POST Preparation for Moana Review #4: Treasure Planet

Shh let’s just keep the theme going for awhile. Anyways, here’s another review of a movie connected to Moana in one way or another: Treasure Planet (since they both have the same directors).

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Several decades ago, John Musker and Ron Clements pitched a unique idea to Disney: Treasure Island IN SPACE!!!!!! It was rejected a few times. Eventually, they got their wish: after completing Hercules, they were allowed to work on this film, utilizing some revolutionary animation techniques (the CG animation blends almost seamlessly with the hand drawn animation) and a lot of heart and soul. They marketed and hyped the film big time, and it even got an IMAX release. What happened?

It bombed. Very badly. To the point where Disney would give up on hand drawn animation altogether in a few years.

There are a few reasons it didn’t do so well. Up until the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, pirate movies were box office poison. Plus a lot of people probably looked at the film and thought the premise was boring and/or stupid and decided to take their kid to the latest Pixar film, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, or Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I remember, very clearly, when I went to see it for the first time, there was hardly anyone in the theater!

I feel like this movie gets a really raw deal, because it’s honestly amazing.

First things first though: this is the type of movie you NEED to see on the big screen in order to fully appreciate. I tried watching it on my computer and had a little trouble staying focused. I decided to watch it on the big screen and BOOM I was hooked in. I think more people might be able to get into this movie better if they watched it in the proper format.

I love the unique world this movie is set in. It’s a traditional culture with access to advanced technology, creating a sort of Steampunk, anachronistic setting that works. It’s a very awesome setting with some truly beautiful scenes and shots. This movie is also really EXCITING, with some truly compelling action sequences and moments of peril.

But what makes this movie really great are the characters of Jim Hawkins and John Silver.

Jim is a well-written teenage boy character. He is sullen and doesn’t always like authority, and can be morally grey at times, but he is very clever and skilled and does develop empathy for others. He has angst issues (all teenagers do), but he’s not whiny, and he seeks to improve or is able to be comforted by Silver. He also has a clever character design: when we first see him, when he’s a delinquent, he wears a black shirt and jacket. When he’s ready to make a change in his life, he still wears the jacket, but is wearing a lighter colored shirt. He later ditches the jacket when he starts to step up into the role of a hero. Finally, when he has set out to make his own path in life, he is wearing all white. Overall, he’s a relatable, enjoyable character.

And Silver is incredible. Given how he’s both fat and disabled, it would have been very easy for the writers and animators to make him repulsive and pure evil. Instead, he can be harsh and authoritative, but can also be warm and comforting. He has loose morals, but doesn’t want to cause unnecessary violence or bloodshed. We sympathize with him because he has longed to have the treasure for what I can assume is most of his life and has made some sacrifices. And despite a rough start, he really and truly does care for Jim, to the point where he is willing to let Jim come with him to go on new adventures.

And that’s the heart and soul of the movie: these two and their bond.

Jim’s father left him, and Silver has no children. Jim sees in Silver a firm but kind father figure who is genuinely interested in him, and Silver sees a capable young boy who he grows a paternal attachment to. The desire for treasure nearly drives them apart, but ultimately, their relationship proves stronger than gold. In the end, they’re not quite as close as they were before, but they still have a strong mutual respect and affection for one another.

I can’t help but get a little sad over the ending though. Silver is free, but he has to say goodbye to Jim and Morph. Jim goes back to his mother and decides to become a respectable member of society but still clearly misses Silver. I like to think they get back together at some point. Either Silver becomes an active good guy, or Jim decides that being a ship’s captain is not for him and joins Silver on his adventures. There was a planned direct to video sequel that would have Jim and Silver teaming up again to fight an even worse pirate, but it was not meant to be. So I can only imagine.

The film still has a few problems. I don’t particularly care for Doctor Delbert (he can be a little too annoying at times) or Amelia (all she does is act prim and proper, yell orders, and gets injured; and btw, did you know at one point she had tentacles for hair? why didn’t they keep that in), and B.E.N., well, let’s just say he won’t be replacing WALL E or Baymax as anyone’s fave robot characters. And how did the crew get hired in the first place when it’s pretty obvious they’re up to no good? Like if you look at Scroop you can tell right away that he’s evil incarnate, why would you let him on a respectable voyage? Amelia points this out, but instead of doing anything about it, she just tells Jim and Doppler not to talk about the map in front of them. Really? And I suppose the story isn’t THAT original or groundbreaking.

But honestly? I absolutely love this movie despite all odds. It holds a very dear place in my heart, along Big Hero 6, Wreck-It Ralph, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This movie has a small cult following but I hope it will grow in stature and become a true classic. It really deserves it.

 

 

The Mother of All Psychological Horrors Is All Too Familiar

Hmm, it’s Mother’s Day and I haven’t written in awhile. I know! I’ll talk about Rosemary’s Baby!

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What have you done to it? What have you done to its eyes?

A dark parallel to the story of the Virgin Birth, what makes this film scary is that it lulls you into a false sense of security. The first two acts or so aren’t very scary so much as weird and off-putting. But as the movie progresses you realize how horrifying and hopeless the situation is and in the end you’re on the verge of tears over the plight of Rosemary.

The movie is several decades old but is hailed as a master of horror. It has very little blood and gore and no jump scares; instead, it gets under your skin by building up the feeling of dread and paranoia with ominous music and shots, culminating in a pretty shocking twist. But because the twist isn’t explicitly shown, it leaves room for some interpretations.

To me, though, what makes it scary even now is that it’s still pretty relevant. It presents the all too real plight of the lack of reproductive rights and justice.

When Rosemary is not pregnant, her husband dotes on her and she is quick to make friends and acquaintances. When she states her desire to become pregnant, though, attitudes towards her start to change. By the time she actually is pregnant, she is not treated the same. She is essentially treated as a brood mare, being withheld important information about her body, being manipulated by her neighbors, and being verbally abused and controlled by her husband. The one person she can trust, her old doctor, doesn’t believe her when she says what’s going on and immediately turns her over to her husband. When the baby is born she isn’t even initially allowed to see him, and does not receive a warm welcome when she comes to the congregation. Almost all the members of the coven disrespect or even outright show contempt for the mother of their savior.

Hmm…does that sound familiar?

What struck me right away is that the only people who are on Rosemary’s side are young women. Literally all the men (with one exception) and the older women see Rosemary as a walking incubator that has to be carefully controlled.

Rosemary herself is a really great character. Initially submissive and docile, her fierce love for her unborn child drives her to take action, seeking a safe place to give birth and get away from the coven. She is one of the few female horror movie protagonists to actually have character development, albeit development that is too late to save her.

The climax is especially horrifying. Imagine the baby you worked so hard to protect turned out to be an unholy demon, the product of a brutal violation. In the end, her motherly instincts kick in, but her smile seems a little halfhearted. Ultimately the viewer will have to decide the fate of her and her child.

This movie has a wide range of interpretations, ranging from calling it feminist to misogynist. I lean more to the feminist interpretation for a few reasons. The first reason is just how frank the movie is when it talks about periods, abortions, and childbirth, all topics that a lot of movies shy away from. Secondly, the whole situation, from the moment of conception to Rosemary’s acceptance of the baby, is seen as genuinely HORRIFYING, not as a cheap shock or drama.

Ultimately, this is a horror movie of something all too familiar and relevant: being a pregnant person having your bodily autonomy, rights, and dignity taken away from you. And that is something that will always scare you on a psychological and personal level.

Beauty and the Beast 2017 Review

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Warning: spoilers.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: this is not as good as the original. As a movie on its own right, it got a mixed reception. People seem to either absolutely love or absolutely hate this movie. I was fully prepared to hate it myself…but I actually kind of liked it. I thought it was quite well made.

Now, I think the thing that really divides people on this movie is the portrayal of the classic characters. Personally, I really enjoyed most of them…but had one major exception.

Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as Lefou were great. Gaston is a truly chilling antagonist, and Lefou is funny and also a lot more layered. I like how in this version Lefou obviously loves Gaston, but eventually realizes that he needs to leave him. I think he needed a better conclusion (saying sorry to Belle and actually getting to kiss a man rather than just dance with one for two seconds), but overall, I think Lefou’s character was an improvement. I found myself dancing in my seat during the “Gaston” song, and engrossed at the Mob Song.

The household objects were also surprisingly good. Some of the character designs don’t work (the wardrobe and piano just look creepy), but they did manage to come to life better than I thought they would. I really did feel for them and actually got teary-eyed over them at some points. I just wish they didn’t look so realistic.

And I got to say, the hate for Emma Watson is so overblown. Yes, I hate what she did to the iconic yellow dress and some of her attitudes toward making this film, but the whole claim on how she’s cold and emotionless in the movie is uncalled for. She does emote. She does care. And I actually did like some of the changes she made to this character. I like how she’s a bit more proactive and practical, but still maintains her love of books and her family. Honestly, I kind of saw myself in Belle a lot. I feel like, if I was in her situation, I would behave exactly like she would.

So no, Emma Watson as Belle is not the problem with the movie. No, the major problem is actually THE BEAST.

Now, Dan Stevens did a good job (with what he’s given) and I’m not expecting his new design to perfectly mimic the original. But even with the new design, it does not look right. There are a lot of scenes where he looks fake as hell. The CGI gets very conspicuous, especially when he moves. He’s not very expressive, and whenever he does get to emote, he looks very creepy. Like something’s wrong. I can safely say while I may have been harsh on the household objects before, the design of the Beast is extremely uncanny valley for me. Honestly, I would have just given him makeup and prosthetics.

But what’s even worse is that a lot of the humanity the original Beast had is gone here. In the original movie, when he acts like an asshole, we see him visibly feel sorry. We get to sympathize with him in his darkest moments; when he imprisons Belle, we see that he feels bad and lets her stay in a nicer room. When Belle rejects him at first, we get to see him upset. When he chases Belle out of his room, he looks very ashamed before going to save her. He looks overjoyed when he gets closer to Belle, and when he has to let Belle go, he’s heartbroken, but brave, choking back his tears and stroking Belle’s hair as he gives her her freedom.

In the remake, though? Nope, that’s all gone! And when he and Belle have romantic moments it feels rushed, not letting them have enough time to develop real chemistry and attraction to each other. In the original, I know that Belle fell for him because he was revealed to have a soul. In this film? He’s cold and distant, really reserved. So he did not work. But the rest of the movie did, for the most part.

I’m not sure if the other remakes are going to work (there’s a whopping 19 planned so far, who knows how many will actually see the light of day), but I’m glad that this didn’t disappoint me too badly or ruin the original for me.

(POST) Preparation for Moana Review #3: Pocahontas

This was supposed to be a full series leading up to Moana‘s release in theaters but I only got around to making two. Whoops. So, let’s say these are reviews leading up to the Blu Ray release of the film (March 7). With that said..

Pocahontas Poster #2

In the early 1990’s, Disney Animation was on top of the world. With hits like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, the studio was the undisputed champion of animated movies.

Until Pocahontas came out.

While it didn’t bomb, it made less money than its predecessors (The Lion King earned almost a billion dollars when it first came out; Pocahontas only earned about $346 million) and was not warmly received by critics and audiences. (To date, it is the only Disney Renaissance film to have a rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of about 56%.) This is particularly embarrassing as Jeffrey Katzenberg and the people behind Pocahontas were so hoping that it would get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture (like Beauty and the Beast did before). Instead, while it does have its fans, it will go down as one of Disney’s less beloved works (and for some people, the film that started the downfall of Disney Animation for awhile, and for hand drawn animation period).

So what happened?

Well, I think the thing that turned a lot of people off was the general tone of the movie. Whereas the movies before were light and happy with just enough of an edge, Pocahontas is overwhelmingly serious and adult. For some, it came across as too dark, for others, too pretentious. But I think the bigger reason it didn’t do so well was because it was released in 1995. You know what OTHER major animated film came out that year…

Yeah. I think you can tell which movie parents would rather take their kids to.

That aside, Pocahontas has its own problems. I’m not going to delve deep into how historically inaccurate it is (lots of people already have), and I’ve already talked about how I generally feel about the movie before (check my Pocahontas tag) so let’s focus on other issues.

For starters, it’s important to note that this movie was directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg. If you’re a Disney aficionado (or if you look them up on IMDb), you’ll notice that they’re prominent animators, not directors, writers, or story artists. Mike Gabriel had some prior experience with directing in The Rescuers Down Under, but Eric Goldberg did not. (After this film, they directed pretty much nothing else besides shorts.) As a result, the film LOOKS nice, but the story needs some work.

The character design is hit and miss. Chief Powhatan looks great: you can tell he’s a mature, strong, competent leader and a caring father. You can tell Nakoma is meant to be an Average Jane type person. Kocoum looks very strong and stern. But the main leads don’t look as great. John Smith just kind of looks boring and generic (his hair is not helping at all), and while I can’t totally hate on Pocahontas’s design, it has issues. Her nose is practically invisible when viewed on front (but it’s visible in profile), she has Barbie doll proportions, and despite being Native American, she was inspired not just by Irene Bedard (her voice actress), but by Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington, neither of whom are Native. Why? Irene Bedard is gorgeous!

The worst offender is Governor Radcliffe: he’s every negative stereotype rolled into one character. Obese? Check. Hooked nose and dark colourings? Check. Pink bow ties and effeminate mannerisms? Check. There’s a way to distinguish a character as the villain without relying on offensive stereotypes.

And while I didn’t fully realize it before, it turns out this movie really is disrespectful.

HERE and HERE are posts by a Native American blogger detailing their problems with the movie, but basically, for a film that preaches against racism, there’s a LOT of anti-Native violence depicted in the film. While it makes sense for Radcliffe to be calling the Natives savages and wanting them dead since he’s the villain (and therefore we’re not supposed to like him or agree with him), a lot of the violent language is uttered by characters we’re supposed to like. John Smith learns the error of his ways, but the others don’t. They decide not to fight because they realize the Natives aren’t interested in fighting. Their main reason for not colonizing the shit out the place is because Radcliffe shot John Smith (but not because he was ready to commit genocide). The fact that this is a revision of a very horrible true story (the real Pocahontas faced a lot of racist and sexual abuse before dying at a young age) makes it worse. You can see why I don’t like it when people snark at the movie or dismiss it as ‘heavy handed’ or ‘boring’ (though it can be slow at parts).

I think the final nail on the coffin is that Pocahontas is the only official Disney Princess that doesn’t really get a happy ending. Mulan brings honour to her family and has found a friend/love interest in Shang. Tiana opens her dream restaurant. Jasmine found true love and freedom. Pocahontas has to watch her prince leave her, maybe forever, while the threat of colonialism looms overhead. You know how I say Tiana shouldn’t be the only black princess because she was a goddamn frog for most of the movie? Well, Pocahontas shouldn’t be the only Native one either.

So, now you know the real story of Pocahontas. But maybe you still want to be able to enjoy the movie. After all, it does look nice, Colors of the Wind and Just Around the Riverbend are good songs (Judy Kuhn is an amazing singer), and it has some really epic moments. And damn, I just can’t bear to dislike Pocahontas herself. She was important to me growing up.

Maybe think that this is the story of a DIFFERENT Pocahontas and a DIFFERENT John Smith. Or maybe this is a tale showing what the world could have been like if peace, not hate, won out in the end. But don’t forget the story of the real Pocahontas, and make sure something like it never happens to Native people ever again.

The Lego Batman Movie Review

Spoiler Warning.

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So I got to see The Lego Batman movie today and oh my god, it was absolutely incredible. I loved almost every minute of it.This movie is action packed, funny, has a lot of clever homages to past Batman incarnations (mainly the campy 6o’s series) and even has a good amount of heart to it! But the characters are probably the best part.

Batman of course is great. In addition to being hilarious (Will Arnett does a tremendous job voicing him), he’s also just the right amount of brooding. At the beginning he’s kind of an asshole (mainly because he doesn’t want to get close to people after what happened to his parents) but as the film progresses he goes through a lot of character development. Ultimately, the movie takes the notion that superheroes (especially Batman) need to be all alone an angsty and goes “fuck that shit”. Robin is absolutely adorable and compliments Batman perfectly. They’re a very cute father/son team, and the family dynamic between Batman, Robin, Barbara and Alfred is adorable.

I really loved this movie’s depiction of Barbara Gordon and Harley Quinn. Barbara is now Latina (with her dark skin and having a Latina voice actress; Jim Gordon is also dark-skinned with a Latino voice actor so you know this was intentional) AND the commissioner (not just his daughter). She is smart, quick-witted, determined, is able to call Batman out on his shit, is very heroic, and not shoehorned into unnecessary romances or brutalized. She’s a well-defined character in her own right. Harley Quinn is not sexualized whatsoever, and her relationship with the Joker is portrayed as partners in crime, rather than a creepy/unhealthy romantic relationship.

Alfred is also a really great character, playing a huge role in the story and even being able to kick some ass. He was able to actually be a superhero himself, and since you don’t see a lot of old people as superheroes, this was pretty refreshing.

One thing I liked about this movie was how it was able to use all sorts of villains (including characters from other WB property, such as King Kong, Sauron, and Lord Voldemort). It raised the stakes of the film significantly, and makes the action a lot cooler. The villains from Batman’s rouges gallery are of course a treat.

I don’t want to really spoil too much about the film (I really liked the climax and ending but I would have to spoil a lot of it in order to explain why), so go see it for yourself! You’ll have a blast. If you hated DC’s previous movies for being too dark and gritty or overstuffed or any other reason, this movie should restore your faith in the company’s ability to make good movies with their classic characters.

Further Thoughts: Moana

SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE THING

So a lot of people are saying that while Moana definitely looks and (at least to an extent) sounds nice (I especially love the use of Pacific Islander vocals and music), the story is too familiar and/or has some pacing issues. For some people it’s only a minor gripe, but for others it seriously harms the movie.

And if you’ve seen my previous review, yeah, that’s kind of a problem for me as well.

It has one of the problems I had with The Princess and the Frog: the setting. So much of the movie takes place on a damn boat in the middle of the open ocean. We rarely go to other islands (it would have been really cool if we got to see other villages and how the curse was affecting them, and it would have raised the stakes even higher) or even go diving into the ocean; we just watch these characters go sailing. Whenever something happens, it feels inconsequential. What was the point of the Kakamora scene? We get some substance with the Lalotai/Tamatoa scene, but after we get the hook, we never deal with Tamatoa again. And I wouldn’t mind except there’s an entire song sequence that makes the character really cool, but we don’t see him again (except for a comedic end credits scene). Wouldn’t it have been more interesting to have Tamatoa actively pursuing the heroes and preventing them from reaching their goal?

I could not get invested in Moana’s character, nor could I really relate to her. Her character design is beautiful and I like how she’s very physical and is a capable leader. But I couldn’t really sympathize with her when she asked “what is wrong with me?” so dramatically and lamented on how she can’t be a perfect daughter. You live a charmed life where everyone adores you, and it’s not like you have something to seriously be ashamed of. If people were saying she’s weird or doubting her ability to lead, or if there was the implication that she might not be straight or neurotypical, that would make sense, but that’s not the case. Why couldn’t she just say “when I’m chief, I’m going to lift the ban and we’ll all go sailing?” The movie makes it clear that it’s mostly her father who enacted the ‘no sailing’ rule, so why does she have to keep it? Why did she have to wait until the end of the movie to realize that she could be both? Basically, I just couldn’t get behind her when she started to doubt herself, and that prevented me from really LOVING her character.

Also, when Maui’s fish hook is cracked, he angrily tells her “the ocean told you you were special and you believed it” and “I’m not killing myself so you can prove you’re something you’re not.” She feels sad, but it’s okay because within a few minutes she’s all “I AM MOANA!” and off to put the heart back.

Which leads me to my next big gripe: people recover from shockingly bad things waaaaaaaay too quickly in this movie. Whereas Hiro and Ralph take their time and gradually and naturally recover from their mental woes, the characters in Moana bounce back immediately after something horrible.

I’ve already talked about how Maui, who clearly has mental issues, doesn’t really get any proper closure (he wants to be loved for who he is, and while his reputation is restored, we don’t see if people actually love him again), but I’ve also noticed how Tui is (realistically) traumatized after losing his best friend after sailing beyond the reef, but by the end of the movie he’s suddenly very accepting of way finding without any onscreen character development. Moana almost drowns when sailing for the first time but it doesn’t traumatize her whatsoever, and she is a little too calm and accepting when her gramma dies.

But while those might be personal issues, a lot of people will still say the movie is disappointing, familiar, typical Disney Princess, dull, etc.

Well there’s probably a reason for that.

See, this isn’t a John Musker and Ron Clements film. Not really. While directing, they apparently focused more on the look and animation of the film. Don Hall and Chris Williams were brought in later to resolve story issues. There were story issues because, probably, this movie was written by NINE PEOPLE (including Taika Waititi, who wrote the first draft that was subsequently rewritten). Jared Bush wrote the final screenplay, but Pamela Ribbon, Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, and the four directors all had input on the story. That’s a pretty big writing team! Plus they also had to revise the story several times to keep it culturally accurate/sensitive. So it begs the question: whose story are we REALLY telling?

And remember, this movie was originally supposed to come out in 2018, but was bumped up to 2016. (I’m not sure what the exact reason is, but according to some, it’s to help ride the wave of Frozen.) It should be easy to see that maybe some things were possibly rushed.

And of course, there’s also the fact that this is, ultimately, a Disney Princess  TM film. Disney Princess TM films are allowed to add some new twists and ideas (as this movie does), but ultimately, they have to tread certain territory in order to remain marketable and commercially viable. Non-princess movies tend to be more subversive and take more risks.

Yeah. Things are starting to click into place now.

Despite all the problems, I cannot really say that I hate Moana or that it’s a bad film. I just can’t call it a fave, even though I really wanted it to be. This could’ve been a masterpiece, and it almost is…but not quite. Maybe the next Disney films will deliver instead.

Preparation For Moana Review #2: Lilo and Stitch

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Okay this isn’t a John Musker/Ron Clements movie and it came out before the Disney Revival, but since it’s the first Disney movie set in Polynesia with Polynesian characters, I thought it was appropriate to review this before Moana.

In the early 2000’s, Walt Disney Animation Studios was in a rut. With the rise of CG animation with Pixar and DreamWorks, Disney was struggling to keep their oldest and dearest studio relevant. Ultimately, a lot of movies released before the 2010’s turned out to be disappointments at best, bombs at worst, with one major exception: Lilo & Stitch.

With a small budget of only $80 million and earning a healthy $273 million at the box office and glowing reviews from critics, this movie was Disney’s biggest success that decade. As a result, this movie spawned a solid franchise, including a  TV series, an anime series, 3 direct-to-video sequels, theme park attractions (some of them still going on today), video games, and an abundance of merchandise. It has also been hailed as one of Disney’s more progressive franchises, featuring a non-white, non-traditional family with realistic, relatable struggles (and possible LGBT representation with Jumba and Pleakley). Because of all this, Lilo & Stitch is extremely popular with millennials, hailing it as their ultimate fave Disney movie and one of Disney’s best.

I remember seeing this movie a couple times as a child but not a lot (I did not own the VHS or DVD). I saw a few episodes of the TV show (when nothing else was on) but I did not see any of the sequels. So, I did not grow up with this film like everyone else did. Therefore, while I certainly do like the movie, I do think nostalgia value factors into the popularity a lot.

I find that, as an adult, I get totally invested in Nani and Lilo’s story, but I can’t really get invested in Stitch’s story or the aliens.

Nani is a stressed out young woman who lost her parents before she was really ready to be on her own, has to deal with her grief while also taking care of her lonely little sister (who may have some psychological problems from losing her parents at such an age, given how she’s eccentric and ostracized and how she NEEDS Nani). She struggles to make ends meet, things seem to get worse from day to day, and there’s a very real threat of losing her sister–the only family she has left–throughout the movie. The presence of a strange new pet only makes things worse. Holy SHIT. With all this going on, it’s really hard for me to want to care about a little blue alien!

It’s also really hard for me to buy the fact that this movie has aliens. I find it hard to believe that anyone would look at Stitch, go “oh that’s just a weird looking dog” and not have any questions (also why would you put a dog you thought was dead in the kennel with other dogs?). And I cannot believe for a moment that Jumba and Pleakley’s disguises would’ve fooled anyone. How do the aliens speak perfect English, and why do they refer to themselves as aliens?

Well, ultimately the aliens are there to make the film more kid friendly. Stitch is there for the kids to sympathize with. Nani is there for the parents to sympathize with. Ergo, this makes Lilo & Stitch a great family film (despite the plotholes); it has the alien comedy and action for the kids and the human drama and tragedy for the adults. Though it makes it a little hard for me to watch on my own. Watching it as an adult without having grown up with it (and not having any kids of my own), I see a movie trying to string two completely different stories together, and I find myself gravitating towards one half but not the other.

So, while I can’t really call Lilo & Stitch my fave, I cannot call it a bad film. It has beautiful animation and music and, again the human side of the story is brilliant. It’s touching, it’s moving, it’s realistic, and it’s done very maturely. You don’t see that a lot in animated family films. And while I don’t really like the alien side of the movie, I do appreciate the themes of finding your family and going beyond your purpose. I guess ultimately if I could just tweak the film a little bit, I’d call it a fave. But as it is, Lilo & Stitch is a movie I greatly appreciate, and does deserve the success it got.