family movie review


(c) 2002 by Donna Schwartz Mills

Distributor:Walt Disney Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG (for "mild sci-fi action")
Mom Rating: 4 out of 5
Kid Rating: 4 out of 5
Voice Cast: Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere, Chris Sanders, Ving Rhames, David Ogden Stiers, Kevin McDonald, Jason Scott Lee, Kevin Michael Richardson, Zoe Caldwell

Stitch is a little monster - an alien genetic experiment created with one purpose: to destroy everything he sees. And he's been unleashed to an unsuspecting Earth - where a little Hawaiian girl named Lilo mistakes him for a dog and adopts him as a pet. An orphan who is being raised by an older sister, Lilo acts out at home and at school and is in danger of being put into foster care.

At first glance, this doesn't sound like the conventional subject matter of a major animated Disney film. There are no princesses, no animal sidekicks and no evil villains. The characters do not break into song (although Lilo is a fan of Elvis Presley and there is a liberal sprinkling of Presley classics).

But "Lilo and Stitch" evokes several Disney traditions: From its old-fashioned animation (nary a computer image in sight) to its water color backgrounds, not seen in a Disney film since 1941's "Dumbo." It shares something else with everyone's favorite flying elephant: an original story, not based on fairy tales, fables or other well known material.

And the theme of the story is the most traditional of all: The importance of family, which Lilo and Stitch come to understand in a most comedic manner.

This is a very funny movie. There are plenty of sight gags for the kids and sly pop culture references for the adults. I loved the secondary characters, like the hapless aliens sent to Earth to capture Stitch, who must blend in with the natives (not easy since one has four eyes and the other has just one). I especially enjoyed the menacing social worker, who resembles Ving Rhames (and was voiced by him) and whose name is Cobra…Bubbles.

None of these characters is evil - all are just trying to do the right thing, with hilarious results.

Our gang of kindergarteners thoroughly enjoyed this film, as did my husband, who usually complains when I drag him to "kids' movies." The 3-year-olds in our group also thought it was fun, although a scary chase using space craft did cause them to crawl on their mommys' laps.

Some parents might take exception to the bratty things Lilo does at the beginning of the movie, when she is definitely acting out some anger (we later learn that Lilo's parents were killed in an auto accident)… but she does suffer consequences from them and through her relationship with Stitch, grows through the course of the film. Both characters end the movie with an appreciation of family and the power of love - and I cannot think of any better message than that.


Donna Schwartz Mills took film classes in college and spent 13 years working in the entertainment industry before "retiring" to marry a "non-pro" (Variety's term for anyone in any other business) and become a mom. Today, she's lucky if she can attend two "R" rated films per year -- but she feeds her movie habit by dragging her little girl to every family film that comes out, often on opening day. Donna is Webmaster Mommy of, a new resource for moms in Southern California. She is also the work-at-home expert behind the and editor/owner of This article provided by the Family Content Archives at:









(c) 2003 Caton Development, Inc.

family movie guide