This one falls under the ongoing category of "feel-good" movies in my life. It's one that I haven't seen for a few years prior to this viewing, but it's safe to say that I forgot how much I loved it. This one comes to us from a couple of rather decent names in the realm of animation; Dean DeBlois, heavily responsible for the 'How to Train Your Dragon' series, and Chris Sanders who worked on the stories for 'The Lion King' and 'Aladdin' (both worked on 'Mulan' as well).
'Lilo & Stitch' is a good place for any fans of such titles to see where the roots started, so to speak. As we well know by now, this was the beginning of things, but there would be three sequels to follow, marketing, an animated series, more marketing, and also, marketing. That said, I am a fan of Stitch, and would proudly own something like a Stitch plushie. Of course, Disney's no stranger to that side of things, and it should be known that I've come to accept their mass marketing techniques as long as the stories keep on being good! This is a great example of such a thing where it just works on all sides.
Taking place in Kauaʻi, Hawaii (I have been. If you haven't, you've gotta check it out. It's absolutely beautiful!), we meet a couple of sisters who have been left on their own after their parents were killed in a car crash cliche. Nani Pelekai (Tia Carrere) is a near-20-year-old waitress who struggles to take care of her little sister, Lilo (Daveigh Chase), who lives in her own little world of eccentricity and Elvis music. Lilo's classmates end up ostracizing her, which leads to Nani allowing her to get a dog for herself. While searching the animal shelter, Lilo falls for a rather interesting-looking dog who happens to be Stitch (Chris Sanders).
What the audience knows from the beginning, however, is that Stich is really better known as Experiment 626; a sentient alien "criminal" who's ultimately quite intelligent, but also embraces chaos... like if the Joker was adorable. The creature was created by Dr. Jumba Jookiba (David Ogden Stiers) who eventually comes to Earth looking for him, with the help of his assistant, Earth "expert", Agent Wendell Pleakley (Kevin McDonald). Between Stitch dodging his own capture and causing a mess everywhere he goes, and a social worker named Cobra Bubbles (Ving Rhames), Nani finds herself in the midst of it all. As for Lilo, she's kind of the naive, fun child along for the ride - but that doesn't mean she doesn't learn a thing or two in the process.
Personally speaking, I'd probably put this one up there with 'Emperor's New Groove' as far as its quality. It's pretty laugh-out-loud funny, relying more on being silly and fun than the drama these Disney animated features usually tend to be. I wouldn't say it's my favourite animated Disney film, but it's definitely somewhere well within my "Top 10" (a list I should probably actually make one of these days). It has some fun ideas going for it along with a solid sense of humour, original creature designs, a solid story, and lovable characters. It's a fine example of fun for the whole family, and a new title to seek out for feeling down in the dumps.