A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that some elements of this movie's cartoon action (including laser battles, gunfire, characters being captured and held hostage, and explosions) -- as well as the more bizarre-looking monsters -- could be scary for young children and justify the PG rating. Stitch, a small but powerful intergalactic creature, is destructive and angry; he bares his sharp teeth and angry attitude frequently throughout, causing chaos and mayhem wherever he goes. As in many Disney stories, Lilo and her sister Nani are orphans, though the circumstance of their parents' death is referenced only once. In a break from Disney tradition, there are no unredeemable villains; everyone ultimately learns important life lessons, including the heroes, who are far from perfect when the movie begins.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
LILO & STITCH opens on a far-away planet with all kinds of monstrous-looking creatures. One of them, a scientist, has been experimenting with genetics, and has created an indestructible destruction machine called 626 in the form of a mischievous-looking little blue guy. The scientist is thrown in jail, but the experiment escapes and races off to a planet they refer to as "E-Arth." So, the scientist and an expert on Earth are sent after him to capture him with a minimum of fuss. 626 lands in Hawaii and disguises himself as a dog. He is adopted by a tiny little girl named Lilo who is grieving the loss of her parents. She names him Stitch and teaches him that even a creature designed to destroy can learn to create.
Is it any good?
Lilo & Stitch has a cute story, endearing characters, a sensational soundtrack of Elvis classics, and glorious hand-painted animation. At its heart, it's just an old-fashioned story of a child and a pet. But this is not the usual movie child and it is definitely not the usual pet. The Hawaiian location and gorgeous visuals give it a fresh feeling. Instead of the usual wasp-waisted Disney heroine, there's attractive but believable-looking Nani, Lilo's sister, who is struggling to grow up quickly so that she can care for Lilo the way her parents did.
Lilo is irresistibly adorable and her relationship with her sister is a believable mixture of affection, resentment, and connection. Both are deeply affected by the loss of their parents and torn between fearing another loss and just wanting to get it over with. Ving Rhames adds just the right note of wry authority to his role as the social worker with a surprising past, and Jason Scott Lee is fine as the friend who would like to be more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Lilo's definition of a family: "No one gets left behind." What does family mean to you?
Is this movie scarier than other Disney movies (or other cartoon movies in general)? Why or why not?
Why didn't Stitch stay the destructive monster he was designed to be? Did anything surprise you in the scenes at the end that showed what happened to Lilo and Stitch and Nani?
- In theaters: June 21, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: December 3, 2002
- Cast: Chris Sanders, Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere
- Directors: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some peril and scariness
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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