I think I’ve realized I love Lilo & Stitch more than I do Wreck-It Ralph. I never cried during WiR. I cried during Lilo & Stitch. Tears of laughter and tears of sadness. Both. And Lilo and Stitch are still the characters I get most excited to see when I go to Disney World. They reflect a very important time in my life. I was not a highly social child, but when I tried to be, the other girls usually always laughed and turned me away in elementary school when this came out. So something clicked in my head when I saw how Myrtle and the others treated Lilo and to this day, I hate Myrtle. A lot. She reminded me of the girls who picked on me just because I had autism and glasses. And when I saw Lilo go home to listen to music, I realized that that’s what I always did too for a long time. Music is a good coping mechanism. Then I saw her in the “My friends need to be punished” scene and by now, I was already feeling so close to Lilo that I actually tried her voodoo spell from that scene in the hopes karma would get those girls back.
And another point. Nani’s way of raising Lilo reminded me a bit of my mom. Trying her best to be patient, being accepting of Lilo’s feelings and ideas, sometimes losing it and fighting with Lilo but then always coming to hold her and make up with her no matter how ugly the argument was…
And the fact that Lilo didn’t have a father in the actual movie… I do have a father but I’m not super close to him. We hardly even ever talk to each other even though we live in the same house. So I saw myself there with my dad’s low involvement with me as the equivalent.
But I did make best friends with someone my age not long before this movie came out and to this day, it doesn’t matter if we never talk or hang out because when we do see each other, it’s like nothing has ever changed. It’s awesome. We can talk fluently back and forth about anything we can think about and we smile and hug… And since we both had weird obsessions and issues that outcasted us from everyone else since the beginning, I saw Lilo and Stitch as me and my best friend, too.
My best friend, my mom, and this movie really helped me deal with being in the 4th and 5th grade, and even for much of junior high. Pokémon, I might add, and anime/manga also helped, but not quite as much as those top three. Lilo & Stitch showed me that not everyone would dislike me, my best friend was living proof of that, and my mom made everything easier by supporting me through that learning stage.
And on another topic, I love how this movie gets even deeper than that emotional attachment, too. It is also one of the few Disney movies where a guy and a girl are dating, but the romance is actually disrupted a lot for family issues (Nani x David), and one of the characters is almost obviously gay. Or a cross-dresser. Or both. But either way, Disney doesn’t seem to use a lot of this material in their other films, and they are a big name company, so when they acknowledge something like that with their animation, it should be a somewhat huge deal. The fact that they were comfortable enough to make Wendy Pleakly the way he is on screen says something, and the fact that he is accepted too and treated as an equal says something even better.
Literally this movie’s message is that everyone can find where they are loved and where they belong, and that just because you are different does not mean others should treat you differently, nor should you treat them differently. Everyone should be treated equally.
It also teaches that we don’t stay broken either once we find where we belong. Because if we belong somewhere, then that somewhere is where we will be healed and repaired for good. Or it may even teach a message like “Who needs people who treat you bad when you have found the people who treat you equally”. Meaning that once you’ve found where you belong, the outsiders don’t matter anymore. Like in that moment where Stitch is walking up into the ship and stops to ask the Grand Council Woman, “Can Stitch say goodbye?”. Leaving on schedule with her clearly didn’t matter to him as much as that final talk with Lilo and Nani. Strangers or mean people don’t matter when you have love in your heart from and for your friends and family.
And when he sees her looking as he hugs Lilo and Nani, he says “This is my family… I found it. All on my own. It’s little, and broken. But still good. Yeah. Still good.”. So being different together instead of alone, being with them instead of going to jail, was a thousand times more important for Stitch, and the Grand Council Woman could see that and it changed her mind on punishing him. This is where the movie even goes to show that sometimes people you think are scary or mean can also be some of the nicest, most willing people you’ve ever met. This goes with the theme of accepting differences and of forgiveness that coincides with it. She accepted that Stitch had changed though he was still different, and she bent to allow him to remain with his new family. And in that same amount of time, it seems that Cobra and her seem to throw aside some of their differences and talk to one another as equal beings as well.
So in short, Lilo & Stitch is the best Disney movie I think that’s ever been done. I like the romance ones too, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that they are more cliché with the girls getting everything using their beauty, so the only princesses I like are a little more unconventional. Belle is a beauty, but I would think it also took some brains that we couldn’t see to win the Beast over. Ariel is also a beauty, but she actually wins Eric with her voice at first and then with her actions more than just her looks. (Looks wouldn’t have saved her if she had been physically quiet and stand offish all the time!) Mulan is also pretty, but she wins a man over with her brains for battle and her bravery to stand up and prove that women can do anything a man can do. Vanellope is also a kick-ass Disney Princess/President because she would rather break free of the usual Disney female stereotype. Instead of hanging back to be the damsel in distress, she decides to save her Hero in his time of need, and she accepts herself as not being a typical princess visibly. She accepts her differences and embraces both her own and Ralph’s. Like the Lilo & Stitch themes.