out loud funny. The remainder is laugh in your coke funny or at least giggle through your nose funny. The sets and props are...well drawn.

What's especially refreshing is that the Hawaiian characters look Hawaiian. They aren't perfect images of Barbie beauty, they look like real people. How totally weird is that? And Hawaii comes off as a beautiful place to live, for a cartoon.

Basically, Lilo and Stitch deserves your patronage. Keep in mind, it is a cartoon and it is mainly aimed at kids. But there's a lot of good stuff packed in here that's gonna happily go over the kids' heads and dump straight into the adult's brain. And when your son or daughter looks at you strangely and asks "Why are you laughing?" just smile and say "Because it's funny."

Lilo and Stitch gets 4 1/4 Babylons. I for one can't wait for the direct-to-video sequel.

Editor's Note:

Does anyone else get shivers at the word "cockles"? Combined with the SMC, it's downright nauseating. Why?

Lilo and Stitch
Rated: PG
Directed By: Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders
Starring: The Voice Talent of Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere, Jason Scott Lee, Kevin McDonald, Ving Rhames, Chris Sanders and, as we've noted before, the contractually obligated inclusion of David Ogden Stiers.

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