Thursday, March 06, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Lilo & Stitch (2002) ***

PG, 85 min.
Directors: Dean DuBlois, Chris Sanders
Writers: Chris Sanders, Dean DuBlois
Voices: Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere, David Ogden Stiers, Kevin McDonald, Ving Rhames, Chris Sanders, Zoe Caldwell, Jason Scott Lee, Kevin Michael Richardson

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this one. Out of the blue, my twelve-year-old requested this movie for our weekly family movie night. He watched it endlessly when he was little. He’s our only kid who had the patience for movies in those formative years. I guess he was feeling nostalgic.

Anyway, watching this has made me realize just how much innocence has been lost in family films just over the past decade. “Lilo & Stitch” is just a sweet film. I’m not sure they make those anymore, even for families. Take a look at “The Croods” from last year. The title says it all. Being crude is more important in a “family” film than promoting family values. And that’s a movie that does promote family values; they just aren’t as high on the filmmakers’ priority list.

Now, because it is innocent, it seems targeted more for kids than adults than what we’re used to today. Man, we adults just mess everything up. In Hollywood’s push to broaden their audiences and please the parents who attend animated fare as much as the children, the children have been pushed right out of the equation.

Look at Stitch here. He’s supposed to be a menacing monster at first, but softens once he becomes part of a family. However, he’s pretty cute and funny to begin with. There’s never any real threat to anything going on because everything is pretty goofy. And, instead of the message of family values being a side note to the jokes, it is the main thrust of the story. The characters are totally relatable, rather than caricatures of family members. Lilo reminds me so much of a little girl I know, that it’s hard to believe she didn’t even exist at that time to be the personality on which Lilo was based.

So maybe “Lilo & Stitch” wasn’t as enjoyable for adults as today’s animated films. Unfortunately, something has been lost in the transition from purely child-oriented filmmaking to something more universally appealing. I haven’t seen Disney’s “Frozen” yet and truly hope it is a return to what Disney has always done best, making great stories for children that adults can enjoy as well, rather than the other way around.

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