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Lilo & Stitch - a first review

Discussion in 'Archive' started by Dirk, May 22, 2002.

  1. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    HI there, HO there,

    I was so lucky to see "Lilo & Stitch" during a press screening and thought I let you know what I think about it.

    First of all: the movie is GREAT! For the first time Disney has managed to combined there "classical" style of sweet fairytale like stories with an modern adventure touch without loosing its classical core audience from view. While the opening sequence in space may make parents with younger children wonder wether they are in the right movie (is this Disney or Titan AE??) as soon as the characters are able to interact (that is as soon as the story gets underway on earth) we are back in save Disney territory just with a bit mor high energy on the side of Stitch.

    The character of Stitch is just great - how he communicates with the world and how he eveolves during the roughly 90 minutes the movie takes is wonderful, sure there are some loopholes in the story (why the hell is the evil scientist so friendly in the end?? When and why did he change too?) but sitting in the theater you wont notice them. For the first time in many, many years a Disney movie was able to really catch me again, I really lived with the characters, felt sorry for Lilo, got desperate with Stitch - GREAT! Disney is back to its former glory as it has created not only an entertaining story but also some wonderful lively characters. Under these circumstances it is even acceptable that some of the minor characters are mainly copies of famous movie characters or at least based on them (e.g. MIB).


    So far for the good side of the movie - but there is a not so good one too: the soundtrack.

    The score is just marvellous - it enhances the the experiences and is really in-sync with the what is seen on the big screen. It really mirrors the emotions of the characters and the audience - plus: it has some great themes. It also works great along with the few original Hawaian-parts of the songs. These are just perfect to create the atmosphere and transport you to Hawaii. But those Elvis songs?? Sorry they just don't fit. There is no logical cause why Lilo is an Elvis-fan and for listening to Elvis songs now and then. While this wouldn't be too big of a problem there isn't a single scene where the tempo of the action on the screen and the Elvis song really go along. There is always an obvious distance between the movie and the Elvis songs, as if somebody had taken the original score off the movie and isntead just played a random Elvis song instead. Actually I felt thrown a bit out of the world of the movie everytime one of the Elvis scongs was used to underscore a scene isntead of the score which worked a long a lot better.

    I'm sorry to say but the decision to choose those Elvis song is the one big mistake of an otherwise great movie. I doubt the soundtrack will sell as good as those in the past, at least there is no cause for buying it besides the few non-Elvis tracks. Based on the fact that "normal" customers go for a soundtrack because songs / score in a movie really impressed them I doubt that anybody will feel impressed by the Elvis songs which just don't fit.




    Yours
    Dirk
     
  2. Gurgitoy2

    Gurgitoy2 Active Member

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    I hope somewhere down the line Disney decides to release the score for this movie. Unless all we can hope for is the Oscar promo score CD... Or maybe somebody will release a bootleg like they did with Mulan, Tarzan, and The Black Cauldron.
     
  3. Jessica L

    Jessica L Member

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    Wow Dirk - thanks for a great report! I am even more excited to see this movie now (is that even possible? ;) ). I'm so glad that Disney has found its footing again (course I really enjoyed Tarzan, ENG, and Atlantis so who am I to say anything...). Stitch has got to be the most adorable Disney (or elsewhere) character ever created (after Figment of course! ;D ) and I just love the beautiful animation. I've heard bits of the two original songs and they sound great as well. I agree about the Elvis - I know this movie is set in the 1950s - but still! I don't care for Elvis - but I will certainly tolerate it for my beloved Stitch!

    29 days to opening day! Can't wait!! :D

    Thanks again,
    Jessica
     
  4. X-S Tech

    X-S Tech Active Member

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    I have been hearing for so long now how dire the situation at Disney Feature Animation is, and for almost as long I have also been hearing what a great little film Lilo and Stitch is. As the news got worse and worse, the one ray of light at the end of the tunnel was Lilo & Stitch. Maybe this will be the film to turn it all around and show the studios that audiences still have an appetite for traditionally animated films. Sadly I was told the other day that Feature Animation Burbank cease to create 2-D films as of Dec. this year. And I quote "Even if Lilo & Stitch does Lion King numbers, the decision has already been made". So thats it. They just don't care. Disney doesn't care how much 2-D animation means to people. They've decided the fiscal risks are too great and that 3-D films are sure fire hits. Why give the public an unexpected surprise and keep them guessing when you can give them the flavor of the month. Now of course we can all look forward to Treasure Planet still, and Home on the Range (formerly Sweating Bullets) and Florida has 2 more 2-D films in the early stages of production. But the end is near.
    And yet I was given a ray of hope. It was hinted at that they may consider doing 2-D again in another 3 years or so, provided that 3-D isn't the evergreen money tree that they expect. That they might reconsider and realize that a good story is a good story regardless of the medium. Or they might just decide that making movies is too costly and unpredictable and pour all of their efforts into kids clothes and Disney Channel Original Series'.
     
  5. Michael Zielski

    Michael Zielski Member

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    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Lilo and Stitch, Dirk. As I've written on some other threads, I have never been fond of the concept of using Elvis songs in this movie. Over the past several weeks though, I decided to let it rest, and not try to pre-judge the idea. I even pulled out my mother's old "Blue Hawaii" soundtrack that we used to play over and over again in the 60's, to investigate the Elvis issue further! I have to admit, and maybe it's just nostalgia, but I did enjoy hearing some of those songs again, having not heard most of them for more than 30 years! Then I thought that if there was a real commitment to using Elvis songs, then why didn't they use some of the genuine "Hawaiian Elvis" songs from the movie--I guess I'm getting carried away..... In any case, I'll still always prefer original songs--and in this case, I thought that some Hawaiian roots-based music would have been great!
    I'm really looking forward to Alan Silvestri's score now, Dirk, after your comments. And, as I've also said before, I'd consider it a slap in the face to the composer if the score isn't released! If they're insistant on an Elvis-based CD with just a splattering of score, then why can't they do what was done with the Princess Diaries--a separate CD of John Debney's score?
    As far as the other comments concerning traditional animation, I just can't understand how the beauty of this genre can be abandoned! I think that what has made the recent CGI films so successful is not the imagery itself(which I think fails with its' interpretation of the human form), but the strength of the stories. I wasn't so sure what to think when these films first came out, and where they would fit in, but now I'm convinced that CGI can never replace traditional animation--just look at the timeless artistry that was achieved with a picture like Sleeping Beauty, something that CGI can never equal! Eyvind Earle's background paintings vs. images formed on a digital screen? Give me a break! And Bill, great comment about what it really takes to create the "magic," and the disrespect to Walt's vision. So while I'm talking about slapping Alan Silvestri in the face, let's just keep it going and make Walt himself next!
    In the meantime, let's check out Lilo and Stitch for ourselves. Michael.
     
  6. 1313

    1313 Member

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    I saw much of L&S while it was being mixed and was thoroughly unimpressed. It looked cheap (think Saturday morning) and the so-called storyline was awful. Of course, I haven't seen the finished project so I suppose some miracle could have taken place during editing. (Doubtful.)

    Regardless, I haven't met a single person who has expressed the slightest interest in seeing L&S. Family, friends and the usual Disney people we know all seem to think Spirit looks like a better way to spend time in a movie theater watching animation.

    The kids in our extended circle seem to have a particularly strong aversion to the Stitch character.

    L&S has tested poorly and perhaps more portentous, Eisner hates it and is resigned to the assumption that it will tank even harder than either of the last two animated features.

    The end of Disney 2D animation isn't near... it is here - and in theaters on June 21.


    1313
     
  7. David S.

    David S. Member

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    > Family, friends and the usual Disney people we know all seem to think Spirit looks like a better way to
    spend time in a movie theater watching animation.


    I just saw Spirit. Very heartwarming, very touching. It had CGI backgrounds but all the characters appeared to be traditionally animated. I thought the intergration of the two techniques was done very well and the film looked beautiful.

    It has an enjoyable score by Hans Zimmer. Song-wise, they used the same technique used in Tarzan - hire a pop star (Bryan Adams) to write and perform the songs as an offscreen voice. I can't say all the songs blew me away on first listen but at least they were originals written for the film and lyrically commented on the story.

    The most important thing though is I left the theatre feelng uplifted. I know there are folks at Disney Feature Animation capable of creating the same feeling and I hope they will be given a chance to do so in the future.

    David
     
  8. Jessica L

    Jessica L Member

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    1313 - I have to say I STRONGLY disagree with you!

    "Regardless, I haven't met a single person who has expressed the slightest interest in seeing L&S."
    Obviously you haven't met me and about 200 other Disney fans that I've spoken with who are anxiously awaiting this movie. I have never been more excited a movie - ANY movie.

    "The kids in our extended circle seem to have a particularly strong aversion to the Stitch character."
    That's funny - because I've talked with many people who say that their children love Stitch. Not to mention all of the adults who love him as well.

    'L&S has tested poorly and perhaps more portentous, Eisner hates it and is resigned to the assumption that it will tank even harder than either of the last two animated features."
    Are you kidding? Eisner has said that he loves the movie - and is putting full faith behind it. They even went so far as to put Lilo and Stitch on the cover of their Annual Report - something that hasn't happened since the Aladdin/Lion King days. They are promoting the heck out of this movie - I doubt you've seen the five story billboard on Times Square? Or the numerous trailers? Or the multitude of merchandise already on the market? If they really thought this movie was going to blow - do you think they would be promoting it so much? Think back to Emperor's New Groove...

    "The end of Disney 2D animation isn't near... it is here - and in theaters on June 21."
    Yeah, um, no... Sorry - I highly disagree with you on this one. The story, animation (watercolor backgrounds!), and the characters are all wonderful. Spirit looks like every other movie that's come out - only it looks dumb. Lilo and Stitch is unique, clever, and full of heart. Maybe you won't be in the movie theater on June 21st - but I will sure be first in line. Then I will be heading to WDW - to be with true Disney fans. If you hate Disney so much - don't torture yourself by doing anything related to it. Leave the magic for people who truly understand it.

    Jessica
     
  9. 1313

    1313 Member

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    "If you hate Disney so much - don't torture yourself by doing anything related to it. Leave the magic for people who truly understand it."

    Goodness, I just expressed my opinion concerning what I've personally seen and heard regarding L&S. Who said anything about hating Disney... or anybody else, for that matter?

    The film *has* tested very poorly, exhibitors are wary and Eisner and his gang seem prepared for L&S to bomb. That is not to say that if it doesn't, they won't be pleased.

    TENG had more billboards, banners and bus stop advertising in and around LA than any feature in a long while. So, I wouldn't take L&S's marketing campaign as an indication of faith in the project.

    I hope you enjoy the picture when it opens and that you learn to be a bit more pleasant when you disagree with someone else's opinions.

    1313
     
  10. Jessica L

    Jessica L Member

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    1313 - I'm sorry for lashing out at you. I've been getting so fed up with people always complaining about every single thing Disney has done lately. I finally see a great review abou something I've been very excited about, and then everyone goes and beats that down too. I guess I just snapped. Everything I've read states that Eisner and team are very happy with this movie and I've seen nothing that counteracts this. If you have any articles or such to prove otherwise, please send them to me. Again, I'm very sorry for losing my patience, and taking it out on you. In 27 days I'll make my own opinion of the movie.

    Jessica
     
  11. 1313

    1313 Member

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    Please, don't worry about it. Good for you for being passionate!

    I know what you mean with regard to nothing-but-negative statements. I was not trying to join that crowd. I am a huge fan of Disney (2D) animation!

    As far as "if you have any articles or such to prove otherwise" -- be advised that I am only repeating things which I have personally heard Mike and his boys discuss during marketing, tie-in and other related events.

    NO ONE would be happier if L&S was a hit than Mr. E. Trust me!

    All the best,


    1313
     
  12. will

    will Member

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    I received an email from Disney.com about 2-weeks ago about the Lilo & Stitch CD, an advanced notice about it becoming availbable in stores, but here is the weird part, it had a link to purchase the cd at walmart.com, no mention of disneystore.com, or the Disney Stores, Wal-Mart for God sake.

    You would think that a company, like Disney, who owns their own retail stores and retail website, would market the cd to an upcoming movie to their own under-performing stores. No wonder they are losing money. Maybe this is their attempt to curb the Dreamworks SPIRIT flow of customers, since Wal-Mart is advertising the heck out of their movie. Disney won't even toss their own stores a bone to play catch-up with Dreamworks.
     
  13. Shane

    Shane Member

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    Y'know, it's sad to see just how prophetic Jeff's (in)famous WalMart on Main St. post really was... ;)
     
  14. Jeff N Orange Coun

    Jeff N Orange Coun Member

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    Jeesh...(embarrassed lokk on face) Thanks Shane .. I think.

    Maybe they have to sell them at Walmart to make the required cash to pay Graceland Inc., I'm sure Priscilla didn't give the Elvis songs away.

    One big happy corporate family.

    And sorry L&S fans. This is the first year since Pocahantas that my family wont be going to El Capitan or opening night. I cant justify the trip or the bucks for another forgetabble madcap animated sitcom like ENG.

    Walt was about Class.
     
  15. Michael Zielski

    Michael Zielski Member

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    Jeff, I may be wrong, but I think we all need to at least give L&S a chance! I was certainly doubtful initially, especially with the Presley songs, but I'm going to withhold judgment at this point until I see it for myself. Everyone, check out the article in this week's Newsweek about L&S--it speaks of the minimal use of CGI, and the primary use of traditonal animation techniques, including lush watercolor backgrounds(makes me think of Eyvind Earle's wonderful background work for Sleeping Beauty). That definitely perked by interest. Then, in speaking to one of the local Disney Store managers yesterday, I learned that there are apparently a number of fairly complex social issues at work in the film--Lilo has lost her parents, and is being raised by a relative--that speaks of trouble right off the bat, so she seeks comfort and solace in the Presley songs(wouldn't be my choice, but who's listening to Jimmie Rodgers these days?). So as I mentioned earlier, I guess I'm going to burn my mother's old "Blue Hawaii" album onto a CD-R, put on the headphones, pour a beer, dream of being back in Maui--and then go see the movie!
    C'mon, go ahead and see it on opening night--you and your family will have a good time--Walt would probably want us all to go. Michael.
     
  16. Jessica L

    Jessica L Member

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    Thank you Michael! :)

    Jessica
     

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