Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Lilo and Stitch

MPAA Rating: PG for mild sci-fi action

Reviewed by: Michelle Mauldin
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family
Genre:
Animated Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 25 min.
Year of Release:
2002
Scene from “Lilo and Stitch”

Starring: Tia Carrere, David Ogden Stiers, Zoe Caldwell, Kevin Michael Richardson, Daveigh Chase | Directed by: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois | Produced by: Clark Spencer | Written by: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders, Alan Silvestri | Distributor: Walt Disney

“Lilo and Stitch” is filled with a wide range of characters, for a movie that appeals to almost all ages: a pair of orphaned sisters, the older struggling against all odds to care for the younger; a threatening social worker breathing down the sisters’ necks; a handsome young surfer/fire juggler who tries to romance the older sister; a dangerous fugitive from another galaxy loose in Hawaii who looks like a six-legged blue koala with razor-sharp teeth; the crazed scientist who created the fugitive and has followed him to Hawaii to capture him; a hilarious one-eyed alien who has been ordered to accompany the scientist to keep him out of trouble; and a menacing giant with a thirst for violence and revenge.

Put all these characters and storylines together, and you’ve got a whopper of a movie, full of suspense, action, and heart-tugging moments. The sisters’ characters are multi-dimensional, giving the story some substance, as they struggle to survive after their parents are killed in a car accident. This fact is only briefly mentioned, but was enough to make me cringe because of all the very young children (under 7) in the audience, whose parents probably thought they were going to see a cutesy cartoon about a fluffy little critter named Stitch… who turns out to be NOT so cute and fluffy after all! There were many heavy moments in this film, and one particularly sad scene had a young boy behind me worriedly ask his mother, “What’s going to happen?” She didn’t answer him, I suspect because she didn’t know how to explain in a few short seconds the adult topic of children being taken away from caretakers who love them but are failing them.

While there are no scenes with alcohol/drug use, sexual situations or swearing, there’s plenty of cartoon-style violence, meaning no blood or gore but lots of gun-fighting and explosions. There’s a book about voodoo, a near-drowning, a house that gets torn to pieces during a battle, and a few scenes showing physical rage on the parts of the sisters (understandable under the circumstances, but this is a kids’ movie, after all). There are a few gross-out moments, as well, including a tongue-in-the-nose picking, a saliva wash of a window, lugie-spitting, and a mooning by Stitch, which looks like a stuffed animal’s rear end against the window.

What’s good about this film? For older Christian kids, pre-teen and up, this is a well-drawn animated film that explores a whole range of emotions and topics while leading them through an exciting chase and giving them plenty of laughs to take the edge off the heavy stuff. Even the hard topics are softened by humor in most cases. The film shows the value of unconditional love, as the created-for-violence Stitch ends up finding his heart through the love of little Lilo. Parents of younger children will cringe and squirm throughout the movie, though, and may want to bring a notebook to keep track of all the things they’ll want to talk about later. The older kids know better, but leave the little ones at home.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Me and my husband saw this film, and we really enjoyed it. I will say that it would probably upset younger, more impressionable children children. But older children, teens and adults I think would really enjoy it. I thought it was clean entertainment for an older group. Who says you’re too old for cartoons?
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Tiffany Rose, age 20
Positive—My husband and I took our 3 year old daughter to see this movie and we are glad we did. My father-in—law recently passed away and my daughter was able to identify with the character’s loss and anger, helping her to deal with her own. The definition of family that is provided is refreshing. I realize that it is not the traditional nuclear family which is the ideal, but it does allow for those children who live in families that are blended or are non traditional something to relate to. I was taught that your family is the people who love you and stand by you. Besides my own biological family, we have an extension of people who are our “family” much like Stitch is Lilo’s. My daughter was also able to make the connection that Lilo and Noni have the aliens as family like we have “Aunt Connie.” I must state that I did not like the role of Bubbles for most of this movie. I worked with Foster Children for many years and this role could give these already confused children an unhealthy preconception of the Social Workers job.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Gretchen, age 33
Positive—I can’t believe some of the negative responses (rock-throwing) that I’ve just read. Many are downright hateful in their tone, which is not of GOD. Some are so outrageous they’re not even worth responding too. Lilo is a troubled child and their are many children in the world just like her that identify with her. Anyone who knows anything about the backstory of this film knows it is not just a typical Disney film. There are more mature and challenging themes than in past Disney films (hence the PG rating) Judging by some of the responses it looks like the younger viewers have a better understanding of them than some “adults” do.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Justin F, age 22
Positive—Very touching, with humor and intrigue in all the right places. The characters are very three-dimensional and Stitch is quite possibly the most lovable alien since ET. Some Christians may find the reference to voodoo and the paranormal alien characters to be reason for caution, but these elements are overshadowed by a much more important message. Now if only I can find a stuffed Stitch doll.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Kris Avalon, age 19
Positive—It’s was about older sister trying to keep her family together. Lilo she just need a friend to talk to and this guy from was a CIA agent to take her little sister away. Stitch came to Earth he was made by a science man. They say he evil but the Lilo try to teach him to be like Elvis. It’s was sad, happy. It’s okay film.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Thomas Dickensheets, age 40
Positive—I loved this movie so much!! My youth group went, and it was so great. We loved it and we couldn’t stop laughing. I recommend this movie for all ages. It’s totally appropriate for even the littlest of kids. And adults will love it too!
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Carrot, age 19
Positive—I went with my grandchildren, ages 10 and 8. They really enjoyed it. It opened the topics of the tragic loss of loved ones and “broken” families… both topics for reasonable discussion with young people of their age. Parents of younger children should be aware that this is not a story about a cute little girl and her sweet, fuzzy alien. Lilo is a little girl dealing with grief and anger. Stitch just might bite you on the finger. He is the embodiment of Lilo’s grief and anger. But in the end, love for family redeems them all. There is a brief reference to voodoo that may just go over the heads of younger viewers.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Harriet Jackson, age 49
Positive—Story espoused many good virtues to include love, family, ability to change for the better, and friendship. Not sure it deserved a PG, but some of the scenes and characters scared my 3 ½ year old. Disappointed to see a voodoo reference early in the film, which was completely unnecessary but fortunately very brief. The remaining portion of the film had good morals and nothing objectionable in my opinion. I enjoyed the humor, and feel there are many teachable aspects for children about treating others kindly and that its better to win others through acts of love rather than through retaliation. The animation was excellent and by the end, if not sooner, Stitch’s transformation will win you over.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—John Burroughs, age 35
Positive—Brought my children opening night, we all enjoyed it a lot, one 2 second reference to voodoo where lilo makes spoons into her friends and drowns them in a pickle jar. Also a slight hint of evolution is mentioned. my children did not get the voodoo or the evolution went over heads. lilo prays by her bed for god to send her a friend who will accept her. Stitch was designed to be destructive but once he felt he was part of a family his demeanor changed. overall good move. if you kids ask about the voodoo have a talk about how it is evil but also part of may cultures.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Cyndi Rosenthal, age 27
Positive—Thought this movie was a lot of fun and will use it tomorrow to talk to my daughter about many of the topics presented, especially how important family is and how some people through unforeseen tragic circumstances do not have full healthy families and some people have “Broken” families because of sin. Families are a gift from God and we need to cherish them.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Jim
Positive—“Lilo and Stitch” was a very good movie, in my opinion. Yes, Lilo does do some uncalled for things, but she is the victim of bullying. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but Lilo’s classmate was not innocent. Stitch is very hostile at first, but he soon becomes a lovable friend to Lilo and protects her from Dr. Jumba and saves her from the corrupt alien captain, Gantu. Mr. Bubbles is kind of scary, but he only cares for Lilo’s needs, and he only wishes for her needs to be provided for; when he tells Lilo’s sister that the inspection went wrong, uh, people he was speaking the truth, which people in this world need to hear. Yes, it was sad that Lilo’s parents were dead, but how that should be offensive is unknown to me; The Bible says to care for orphans, not get offended by their lack of parents.

I do think some of Lilo’s beliefs are anti-Biblical (she attempts voodoo and believes a fish controls the weather; these things are only in the beginning and are never brought up again), but this shows the sadness of a child with no parents; we need to pray for kids in her shoes, not act like Westboro. Recommended age: 8 or higher. This movie does have its good points, but it is not for impressionable children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I took my 2 boys ages 9 and 7 to see this movie and they enjoyed it. I asked them if they cried and they said yes. It was a very heart tugging movie. There were like 3 or 4 parts in it that got me all teary eyed. I was really disappointed when I saw the voodoo scene! It was more than just a “reference” to it in the movie… she actually performed voodoo by putting spoons in a jar with water [each spoon represented a friend] and then shaking it up and saying “they [her friends] have to be punished.” [Teaching the children “revenge” and letting the children know that there are ways to get revenge.] --Romans 12:19: Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” [12:19 Deut. 32:35] says the Lord.—However, God always manages to turn the ick around because it gives us as parents an opportunity to talk to our children about the witchcraft and how it is an abomination unto the Lord. However, despite that ugly moment—the movie’s message was about family sticking together no matter what. And that is an important lesson.
My Ratings: [Average / 2½]
—Dawnie, age 36
Neutral—The overall movie was great. It had a great story-line to it. However, I think that they could have left the voodoo part out of it. Even thought it is only a glimpse of it. I still think that they should have left it out. This is suppose to be a disney movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Karen, age 40
Negative
Negative—My five, soon to be six, year old son, asked to leave within the first 30 minutes. I thought the movie was highly inappropriate for young children. The concept of parents dying, leaving two orphaned sisters to cope while a “thug-type” social worker tries to separate them is to much for children under 8 years of age. Further to have a mean little monster alien, with no redeeming qualities land in their home, further confuses the plot ands additional violence. Inappropriate scenes: The sisters, as Polynesians, are portrayed as fairly unattractive individuals, the big sister in anger kicks a car and yells out “stupid,” Lilo claims “she just wants to kill herself,” the parents have been killed; beyond the norm yelling between a “little” sister and a “big” sister, the social worker looks like he just got out of prison and is very sinister (some tattoo across his knuckles), ultimately Lilo is removed from the home, Baywatch lifeguard (sexual), miserable Stitch who has no redeeming qualities (encourages Lilo to partake in inappropriate behavior such as taking 3 wheeler from little girl (until, I am told the last 15 minutes of the movie), unnecessary violence with the alien scientist that wants to kill Stitch and everybody around him, kidnapping of Lilo, complete and utter destruction of the home.
—Cristina Dugoni, age 36
Negative[One of the problems I have with “Lilo and Stitch”] is Disney’s definition of “family.” I do empathize with two orphaned sisters, but this is a typical Disney backstory. We see it over and over again—the absence of parents. We also see the family redefined to include an adopted genetically engineered alien and a cute boyfriend. It is the slick political blending of “It takes a village to raise an alien” and “Leave no alien behind.” Once again pity overpowers our sense of reason and we miss the long-term implications of cloning as a solution for adoptive parents.

We, also, miss current campaign to redefine family as any collection of individuals that love each other. My final problem is in the area of imitative behavior. I watched Lilo in her frustration fight with a girl and then bite her on the arm. The next day I was in Wal-mart and observed a girl bite her brother on the arm after calling him one of the names reinforced in this film “stupid head.” The mother was in horror and asked her daughter where she learned such inappropriate behavior. She replied that she saw Lilo do it when yesterday when Grandma took them to the movies. This is only one of many scenes with behavior that is unacceptable. Our children deserve better role models. All I can say is “be careful little eyes what you see.” I strongly recommend parents to skip this one.
—Douglas Downs
Negative—First of all from the movie previews I thought this would be a movie about a loveable little alien. I was immediately caught off guard by the way the movie started a mad scientist playing God creates a diabolical Misfit, experiment 626 or 6(66) deliberately pronounced six two six. From a christian perspective this immediately put me on High alert. Six two six, soul purpose is to destroy. Sounds like the AntiChrist to me. I am extremely offended by anyone altering or the cloning of cells and the reference to 6(66) appalls me. The movie is almost appears to me a forefront to the actual appearance of the antichrist and through its deceptive analogy. Leads us the viewers that something created to be devious can turn out to be good and That modify the gene pool is okay. I believe that these people who write and produce these movies are in league with the devil and are subtly trying to change the way we are influenced and think.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 4]
—Ted, age 37
Negative—…A careful viewer would have noticed the unmasked attempt by Disney to promote their non-traditional “family” unit—what’s next, gay parents? In my opinion that child would have been better off in an adopted family than in this dysfunctional setting where the sister leaves her home alone with pots cooking on the stove. Also, the child (Lilo, who appears to be only about 8), had disgusting pictures hanging on her bedroom wall—half-dressed obese people in various positions including a rear-view of a large bottom, clad only in panties! Her language toward her sister and even a comment to the teenage boy about how her sister likes his (slang for rear end) is just simply inappropriate. Would you want your 8 year old daughter talking like that? My advice to Christian parents who truly care about keeping the crud out of their child’s eyes, ears, and mind, is to avoid this pathetic attempt at a “family” film and go rent Pinocchio instead!
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1½]
—Eileen, age 45
Negative—I’m surprised at all the positive reviews from Christians. I found this movie offensive to say the least. Lilo attacks a fellow student. Lilo and Stitch dump the same girl from her big wheel and steal it from her. There is a “Baywatch Babe” at the lifeguard stand at the beach. Nani’s midriff is bare through the entire movie. Lilo is very disrespectful to authority figures. The list goes on and on. I regret having taken my kids to see it.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
—Ronette, age 33
Negative—Due to the cutsie ads and trailers on TV, I took a five year old to this movie who ended up with nightmares. This is not a kids movie! The monsters were very scary and very violent, Lilo gets carted off in a spaceship, her home burns down to the ground, she almost gets taken away from the only family she has by a social worker who looks like a hit-man, and there is physical violence between the two sisters and between Lilo and her friends at dance class. Could this movie be more of a downer?! At one point my 5 year old leaned over and said “is it going to be funny soon?.” This was depressing for an adult let alone children …parents beware!
My Ratings: [Average / 2½]
—Jo, age 29
Movie Critics
…extols love, perseverance, commitment, faith, family, and redemption. Some action violence and references to evolution and voodoo make the movie inappropriate for younger children…
—Eric Rice, Movieguide
…Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, a few colorful phrases are uttered and some imitative behavior is present. A few kid-based gross out moments are also present…
—ScreenIt!
…DISCUSSION TOPICS—Aliens, family, exile, broken families, death of parents, genetic experimentation, discipline, voodoo…
—Kids-in-Mind
Comments from young people
Positive—Lilo and Stitch was another great Disney turn out. I went into the theater not really expecting much and was surprised to find myself laughing and crying at the same time. The violence was slapstick and not offensive. There was a “voodoo” scene in which Lilo puts spoons (that represent her so called “friends”) in a jar and shakes them up. I found this to be the only offensive scene in the movie, and it was relatively short. The movie really puts an emphasis on the importance of family. In all, I really liked Lilo and Stitch.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Kelly, age 14
Negative—This is a really dumb movie. I did not like it and I think it should be removed from the movie theaters. The movie was sad (family situation) and inappropriate (scary because it was kind of violent).
—Joe Dugoni, almost 6
Positive—I loved this movie. The storyline is great, and the little bit of voodoo that might stop you from seeing the movie is brief and was supposed to be funny. I (along with the rest of my family) loved this movie and I recommend it for any age.
My Ratings: [Good / 3½]
—Nathan Bailey, age 13
Neutral—I liked this movie a lot, but I would recommend it for ages 10+ because there is some laser guns and explosions, and one of the kids gets attacked and bitten by Lilo for calling her crazy, and Nani (Lilo’s sister) runs out in front of a car and then kicks the bumper and calls the driver “stupid head.” And there is lots of spit in the movie, but I think it was funny. Still, some of the violence may be too much for younger kids.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Christa, age 11
Positive—I loved this movie, I don’t know why they rated it PG. Well, Stitch did stick up his rear end two times. Just try to enjoy the rest of the movie. Nothing else was even close to getting this movie rated PG. I’m going to try to get my mom to see it, I bet my mom would say the movie was cute, but I bet she won’t like the parts including stitch’s rear end. I encourage you to see it no matter what your age is.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Miles Scott, age 11
Positive—This is a WONDERFUL movie. It’s awesome. Very funny, nothing bad in it. The voodoo part didn’t get me at all, it was more funny than anything else. It didn’t hurt anything, so don’t worry about that. But, I HIGHLY recommend this movie. It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a good while. It’s a happy movie and breaks away from all the trash that’s being thrown out on television and other movies. Go see it!
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Holly, age 15
Positive—Lilo and Stitch was a great movie. I went with some of my friends, and we all loved it. At the very beginning, there is a reference to Evolution that goes by real quickly. In another scene, We see Lilo praying for a friend. I was surprised the reviewer only gave Lilo and Stitch three stars. I think it deserves Five. This is the best Disney movie I have seen in a long time. It is a great movie for all the members of the family.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Katie, age 15
Positive—I went to see this movie with one of my friends (we’re both 16) because Stitch looked so cute. Although Stitch wasn’t exactly like we had expected, both of us really enjoyed the film. Some of the jokes fell a little flat, but many of them had us rolling in the aisles. We especially enjoyed the the play off of “Men in Black.” I wouldn’t take anyone under five or so …unless they are really mature. Voodoo is mentioned, but in an almost sarcastic manner and some of the alien creatures are pretty scary. Overall, I loved it.
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Kristen, age 16
Positive—I thought this was really sad. I went to see it with my friend and we were both close to tears during most of it. It was very meaningful to me because I know that there are a lot of families out there with the same problems Lilo and her older sister have (minus the alien of course!). I think the only objectionable thing is the voodoo book, but even that is presented in a humorous way. All in all, I really liked it and will for sure at least rent it when it comes out on video.
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Kristine Lauderdale, age 14
Positive—My friends and I went and saw this movie together and we all absolutely loved it. It has stuff in it that adults will like as well as kids. It is the best movie that Disney has made in a long time. There are two things relating to different religions that are objectionable for little kids to see, but it will go over their heads. I suggest that you take the whole family.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Katie, age 15