Overview

Lilo & Stitch is a 2002 American animated science fiction/family film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released on June 21, 2002.

Storyline

In a place far, far away, illegal genetic experiment #626 is detected: Ruthless scientist Dr. Jumba Jookiba has created a strong, intelligent, nearly indestructible and aggressive being with only one known weakness: The high density of his body makes it impossible for the experiment to swim in water. The scientist is sentenced to jail by the Grand Council of the Galactic Federation. The experiment is supposed to be transported to a prison asteroid, yet manages to escape Captain Gantu, who was supposed to deliver him there. With a stolen police cruiser (the red one), the destructive being races towards a little and already doomed planet: Earth. Stranded on Hawaii, experiment #626 can’t actually do much harm: water all around, no big cities and two well-equipped representatives of the Galactic Federation already following close behind to catch him again. But Dr. Jookiba and the Earth expert Pleakley never could have guessed that earth girl Lilo adopts the experiment as dog…Written by Julian Reischl

Interesting facts

  • Disney promoted this movie with a series of trailers inserting Stitch into some of its “classic” titles. Examples:
    The Little Mermaid: Stitch surfs a wave that crashes down on Ariel.
    Beauty and the Beast: Stitch causes the chandelier to fall during the ballroom scene, nearly smashing Belle and the Beast
    Aladdin: Stitch steals Princess Jasmine from Aladdin during the “A Whole New World” magic carpet ride.
    The Lion King: Stitch takes Simba’s place on Pride Rock during the “Circle of Life” opening.
  • Hawaii-born cast members Jason Scott Lee and Tia Carrere helped the writers with dialog and accents.
  • Chris Sanders, one of the directors of the film, also served as co-screenwriter, co-character designer, and provided the voice of Stitch, a character he first created in 1985.
  • Earth is referred to as being in Section 17, Area “51″ in the Galactic charts, one of several references to Area 51.
  • When Lilo and Stitch walk past this store selling calendars with images from around the world, the “Orlando” calendar has a picture of the Magic Kingdom.
  • HIDDEN MICKEY: There are several “hidden Mickeys” in the movie – one can be seen in the Grand Council scene, on Jumba’s platform. Another can be seen as a logo on the shorts of one of Lilo’s photographic subjects on the wall of her room.
  • Near the beginning of the film, during the trial, Stich is asked by the council woman to provide some sign that he understands what’s going on. Stitch responds by licking the inside of his glass cage. The saliva trail is in the shape of the famous ‘D’ in the Walt Disney logo.
  • Almost all of the landscape scenes in the movie are recognizable locations in Hawaii. This is especially true earlier in the movie when Lilo and Stitch are riding the bike around the island, and also in the closing sequence.
  • The sign on Lilo’s door is the Hawaiian word “kapu”. It has cognates in other Polynesian languages, including Fijian “tabu” from which English “taboo” is borrowed. In context, it could be loosely translated as “Keep Out.”
  • Most of the license plates in the film (the fire engine, gas tanker, and Nani’s Beetle – but only at the end, not at “blue punch buggy” – plus one in Lilo’s room) are A113. The same as Mrs. Davis’s plate number in Toy Story, Mater’s plate number in Cars, and also used in many other Disney and Pixar films. It is a reference to a room number at California Institute of the Arts, where many of the animators at those two companies received their educations.
  • According to Stitch’s dog license at the shelter, the adoption official is “Susan Hegarty”, the name of the actress who voiced the character. Also, according to the license, Lilo and Nani’s last name is “Pelekai”. Other writing on the same license includes “as well as our partners at Disney MGM Studios for their participation and support during the making of Lilo and Stitch.”
  • “He Mele No Lilo” has caused debate regarding intellectual property rights. The “Mele” is a melding of two older chants to King David Kalakaua and Queen Lili’uokalani.
  • Although it uses computer-colored (but hand-drawn) digital cels instead of hand-painted ones, this was the first Disney animated feature to use watercolor-painted backgrounds since Dumbo. A conscious effort was made to give the film a warmer, more old-fashioned look than most other modern Disney films: this film does not use the “Deep Canvas” technique used in Tarzan, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, or Treasure Planet; it only contains about five shots which use either a “multiplane camera” or “3D camera” effect; and the use of tone mattes (shading/shadows on the characters) was kept to a minimum.
  • Near the end, the tracking image Captian Gantu uses to track the location of Stitch on Hawaii is the icon for the Disney theme park in Florida, EPCOT Center – Spaceship Earth.
  • The name “Lilo” means “Generous One” and its origin is Hawaiian. It can also be interpreted as “Lost” and this would give the song title “He Mele No Lilo” a loose translation as “Lullaby of the Lost”.
  • The name Nani means “Beautiful” in Hawaiian.
  • Running Gag: Every time Pleakley looks at or attempts to show someone information about Earth, the device used is a “Viewmaster”. Viewmasters create the illusion that the viewer is looking at a three-dimensional image that’s actually created by each eye looking at a slightly different pictures. Its basic premise is that the person looking in it has two eyes to create the effect, but Pleakley is a one-eyed creature and therefore would not see the 3-D effects of the Viewmaster. Adding to the gag is when he hands the ViewMaster to Dr. Jumba – a one-eyed alien handing an four-eyed alien a viewing device intended for two-eyed humans.
  • In order to capture the traditional Hawaiian dance form – the hula – correctly Disney took a camera crew to a renowned halau, a hula school. All of the introductory hula dance is modeled (though not rotoscoped) on sequences captured at the halau.
  • The experiment number for Stitch is “626″ which is an area code for the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California (Whether one of the writers for the movie lives or is from this area is not known).
  • The grocery store Nani tries to get a job at is owned by a “Mrs. Hasegawa”, a reference to the famous “Hasegawa’s General Store” in the town of Hana on Maui.
  • After Stitch breaks the water gun apart, Cobra is shown looking on disappointed, as a crowd of people run by in terror. The last two people to run by are cartoon versions of Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. Chris is the guy with blond hair and sunglasses. Dean is the big guy with a beard.
  • In the subtitles for the Chinese version, a line spoken by Stitch in his alien language is translated into Chinese despite it having no corresponding English meaning. The reason for this is thought to be because Stitch’s line sounded a lot like Ni Qu De (Go to your place) an offensive Chinese phrase used to tell somebody to go away. The actual Chinese translation was a lot more family friendly. The inclusion of this line show that Stitch is intelligent far earlier than in the English version. It also moves forward the first understandable dialog spoken by Stitch from the English version.
  • The voice of Stitch was a difficult one to dub for other languages and that’s why Dutch voice artist Bob Vanderhoven does the voice of Stitch in the Dutch, German, Flemish and Italian version of the film.
  • The original version of the flying chase scene at the end of the film involved Stitch and Jumba hijacking an airplane and chasing Gantu’s spaceship through Honolulu, crashing into buildings. The sequence was already animated and completed, but the whole chase was cut following the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001. The chase had to be re-written and drawn again (this time with spaceships flying through mountains and less populated vegetation), and the second version of the chase was is what is seen in the theatrical version.
  • Producer Clark Spencer has revealed the story was originally placed in an isolated town in Kansas rather than on Kauai.
  • During the ending credits the camera scans across various “photographs” of the characters. One of them is a “remake” of Norman Rockwell’s ‘Freedom from Want’ Thanksgiving Day painting with Cobra as the grandfather and Stitch as the grandmother.
  • Like the live-action monster movie that appears briefly in the movie, photographs of Elvis Presley are “real” pictures and not animated drawings.
  • The surfer statue featured in the end credits is a real Hawaiian landmark on Waikiki Beach. It is of Duke Kahanamoku, a native Hawaiian considered the father of modern surfing and an Olympic gold medal winner. Nani also has a Duke poster in her bedroom.
  • According to the map of the projected landing of Experiment 626, the story takes place in the island of Kauai.
  • In the hotel scene, Stich carrying a rose was inspired by an animation student that was known to give flowers to the animators (and other animation students) at the annual Disney Institute animation classes.
  • When Pleakley and the Grand Councilwoman go to the prison to visit Jumba, in the cell to the right of the elevator is Dr. Jacques Von Hamsterviel, who went on to become a recurring villain in Lilo & Stitch: The Series.
  • After Lilo throws her doll Scrump on the ground, then picks it up and walks away, Scrump begins to smile.
  • The two small black and white dogs that were part of the first group of canines Stitch met at the pound resemble the two dogs that belong to Dean DeBlois. One of his dogs was recorded (breathing, grunting, etc.) and mixed in with Chris Sanders’s performance as Stitch.
  • When Stitch strikes Jumba with a car and sends him flying to Nani’s room she has a poster of Duke on the wall. When Stitch delivers a second blow the facial expression on Duke’s face changes.
  • Originally, Stitch was going to be an intergalactic gangster, Jumba was going to be a disgruntled member of his gang who was left behind during a heist and was going after him as revenge, and the other members of the gang would have been the ones who came to get him in the third act. The filmmakers felt that Stitch was more sympathetic when the audience thought of him as younger, and so was changed from a hardened criminal to a genetic experiment, and Jumba became the scientist who created him.
  • The AC/DC song “Back in Black” was used in previews and trailers but does not appear on the soundtrack.
  • First feature length animated film to be set on Hawaii.
  • The cities featured on the postcards during the scene when Lilo and Stitch are having a snow cone include New York, Honolulu, San Fransisco, Toronto, Orlando (with a picture of the Walt Disney World Resort on the front), Dallas, Chicago, and Hong Kong.
  • Alan Silvestri was the directors’ first choice for composer.
  • Lilo is 6 in the film. Daveigh Chase who voiced her was 9 when she started.
  • One of the hardest parts about Stitch’s characterization was that it’s very difficult to read what kind of emotion he is feeling, mainly because his eyes don’t have pupils. The animators largely got round this problem by making Stitch very physical.
  • Stitch was never really conceived to talk.
  • The 42nd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics collection.
  • One of the few Disney animated features to take place in the present day. Others include 101 Dalmatians, The Rescuers, The Rescuers Down Under, Oliver & Company and Bolt.
  • After the failure of some of the previous animated features like The Emperor’s New Groove and Atlantis: The Lost Empire, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner decided that the studio should try their hand at a smaller scale and a less expensive film. The idea was inspired by Dumbo which was made at the studios for relatively little cost in the wake of the more expensive productions _Pinocchio_ and _Fantasia_.
  • Chris Sanders had originally created the character of Stitch in 1985 for an unsuccessful children’s book pitch.
  • This marks the first time since the mid 40s that the backgrounds are painted in watercolors as opposed to the traditional gouache technique. Directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois wanted to adopt the technique to hark back to the style of Dumbo. This decision required a lot of background artists to be trained in the technique.
  • The film’s extra-terrestrial elements – such as spaceships – were designed to resemble marine life.
  • Along with The Princess and the Frog, this is one of only two films from the Walt Disney Animation Studios released in the 2000s to meet with critical praise and make its money back in its initial theatrical run.
  • Lilo & Stitch received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, one of three Disney films nominated in the category that year. The others were Spirited Away and Treasure Planet.
  • The film’s North American gross of $145 million was Disney’s biggest gross for an animated film since Tarzan.
  • After completing this film, director Chris Sanders’s next project for Disney was Bolt. When John Lasseter took over as head of animation at Disney, he dismissed Sanders who then moved on to DreamWorks where he made How to Train Your Dragon.
  • The second animated feature to be made at the company’s Orlando studio. The first was Mulan. After picking up Stitch from the animal shelter, Lilo, Stitch and Nani can be seen passing stores, one of them being the “Mulan Wok”. Also, Nani has a “Mulan” poster from the film on her bedroom wall.
  • Alan Silvestri collaborated with Hawaiian hula master Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu on the score.
  • The character of Cobra Bubbles, voiced by Ving Rhames, bears a marked resemblance to the gangster he played in Pulp Fiction, right down to the same earring.
  • Many of the aliens are inspired by Disney characters, including Piglet and Tigger.
  • At the end of the film, when Stitch is dancing with Lilo’s halau hula, the camera pulls back to reveal that they are performing at the Merrie Monarch Festival, a real annual festival honoring King David Kalakaua and celebrating Hawaiian arts and culture.
  • Keith David was considered for the role of Cobra Bubbles.
  • HIDDEN MICKEY: When Lilo shows Stitch his bed, a picture of Mickey’s head can be seen on the wall in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  • The character David Kawena is critically acclaimed to have been inspired by Hawaiian surf legend David Nuuhiwa
  • When Lilo explains about how she desperately needed to give Pudge the fish a peanut butter sandwich because he controls the weather, it seems that she is just being random, but there is reason behind it: Lilo’s parents died in a rainstorm.

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