Fifteen years ago, on the 21st June 2002, the Disney classic Lilo and Stitch was released in cinemas.
Marking a step-back from the high-profile, big-budget Disney exploits of the mid-1990s, the animated science-fiction comedy followed the introduction of Stitch, a maniacal manufactured creature from the depths of outer-space, into the family of Nani and Lilo on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, as they struggle with the threat of Lilo being taken into care.
The film, which boasts the voice talents of Chris Sanders (also heading the director’s and writer’s chair), Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere, and Jason Scott Lee, was met with a slew of critical acclaim, and was praised for its desertion of uptight traditionalism to offer an “edgier” Disney outing that “explores issues of family while providing a fun and charming story.” The significance here created twofold: the film’s setting firstly, breaking ground as the first ever animated feature to have taken place on any of the Hawaiian islands, a “big leap”, as Sanders said, that “went to colour the entire movie, and rewrite the story for us”, and secondly, perhaps most significantly, its boasting of no less than six Elvis songs on its tracklisting.
The film now flourishes iconic status, having mustered together an entire franchise to follow in its wake, and no more for its emblematic soundtrack than its expert handling of themes of family, responsibility, and, more importantly, ohana.
Check out an iconic scene from the modern classic below: