w Editor’s note: This is the first of a weekly series of reviews of movies with scenes shot on Kauai, or that have a connection to Kauai.
We’ll start with “Lilo &Stitch,” a brilliant 2002 Walt Disney Pictures film that tells the story of an extraterrestrial creature, “Experiment 626,” that is genetically engineered to seek and destroy and cause all sorts of trouble. Stitch is kind of like a little mini Superman, only with big teeth, a devious sense of humor and bent of destruction. It is sentenced to be imprisoned by an alien court of some sort, but escapes and lands its highjacked space ship on Kauai.
And while animated, there are clear depictions of Kauai and its beauty, its colors, its mountains.
Once here, it meets a Hawaiian girl, Lilo Pelekai, who has her own challenges, seems to have no friends and is being looked after by her older sister Nani after their parents are killed in a car crash. Experiment 626 ends up in the animal shelter and, disguised as a most-peculiar-looking dog, is adopted by Lilo.
These two share heart-warming adventures, tender moments and also the destruction of Lilo’s home. Through it all, they form more than a friendship, as this little creature with giant ears becomes part of their family. Despite its design to cause chaos, Stitch learns about becoming part of an ohana. Stitch, made to be a little destroyer, protects this Hawaii family from the intergalactic bad guy sent to bring him in.
Stitch and Lilo are terrific. Lilo has a heart of gold and, as it turns out, so does Stitch. The way they look after each other is what we wish for all our families. Aloha, in the end, rules.
A scene near the end of the movie, when Stitch is finally captured and about to be returned to his world in outer space, is beautiful:
“Can Stitch say goodbye?”
He walks and hugs Lilo, to which the head martian says, “Who are you?”
Stitch’s answer is the stuff of tears.
“This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.”
Few words with a powerful message. The alien leader relents and Stitch gets to stay with his family.
Stitch steals the show with his infectious smile and his impersonation of Elvis.
This movie is still floating around out there in DVD form, and you may find it at a thrift store for a few bucks.
One complaint: It does seem to stereotype visitors as careless, chubby, sunburned Caucasians who carry cameras, rest on lounge chairs and eat ice cream. Doesn’t seem like that was really needed.
But from the opening scene of colorful fish in the ocean, to the closing collage of this ohana, this movie is a delight.
Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.