Critique of “Lilo & Stitch” (2002)

Image derived from Pixabay – Creature is NOT a character from the film, nor representing one

I saw this movie with camp when I was eight. It was one of Disney’s few successful features in the early 2000’s. It had a few sequels and even a TV series on Disney Channel.

The story centers around an alien and a little girl from Hawaii desperate for a friend. Stitch is blasted off a planet. At that point, he is dangerous and his identity is Experiment 626.

The POV switches to Lilo, a small girl late for her luau class after feeding Pudge the fish his peanut-butter sandwich. Lilo and the other girls break out into a fight and then she runs away unsupervised.

Her older sister, Nani, gets in trouble with a man from CPS named Cobra Bubbles, as a consequence for Lilo’s escape. After an argument between the two, Nani forgives Lilo.

The two go to adopt a dog, since Lilo feels that she has no friends. Lilo chooses Stitch, thinking he is a dog. Their time begins from there.

Now here are the strengths of this film.

1: The plot

In some ways, it reminds me a lot of Beauty and the Beast. The structure of scenes, the characterizations and actions of both Stitch and Lilo, and how they go from an unhealthy to heartwarming bond. Does that ring a bell? I can’t imagine this was intentional, but it was well-executed.

2: The Elvis music

Not often do you hear pop music in a Disney movie. Although Lilo & Stitch is sometimes treated like classics such as The Little Mermaid, or Pinocchio, it sometimes is not.

Only Nani sings, but it’s brief and more of a way to cheer Lilo up for something.

But the scenes where Stitch plays the guitar dressed as Elvis and where “Hound Dog” and “Burning Love” play are great.

3: The way this film was promoted

As a way to promote the movie, Stitch barged into classics, such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. I love this line from the Aladdin and Belle: “Get your own movie.” Belle really is a funny girl.

I will admit, however, that the picture quality wasn’t the strongest.

Which brings me to moments that could’ve been improved or explained better…

1: How does Stitch learn to speak?

The alien somehow goes from monstrous feral beast to knowing how to use developed speech like a human. Yet, it is never explained why or how.

I was surprised to hear that there is talk on making a live-action Lilo and Stitch remake. However, as of 2023, it has been called off. But it’d be nice if the question gets answered.

2: Why was Cobra Bubbles there for Lilo’s birthday in that brief scene?

I get he was an important character, but doesn’t anyone find it a bit strange to invite someone from CPS to celebrate a child’s birthday? I wouldn’t do that.

3: Nani and Lilo don’t always act their ages

Like many Disney movies, their ages aren’t revealed. However, I read on other sources that Nani is supposed to be 19, and Lilo is supposed to be 6. Yet, there are times where they act younger.

One time is when Lilo sticks her tongue out at Nani because of some ridiculous conversation. Nani does the same thing—which she’s way too old to do—especially to a little kid, whom she is the legal guardian of, because their parents had died before the events of this movie.

Another time is after Nani yells at Lilo about how she could be taken away after fleeing the dance school unsupervised, she screams into a pillow—which is also immature for someone her age.

The scene switches to Lilo screaming into a pillow, too. While it’s appropriate for a 6-year-old to take out her stress through that method, some of Lilo’s other actions are not.

Examples include:

  • When she bit Myrtle, another girl in her luau class.
  • When she couldn’t pronounce the word, “animals.”
  • The fact that she and the other girls in her dance class still ride tricycles.

Until Lilo’s age was revealed through various sources outside the movie, I had thought she couldn’t have been older than 4 or 5.


Although the strengths and weaknesses seem even, the strengths win as they are more major. Thus, I rate Lilo & Stitch 5 out of 5 stars.

Published by Sunayna Prasad

I enjoy writing stories, creating artwork, watching movies and TV shows, cooking, and traveling. These are the topics of my posts. I also publish books, where you can learn about them on my website, Be sure to copy and paste the link and subscribe to my newsletter on the email list button on the homepage.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: