Lilo & Stitch
Credit: Lilo & Stitch: © Disney

It would be nice to report that Stitch, the blue, pearly-toothed extraterrestrial gremlin who splashes down in Hawaii at the start of Lilo & Stitch, was a charismatic little monster. A genetic experiment rejected by his planet, Stitch certainly looks colorful; he’s like a demonic koala bear crossed with Pikachu from Pokémon. The moment that he springs into action, however, gobbling down food and speaking in what sounds like angry samurai gibberish, this born-to-be-a-franchise-doll creature suggests nothing so much as a kiddie version of Chris Kattan’s Mr. Peepers on ”Saturday Night Live.” He’s a one-joke primitive, with zero dimension as a character. He would have been stuck somewhere in the back of a closet in the ”Toy Story” films.

The animation in ”Lilo & Stitch” has an engaging retro-simple vivacity, and it’s nice to see a movie for tots make use of Elvis Presley, but the story is witless and oddly defanged. Stitch gets discovered by Lilo, a temperamental Hawaiian girl who’s the whiniest of whiny brats. These two become friends in theory only: There’s so little connection between them that just about the only thing sustaining the movie is its vague ”E.T.” outline. By the end, of course, Stitch has become ”lovable,” a cuddle-beast in search of a family, but ”Lilo & Stitch” is a family movie with a heart that someone forgot to color in.

Lilo & Stitch
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