Lilo & Stitch | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Lilo & Stitch 

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Smart, poignant, and utterly beguiling, this hand-drawn Disney animation celebrates family while appealing to the hell-raising child in all of us. Stitch, a wicked creature condemned to die, escapes from his faraway planet and lands in a Hawaiian village, where he's adopted as a pet by Lilo, a mischievous orphan. Together they run amok, pursued by Lilo's exasperated adoptive sister and by a pair of bumbling aliens sent to earth to capture the escaped con. Directors Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders (who also wrote the script and supplies the voice of Stitch) combine elements of Frankenstein, Home Alone, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in this story of a lonely child and her extraterrestrial friend yearning for a nuclear family. The characters are well drawn (in both senses of the term) and the animation superb, using vivid watercolors to convey lush tropical backgrounds. The climax, an aerial chase straight out of Star Wars, seems to go on forever, but it fails to diminish the film's buoyant spirit. Featuring the voices of Tia Carrere, Jason Scott Lee, and Ving Rhames. 85 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, City North 14, Crown Village 18, Ford City, Gardens 7-13, Lake, Lincoln Village, Norridge, 600 N. Michigan.

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