"Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten."
Entry #42 in the Disney Animated Canon, this 2002, 2-D animated film was critically acclaimed. Set mainly in the lush Hawaiian island of Kauai, this movie was a significant breakaway for Disney on many counts, including an unconventional protagonist, "inter-STITCH-al" trailers, the lack of either romance troubles or a real villain and the score drawn from home-grown Hawaiian songs and artists — and, of course, Elvis. Unlike other Disney animated films, Disney was hands-off the creative development and did not interfere with the story: director Chris Sanders wanted the film to reflect his own drawing style, and he wrote the entire draft along with his directing partner Dean DeBlois.Recent orphans of a car accident, sisters Nani and Lilo are practically alone in the world except for each other. Lilo, often lost in her own world, neither understands nor is understood by her hula classmates. Nani loves her little sister, but the stress of responsibility makes her a bit short-tempered and resentful. Unbeknownst to them, Dr. Jumba Jookiba, the maddest scientist to splice genetics this side of the Milky Way, stands trial for having created, illegally, a new life form (actually 626 life forms, but it is the 626th that we're concerned with). Stitch has a vast capacity for knowledge, spectacular combat abilities, and a programmed instinct to destroy anything he comes across. Escaping from the United Galactic Federation, Stitch takes a shortcut to the closest planet, which is 70% water (important because he is too dense to swim or float) — and miraculously lands on the bitty archipelago in the middle of the Pacific, the island of Kauai. He adopts Lilo as readily as Lilo adopts him. However, while Lilo wants a companion, Stitch wants a human shield to deter Dr. Jumba, who is hot on his trail, with the help of the neurotic Agent Pleakley. Stitch inadvertently learns the meaning of ohana: "Ohana means family. Family means, no one gets left behind or forgotten." In other words, True Companions.The film was both a massive critical and financial success - Stitch quickly skyrocketed into being one of the most popular characters in the Disney Animated Canon, and it launched the directorial career of Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, who get a bit of Creator Worship for both this film and Dreamworks'How to Train Your Dragon, as well as engendering some bitterness towards John Lasseter when he fired them from Disney.The idea of 625 other experiments by Jumba was inevitably too tempting not to develop into Lilo & Stitch: The Series. A few episodes crossed over with Kim Possible, The Proud Family, Recess, and American Dragon Jake Long. This series was bookended by Stitch! The Movie, a direct-to-video film which kicked it off, and Leroy & Stitch, another DTV film that acted as the finale for the series.During the creation of the series another DTV film was made. This one was called Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch. This movie takes place shortly after the original film, effectively acting as a direct sequel, and before Stitch! The Movie. In it, we discover that Stitch was never fully charged during his creation and suffers fits that revert him to his original programming. Unless he is recharged, he will shut down permanently. Lilo and Stitch 2 was originally slated for a theatrical release, but the poor returns from Jungle Book 2 made Disney reconsider just as the movie was complete and had it released straight to video. The fact that none of the other experiments are mentioned nor Gantu is shown as well as the high production values make this pretty obvious that it was meant to be theatrical. Also included on the DVD was a short film, The Origin of Stitch, which also takes place before Stitch! The Movie.Stitch's habit of sneaking into other shows and platforms resulted not just in the movie's teaser trailers, but also in a short cameo in The Lion King 1½ and a role in the Kingdom Hearts video game series.An anime series, Stitch!, has been made for the Japanese market and began airing in October of 2008, featuring the new protagonist Yuna. The series established itself as a Time Skip from the original franchise in a 2011 episode where Stitch reunites with an adult Lilo. It began airing on Disney XD in North America on October 24, 2011 and lasted less than a week due to the network paying more attention to Rated "A" for Awesome.Now has a character sheet.
Many a parent watching it in the theatres gripped the seats when Nani saw a fire truck and prayed, "Don't turn left" in the direction their house was.
And not long after, she watches a giant alien kidnapping Lilo. When she asks Jumba and Pleakley to help her get Lilo back, they're forced to tell her that there's no way that can happen (fortunately, Stitch convinces them otherwise).
From Cobra's perspective, pretty much everything that happens in the first meeting is horrifying if you don't know that Lilo's lying.
Aerial Canyon Chase: The climax involves Jumba, Pleakley, Nani, and Stitch flying in a giant spaceship to save Lilo from Gantu, who accidentally captured her while attempting to capture Stitch (he escaped), by chasing him down a series of volcano-filled canyons located all over Hawaii.
Originally, they were going to go after Gantu by chasing him down with a stolen passenger jet into the capital city of Honolulu, but due to 9/11, the entire scene had to be reanimated into what we see in the final version of the film.
Affably Evil: Jumba Jookiba may constantly boast over his status as an evil genius, and he may have created over 600 super-destructive aliens, but he's a pretty decent and sociable guy overall.
Grand Councilwoman: Take note of this. This creature is hereby sentenced to life in exile, a sentence that shall be henceforth served out here, on Earth. And as caretaker of the alien life form Stitch, this family is hereby under the protection of the United Intergalactic Federation. We'll be checking in now and then. Cobra Bubbles: I was afraid you were going to say that. This won't be easy to explain back at headquarters.
Air-Vent Passageway: Part of Stitch's escape from the prison transport ship. Justified, because Stitch is small enough to fit into them and he can squeeze into impossibly tight places.
Aliens Speaking English: Justified in Stitch's case, he's super-intelligent and learns it over the course of the film. As for the other aliens, not even handwaved.
Pleakley is considered an expert on Earth, so him knowing English would make sense (though how much he actually knows is up for debate if you look at how he treats mosquitoes).
All of the Other Reindeer: The movie shows that Lilo is rejected by her peers for being "weird", while Stitch is rejected by the entire Galactic Federation (this is at least marginally understandable, however, given Stitch's destructive powers and fondness for anarchy).
The trailers and print advertising played around with this, showing Stitch being rejected by various members of the Disney Animated Canon; the tag line was "There's one in every family."
Ambiguous Disorder: Lilo's mix of eccentricities, behavioral issues, social inappropriateness, and unusual interests (not many six-year-old girls these days are obsessed with Elvis—let alone voodoo).
American Accents: Hawaiian Creole — a combination of American English and the Hawaiian language commonly spoken in Hawai'i — is found throughout the film, and consensus among native speakers is that it was done well.
As well as his older cousin 625, whose entire existence is mostly based around sandwiches and Deadpan Snarking.
And Then What?: Briefly played for drama in the scene where Stitch, after trashing Lilo's room, looks around impatiently, and Jumba observes:
Jumba: This is interesting. Pleakley: What? Jumba: 626 was created for destruction, but now there is nothing to destroy. You see, I never created a greater purpose for him. What must it be like to have... nothing... not even memories to visit... in the middle of the night?
Stitch, who possesses super-strength, is able to pull a semi-truck to a stop. In the sequel, he actually keeps a space ship from taking off by grabbing onto it. In truth, regardless of how strong he is, a creature of Stitch's light weight could never do these things unless he also had super-anchoring powers.
These instances also don't take into account how Stitch can somehow manage to lift or pull these vehicles in their entirety without a part of them getting yanked off.
Stitch is dense, and therefore can't swim. He's the size of a small dog, and doesn't appear to weigh much more than one either; the five-year-old Lilo is able to lift him with minimal difficulty. Density is a function of both size and mass, so if he's able to pass for a dog in all respects, weight included, he should have the same approximate density as Lilo does.
Used to draw early parallels between Lilo and Stitch; both have the word abomination applied to them early on (Stitch by the Galactic Councilwoman, and Lilo hypothetically by herself). The two "Does this look infected to you?" lines serve a similar purpose.
Big Stupid Doodoo Head: Nani is almost hit by a car as she rushes back home and shouts at the driver, "Watch where you're going, stupidhead!" It comes back to bite her when said "stupidhead" turns out to be the social worker assigned to her.
Jumba: After all you put me through, you expect me to help you, just like that?! Just like that?! Stitch: Ih. ["Yes."] [beat] Jumba: Fine! Pleakley: "Fine?" You're doing what he says?! Jumba: He is very persuasive.
Bowdlerization: On the theater and home video version of this movie in the United Kingdom, the scene of Lilo hiding in a clothes dryer was redrawn so that way Lilo's hiding in a strange cupboard with a pizza box for a door (The UK — no matter what the rating of the movie — always edits out scenes of harmful, dangerous, and illegal activities that younger, more impressionable viewers will think is okay to imitate). When the film is aired on TV, this part is just outright removed.
Brick Joke: Earth is a wildlife reserve for the endangered species mosquito. It's a throwaway joke at the beginning of the film, it gets a follow-up throwaway joke in the middle of the film and the brick hits you right in the face at the end.
That poor fat sunburned tourist can't have his ice cream in peace. It's fate.
Also doubles as a Visual Pun: he throws a blue Volkswagen Beetle with the line, "Blue Punch Buggy!" It's a reference to the classic car game of "Punch Buggy"—you call out the line and punch the guy next to you (lightly) whenever you see a Beetle.
Lilo: [on the phone] Hello, Cobra Bubbles? Aliens are attacking my house.
Catch Phrase: "Ohana means family. And family means no one gets left behind ...or forgotten."
Cel Shading: All the spacecrafts and automobiles in the film.
Chainsaw Good: "Oh, it's okay now. My dog found the chainsaw." Though Stitch is stopped before he gets to use it.
Chekhov's Gun: When Lilo and Nani first 'buy' Stitch at the animal shelter Lilo receives a certificate with a stamp on it stating that Stitch is now hers for two dollars. While this is not truly important at the time, it turns out that the certificate gives the Grand Councilwoman an excuse not to bring the rehabilitated Stitch in for crimes he'd been convicted of, since it would be considered stealing if the Councilwoman takes him away from his owner. Good thing she had it conveniently in her favorite mumu, huh? In Cobra Bubbles' own words, "Aliens are all about rules."
Cobra gives his card to Lilo when they first meet, she calls him when she's being attacked by aliens.
Clark Kenting: Stitch, who is believed to be a dog (although a lot of people are incredulous, and Nani notes that he looks more like "an evil koala"), and more notably Jumba and Pleakley masquerading as humans. Could be related to Weirdness Censor.
It could also be related to people being too polite to bring up the fact that Jumba and Pleakley look like deformed people. When Nani worries about how "swollen" Pleakley's head is and Jumba casually says "Actually, she's just ugly", Nani looks rather uncomfortable.
Cloudcuckoolander: Lilo is clearly a little touched in the head; it could be a method for coping with the death of her parents, or she could have been just as quirky beforehand. In either case, it's enough to drive away girls her own age and disturb adults. The creepy homemade doll, making voodoo on her hula halau-mates using spoons and pickle jars ("My friends need to be punished"), Elvis obsession, and worship of a fish (who apparently controls the weather) don't help her case. Fortunately, Lilo has good friends in a bunch of aliens who came to Earth. And a hovercraft!
Come Back My Pet: Lilo tells Stitch to go away after she discovers that he's an alien, and that he's the reason that they were being pursued by Jumba and Pleakley. Right after, however, she gets captured by Gantu, and Stitch rescues her.
Convection Schmonvection: At one point Stitch drives a fuel tanker straight into a pool of lava, with no problem. While Stitch was explicitly stated to be fireproof at the start of the film, justifying this trope somewhat, the tanker's wheels should have at least caught fire on the approach.
Contrived Coincidence: Stitch lands on a small island in the middle of the ocean with no large cities; this renders about 90% of his destructive programming moot. Lilo gives it an unwitting Lampshade Hanging.
Lilo: It's good to live on an island with no large cities. Stitch: [moans and faints]
Earlier, the Genre Savvy Grand Councilwoman gets her hopes up when she hears that the 'dangerous experiment' will crash-land in water that he cannot float in... and then sees that the crash trajectory ends on a little, tiny island.
Grand Councilwoman: [resigned] Of course.
Cool Starship: Jumba's ship, as well as the humongous vessel Gantu captains early in the movie.
Councilwoman: A quiet capture would require an understanding of 626 that we do not possess! Who then, Mr. Pleakley, would you send for his extraction? Pleakley: ...Does he have a brother? [Councilwoman rolls her eyes] Close grandmother, perhaps?
Earth Is the Center of the Universe: An intergalactic criminal is put on trial and given his sentence. When he escapes from the transport, the galactic conference watches in awe as the torn up ship descends on a certain protected nature reserve in a certain solar system.
Also inverted; Earth is seen as uncivilized and only worth preserving for the endangered mosquito species.
Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Although the invasion is never shown to have actually happened, Earth avoids invasion by being the natural habitat of a highly endangered species... mosquitoes. What's more, the decision was apparently based entirely on the testimony of the Earth-native who tricked them, with not even a basic survey done to see if it was true.
There was a little bit of implied help from the seemingly Obstructive Bureaucrat, who in a twist of that trope was helping the good guys for once. At the very least, when they get (back) to Earth, she recognizes the secret agent that masterminded the whole shenanigans to save the world in the first place when they showed up the first times, and seems to be on relatively friendly terms.
Endangered Species: Averted: mosquitoes. The Men in Black convinced the Galactic Federation that mosquitoes were endangered to prevent alien interference. Apparently, this is the only thing that stopped them from gassing the entire planet when Stitch escaped here.
Explosion Propulsion: Stitch propels himself to Gantu's ship by driving a gasoline truck into a volcano, sitting on the tank and ripping a hole on the side so that it blows up. Good thing he has Nigh-Invulnerability, or else that would have been painful.
Face Palm: After Stitch escapes from his confinement and goes to hyperdrive, Captain Gantu does this while saying, "Get me Galactic Control..."
During the rescue of Lilo near the movie's climax, Nani expresses worry over the mission. Jumba reassures her that they are professionals...shortly before telling Stitch to spit something out. Nani responds with this trope.
Falling Chandelier: The Beauty and the Beast InterStitchal trailer features the ballroom scene, with Stitch watching from the chandelier - until it crashes to the ground from his weight, almost crushing the two.
Family of Choice: Their "family" is composed of two sisters, a reformed all destroying monster, the (mostly) reformed creator of said monster and an incompetent bureaucrat knows:
"'Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten."
Finger in a Barrel: When Stitch steals Jumba's plasma pistol, Jumba jams a carrot in the barrel right as he fires. This causes the gun to go into an overload spiral, eventually exploding violently and leveling the house.
First Pet Story: Lilo expects a dog to drink out of a baby bottle and sleep in a doll bed, and Nani is inclined to return him to the pound when things don't seem to be working out. Stitch, however, is not a normal pet, so most of the incidents in the movie are not consistent with what would happen getting a real dog.
Free-Range Children: Lilo is about six years old, yet she runs about Hawaii with Stitch, and no adults.
In one scene Nani simply hands Lilo some money and leaves her in the middle of town on her own while she's at work. Clearly there was a reason they sent in The Man When Things Go Wrong before Stitch came into the picture. Luckily, the whole "Ohana" thing probably means Lilo has grown-up friends in the neighborhood looking out for her, but Nani is still pretty negligent, given that she's only about nineteen in the first film.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: Stitch hits Jumba with the VW Beetle and knocks him into Nani's bed, over which hangs a poster of surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku. When Stitch pins Jumba with the Beetle, Duke briefly has a shocked expression on his face, visible for only a fraction of a second.
Gainaxing: The female lifeguard who Nani attempts to get a job from has some restrained, yet noticeable, bouncing occur as soon as Stitch causes the panic on the beach.
Genius Bruiser: Jumba is smart enough to create an incredibly powerful genetic experiment, and strong enough to go toe to toe with said experiment in order to obtain amnesty for the crime of creating him. He did better against Stitch than a 20-foot tall whaleman who was an expert in combat.
Stitch himself also qualifies, he can think faster than a supercomputer and can lift objects hundreds of times his own weight.
Gentle Giant: Inverted with Stitch - short, destructive, and so doggone cute and fluffy to boot.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Subverted in that it's not in the movie, but the deleted scene did make it onto the DVD. A segment during the initial trial of Stitch looks briefly at damage he caused on the planet Piztov. Piztov. Say it fast note "Pissed off".
Also, when Lilo tries to make amends after her dance class in the beginning of the movie, one of her "friends" tells her "If you have rabies, the dog-catcher's gonna have to c—"
Hollywood Density: Stitch is too dense to be able to swim, yet David and even five-year-old Lilo are able to pick him up with no more effort than they might expend lifting a corgi. Oddly not as unrealistic since it looks, since the basset hound is a real-life example of a dog too dense to swim more than a very short distance. While a strong swimmer like David should be able to rescue him; Lilo's ability to carry him is a little more far-fetched (bassets weigh 35 to 50 pounds, nearly as much as Lilo herself should weigh).
Homage Shot: A shot of Stitch walking away in a path surrounded by foliage that is taken directly from the 1939 Silly Symphony short The Ugly Duckling. An earlier scene has him by the road under the rain while a frog sits by him, in reference to the bus stop scene in Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro.
Improvised Weapon: Both Stitch and Jumba in their fight. In particular, Stitch uses a doll as a bomb and Jumba constructs a throwing weapon out of a comb, a toothbrush, a hairbrush and some toothpaste.
Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Earth is considered quite insignificant, but is left alone by the aliens primarily because they have declared it a protected wildlife sanctuary. For mosquitoes (since humans are a major food source for mosquitoes, that means humans are also protected). That was a bit of a diplomatic coup by the black ops division charged with dealing with aliens.
The "diplomatic coup" portion at the end was a last-minute decision by the writers when they realized they'd need a good reason for Cobra Bubbles not to be surprised at all by the aliens. It also made a neat explanation for why a social worker would look like a Secret Service Agent.
Inspector Javert: Captain Gantu, the closest thing to a villain in the story, who is initially only trying to recapture a dangerous, escaped experiment. A mixture of his callous tactics (he knows he's captured Lilo in the same container as Stitch and implies that he falsely believes that Stitch might eat her, yet he leaves her in there anyway) and the Galactic Federation's zero tolerance for failure causes him to be court martialed, after which he spends the animated series as an actual villain before being reinstated.
iSophagus: A variation of this trope. Stitch doesn't swallow Lilo's record player. But if you put his claw on the record, it works as a needle, and if you open his mouth, he becomes a phonograph.
Jerkass: Stitch is a huge one at the start of the film which is exactly what Jumba designed him to be. But it's implied that Stitch is, at first, an even bigger asshole than Jumba intended, to the point where he's willing to use a little girl as a human shield. However he becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold after his Character Development.
Kill It with Water: While water itself isn't deadly to Stitch, he can't swim and is too heavy to remain buoyant even in salt water. Naturally, he winds up on the most isolated chain of islands in the world.
Initially, from a distance it looks like Stitch's ship is going to crash into the middle of the Pacific, and all the alien races there cheer as they assume he will fall into the ocean and drown. Then they zoom in and see that he manages to make landfall on a little tiny island chain. Much frustration ensues.
Knuckle Tattoos: Mr. Bubbles, who has "Cobra" (his first name) tattooed on his knuckles. One of the few examples to use the thumb.
Nani: You are so finished when I get in there! I'm gonna stuff you in the blender, push "puree", then bake you into a pie and feed it to the social worker! And when he says, "Mmmm, this is great, whats your secret?" I'm gonna say... [Bubbles hooks Nami's foot, and pulls her out of the dog door] "...love! And...nurturing."
Logo Joke: The Disney castle is supposedly abducted by a flying saucer.
Logical Weakness: Stitch not being able to swim due to his density, which plays a part in the plot several times.
Lonely Doll Girl: Lilo has one home-made doll, whose appearance freaks out the other girls. Later she is seen making Voodoo dolls of her friends and dipping them in pickle juice. ("My friends need to be punished.")
The main doll may or may not be intended to be a "menehune" (basically Hawaiian dwarves).
Loud Gulp: Pleakley gives a very visible gulp after dodging a door-piercing Improvised Weapon thrown by Jumba (who was aiming at Stitch but missed).
Man Bites Man: Stitch is not averse to using his fangs when fighting, at one point cramming Pleakley's whole head into his mouth and biting down so hard it crunched. Repeatedly.
Meaningful Echo: "Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind. Or forgotten."
Said first by Lilo, stopping Nani from taking Stitch back to the shelter and, without realizing it, saving his life. And then later, said by Stitch when he breaks Lilo out of Gantu's prison case.
"You came back..." "Nobody gets left behind."
You teared up reading that, and you know it.
The Men in Black: Subverted with Cobra Bubbles, who dresses like a Man In Black despite being only a social worker making sure Nani takes care of Lilo. This becomes a Double Subversion at the end of the movie, when we discover that he used to be a CIA agent responsible for dealing with alien visitors.
Miming the Cues/Nonverbal Miscommunication: Nani gives signals to Lilo when the social worker, Cobra Bubbles, asks Lilo how well Nani is taking care of her. Lilo correctly understands the "brushing teeth" and "looking both ways before crossing the street" gestures, but (possibly intentionally) misinterprets Nani's triumphant gesture of approval grow strong gesture as "getting disciplined", and the following "stop" gesture as "five times a day".
Mood Whiplash: On the one hand, you have wacky slapstick alien antics. On the other, the ever-present threat of Lilo being taken away from her sister.
In particular, when Lilo's house gets wrecked by Jumba and Stitch's fight, it's played for laughs. When Nani and Cobra Bubbles arrive on the scene afterwords and fire crews are extinguishing the mess, it's not.
Meaningful Name: Stitch; if something is ripped apart you fix it with a stitch.
Stitch is also informally interchangeable with the term splicing in some circumstances, such as genesplicing used to create new creatures, due to the creation methodology of pre-gene science mad scientist creations (literally stitching parts together).
Pleakley: But it's a delicate planet! Who's going to control him? Councilwoman: You are. [walks away] Pleakley: [laughs] Very funny, your highness, that's quite- [sees that she's gone] you're not joking!
Nightmare Fetishist: Lilo practices voodoo, owns a handmade doll that she pretends has a bug-infested skull, and is generally considered a freak by her peers. Her only true friends turn out to be from outer space.
Grand Councilwoman: Can we not simply destroy the island? Pleakley: NO, crazyhead! The mosquito's food of choice, primitive humanoid lifeforms, have colonies all over that planet. Grand Councilwoman: Are they intelligent? Pleakley:No. But they're very delicate. In fact, every time an asteroid strikes their planet, they have to begin life all over. Fascinating, isn't it?
Nani: Oh no! Gravity is increasing upon me! Lilo: It is not! Nani: Is too, Lilo. The same thing happened yesterday.
Nostalgia Filter: Actually got invoked by Disney's Marketing Department. As shown in the poster above, and it's trailers, Lilo and Stitch got marketed by spoofing Disney's more popular films from the 90s. It worked, with Lilo and Stitch becoming a Cash Cow Franchise.
Nuke 'em: Once the Grand Councilwoman learns that Stitch will survive his fall into Earth by landing on Hawaii, she very quickly and decisively decides to utilize a gas weapon on the entire planet in order to kill him. Luckily for all involved, Agent Pleakley dissuades her from this course of action, arguing that Earth is a wildlife preserve for the "endangered mosquito population". She then tries again on a much smaller scale suggesting that she simply destroy the island Stitch landed on. Pleakley once again dissuades her from this seeing as how it would destroy the mosquito's source of food (humans) and disrupt the ecosystem.
Off Model: Jumba's head in some of the scenes, especially near the end. Mainly because the ending had to be changed at the last minute, and they had to rush it through animation to make their deadline.
Only Six Faces: All Hawaiian girls look alike. Most noticeably in the dance scene during the opening credits, where if you watch carefully, you'll notice one and the same girl is used for other dancers.
Jumba too. Though he wears sunglasses they don't come close to hiding a second pair of eyes.
Pardon My Klingon: Captain Gantu is fond of using the oath "Oh, blitznak!" Stitch himself, when brought before the Galactic Council and asked to prove his intelligence, utters a string of words that is left untranslated from "alien" gibberish, although its profane content is clear from the shocked gasps of the hearers. Stitch's statement is so vulgar, a robot vomits. This trope probably was used to leave what Stitch said deliberately to the imagination, as there isn't much in the way of utterances left that would inspire such reactions from contemporary 21st century viewers.
It's been established that the phrase actually translates into "I will destroy" or "I'm going to destroy" (contrast with "Meega naga kweesta/kreesta" - "I will not destroy"), which doesn't seem bad enough to provoke that kind of reaction. Granted, the phrase was used so much in a humorous context in promotional material that its meaning was likely an added afterthought for the spinoffs. Or they didn't think anyone would bother translating it in the movie.
Parental Abandonment: As usual, for a Disney movie; they died in a car crash before the story began.
Parental Bonus: The movie does a lot of referencing Elvis Presley (Lilo's a big fan), right down to having half the soundtrack be his songs. There's even a montage of scenes where they try to bring it down to the level of kid viewers by having Lilo try to teach Stitch how to be more like Elvis.
At one point when Stitch is misbehaving by destroying things, as he approaches and rips a painting by Lilo, she protests, "that's from my Blue Period!", a reference to Picasso.
Pet Monstrosity: Stitch (although don't let Jumba hear you call him a monstrosity).
When the Grand Councilwoman announces Stitch's sentence to permanent exile, she says it shall be "a sentence that shall henceforth be served on Earth." Bonus points for Stitch being mistaken for a dog early in the film.
A moment which Cobra Bubbles and Pleakley join in on - Pleakley is the first to ask if Stitch really couldn't just be left with them after cursing Stitch and the planet for causing him so many problems, while Cobra Bubbles is the first to realize the ownership loophole and helps Nani and Lilo get back on their feet during the credits.
Despite being quite nuts and The Heavy for the majority of the film, Jumba has a few moments where he's surprisingly compassionate even before he changes sides. At one point, he attempts to gently persuade Stitch to relinquish himself to his custody (it doesn't work, but he still connects with him somewhat), and when Nani is confronting them about Lilo being kidnapped by Gantu, Jumba gives her the bad news a lot more gently than Pleakley was going to (stopping Pleakley from doing so in the process) and attempts to stop Stitch from doing what he thinks is bothering her afterwards.
Precious Photo: Lilo keeps a picture of her dead parents under her pillow. She gets angry at Stitch when he touches it, and when his fight with Jumba destroys her house and Stitch returns the scorched picture, Lilo rejects him and tells him to go away.
Precision Crash: Lampshaded. The aliens are relieved to see that Stitch is plummeting toward the open ocean, only to react in horror when they see that he's headed directly for the single tiny cluster of islands in the middle of the sea. The trope is subverted, however, in the sense that Hawaii is possibly the least convenient place for Stitch to unleash a reign of terror:
Lilo: It's nice to live on an island with no large cities. [Stitch throws a convulsive fit]
Prolonged Prologue: A full 10 minutes go by, dealing with Stitch's imprisonment and escape, before we shift to Hawaii and the opening title/credits.
Promotion to Parent: Nani, who struggles to balance out her job, social workers, the loss of her parents, Lilo's strange coping methods, and Stitch. Lilo admits that she likes her more as a sister than a mom (done realistically; Nani is young, she has an Annoying Younger Sibling, and is trying to balance it all out).
Puni Plush: The character designers were explicitly told to avoid straight lines and harsh angles, and even rectangular objects have dulled corners, probably as a deliberate contrast with the rampant abuse of straight lines in western animation. This becomes somewhat more amusing when the character designer's deviantart page is viewed, which continues the same style, but includes artistic nudes and 1950s style pinups with a Hawaiian theme.
Recruiting the Criminal: To catch the dangerous genetic experiment, the Intergalactic Alliance sends the Mad Scientist who created him, since he's the only one who knows how to defeat him.
Reality Ensues: When Lilo's home gets destroyed by a bunch of aliens, it's played for laughs. When Nani and social worker Cobra Bubbles come back (just after Nani was able to convince him NOT to separate her from Lilo)... it leads to the social worker deciding to take the little girl away, much to Nani and Lilo's despair.
The Grand Councilwoman is rather reasonable for being the head of the Galactic Federation, although like most aliens, she believes Pleakley when he tells her to spare Earth from destruction because mosquitoes are endangered.
She's also willing to give Stitch a chance to speak for himself when he's initially introduced at Jumba's trial, rather than outright condemning him. Then at the end of the film she expresses regret at having to take Stitch in after he's shown to have calmed down and matured somewhat, and seems rather satisfied when Lilo provides a loophole as to why the Grand Councilwoman can't take Stitch.
Cobra Bubbles serves as an antagonist, but he's by no means a bad person. He clearly doesn't want to take Lilo away from Nani in spite of a mountain of (inaccurate) evidence that she can't really handle Lilo, and gives her every chance it's in his power to give for her to prove she can turn things around which makes it all the more heartbreaking when he gives up and decides he's got no choice but to take Lilo away.
Roswell That Ends Well: Cobra Bubbles is revealed to have saved the Earth from aliens by convincing them mosquitoes were an endangered species; this occurred at Roswell... in 1973.
Rule of Three: After a failed social counseling inspection, Cobra Bubbles gives Nani three days for a second one to prove herself a competent guardian to Lilo.
Running Gag: The guy whose ice cream always falls off its cone before he can eat it.
Safety In Muggles: Jumba can't open fire on Stitch because of his close company with Lilo. He enjoys reminding Stitch of it though, when he revealed the handle of his plasma weapon from inside a paper sack.
This is actually because Cobra Bubbles once convinced some aliens that humans should be protected (he claimed that mosquitos are an endangered species, and that humans are their primary food source).
Scale Model Destruction: Stitch makes a scale model of San Francisco in Lilo's room... then thrashes it in a kaiju rampage.
Played with. At first, he looks very imposing and acts rather uncaring. However later on, he shows himself to be a lot more than that. He does indeed want Lilo to be safe, but he doesn't want to split Lilo and Nani up because they're all they have in the world, mentioning he'll take Lilo away only because he has to. The end credits show him hanging out with them, watching movies, and having Thanksgiving dinner.
The Scream: When Pleakley and Jumba spend their first night on Earth, and Pleakley discovers a very painful truth about the so-called wildlife preserve's so-called "endangered species":
Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: It's said that Stitch can't survive in water since "his molecular density is too great". This would mean simply that he has a higher density than water—I.E, even if he were, for example, to hold his breath, he would not be able to displace enough water to increase his buoyancy enough and he'd still be too dense to swim. In laymen's terms: he sinks like a rock and can't swim.
Cobra Bubbles. "Allow me to illuminate to you the precarious position in which you find yourself", and "Thus far you've been adrift in the harbour of my patience".
Many of the background aliens have designs based on Winnie-the-Pooh characters. The alien who says "He's loose on deck C" appears to be modeled after Roo, The alien who calculates where Stitch will land is clearly modeled after Piglet. And "Tigger" informs the High Councilwoman that most of Earth is covered in water.
Mulan Wok. Also, there is a Mulan poster hanging on Nani's wall.
The chap who just can't seem to eat his mint chocolate chip ice cream looks like he might be Chien Po with a bad tanline and sunglasses.
In Lilo's room, on the shelf on her easel there's a small Dumbo doll.
During the end credits, the photo around the dinner table is staged like Norman Rockwell's "Freedom From Want".
Jumba: I'll put you back together again. I'll make you taller, and not so fluffy! [throws plates at Stitch, who is crawling on the ceiling] Stitch: I like fluffy!
Social Services Does Not Exist: Averted in the most traumatizing way - the contrast of wacky alien hi-jinks with the reality of a teenage orphan trying and failing to support her baby sister is a main plot point.
Songs of Solace: Lilo slumps on the floor and listens to "Heartbreak Hotel" after being rejected by the other girls.
Source Music: The opening chant, "He Mele No Lilo", is also the song being performed by Lilo's hula class, for which she is late.
Space Plane: The United Galactic Federation has a fleet of them.
Standard Snippet: Given that this movie is set in Hawaii, Aloha O'e naturally makes an appearance. However, it's not the silly instrumental steel guitar version that shows up most times this song is used as a Standard Snippet—the lyrics (about saying goodbye to someone) show up, too, in the most utterly heartbreaking fashion.
Superior Species: The aliens compared to "primitive humanoid life forms", who have to begin life all over when an asteroid strikes the planet.
Kinda justified though, from the point of view of a galactic-spanning alien empire, Humans are primitive.
Surprisingly Happy Ending: Just after Stitch saves Lilo, the Grand Councilwoman arrives to take him away. Even after Stitch shows signs of being reformed, the Councilwoman points out that the law is absolute. Then Lilo points out that she bought him at the shelter, and that taking him away would be stealing. The Councilwoman then declares that Stitch will serve the rest of his sentence on Earth, under the care of Lilo and her family.
The Shadow Knows: When Nani walks into the kitchen complaining about Stitch, his shadow is silhouetted on the wall with his antennae, spines, and extra arms extended. She gasps and drops the phone, and the camera cuts to Stitch in his "dog" form raiding the fridge.
Trailer Spoof: Nearly all the trailers appeared to be a trailer for some other Disney movie at first, only to be interrupted by Stitch, partly to make it clear it was a lighter, wackier film than the company's usual output, the movie's tagline was even "There's one in every family."
Translation: Yes: A variant occurs near the end of the film, where Stitch is trying to convince Jumba and Pleakley to help him rescue Lilo from Captain Gantu.
Jumba:What?! After all you put me through, you expect me to help you just like that? Just like that?! Stitch: Ih. Jumba: Fine! Pleakley: "Fine"? You're doing what he says? Jumba: He's very persuasive.
True Companions: Though Lilo and Nani are blood relatives, they form an unconventional little ohana with their alien house guests.
The Unintelligible: Throughout most of the film, Stitch speaks an alien language. Though he understands and can speak English, he keeps it to himself, since he is aware that he is pretending to be a dog and the woman at the animal shelter said dogs can't talk.
Unishment: Stitch's sentence for the havoc he caused is exile to Earth. The character passing the sentence does this intentionally, though, to avoid separating him from his newfound family while still satisfying her comrades' desire to see Stitch punished for his actions.
On the other hand Stitch can't swim and he is stuck on Hawaii so the punishment is something close to house arrest when you come from a space faring civilization.
Up, Up and Away!: Stitch assumes the one-arm-up pose after launching himself towards Gantu's ship with an exploding tanker truck.
Vanilla Edition: Disney nowadays tends to release DVDs with much fewer bonus features than Blu-Ray Discs and iTunes digital copies. This movie provides an exception, as the Blu-Ray Disc and digital copy contain no bonus features at all, while the "Big Wave" DVD (released in 2009) boasts hours of extras. The blow to Blu-Ray collectors gets softened just ever so slightly by Disney including disc one of the Big Wave DVD in the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack.
Victimized Bystander: There's the fat tourist with an ice-cream cone, which keeps dropping anytime he runs into Lilo. In his last scene, the ice-cream is knocked off by the wing of a passing spaceship.
Weaponized Exhaust: Gantu turns his exhaust inward on Stitch, who is trying to rescue Lilo from the pod in the back of the ship.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Inverted. When Gantu finally appears on earth, he captures both Lilo and Stitch at once; as he secures their pod to the back of his ship, he refers to Lilo as a snack for Stitch. Justified, as Pleakley's informal report on Earth clearly indicated that humans were the unintelligent food source for the mosquito.
White and Grey Morality: No one here is truly evil. The arguably-worst character, morally speaking (Gantu), is simply trying to recapture what he views as a violent, uncontrollable monster though, bringing along a defenseless human girl with said "monster" might have been going a little too far.
Disney Death: Stitch.The Tear Jerker moment when everyone thinks Stitch is dead is surprisingly long and drawn out for a Disney movie, so that even snarkers who think Disney would never kill Stitch off begin to have their doubts.
Doing In the Scientist: After they are too late to save Stitch from his malfunction and he shuts down, Lilo's tear brings him back to life. Pleakley asks Jumba for the scientific explanation. Jumba proudly states (as if he knew any other way to state things) that there is no possible scientific explanation, declares it a miracle, and celebrates.
Interquel: It takes place between the original movie and the series.
Retcon: The fact that Jumba was apprehended immediately after Stitch's creation retcons the events of some of the Comic Zoneprequels, the events of the Experiment 626 video game and Experiment 621 out of existance, though 621 theoretically could've been captured during the series.
Pietà Plagiarism: Where Stitch has died, Lilo holds him in this fashion. It's okay though, he gets better.
Poor Communication Kills: Jumba finds out what's wrong with Stitch almost immediately after it starts, but is so busy trying to fix it (with Pleakley's help) that he rarely leaves his lab and doesn't tell anyone on the few occasions that he does - nor does anyone think to ask him why Stitch is acting so weird. Meanwhile, most of the conflict in the film happens because Lilo doesn't know Stitch isn't acting crazy on purpose - while Stitch is freaking out in confusion - which culminates in Stitch running away just when Jumba needs him to be at home because he mistakenly thinks he's turning evil.
Series Continuity Error: Almost all of the experiments are displayed with incorrect numbers. Particularly obvious at the beginning, which shows #617 Plasmoid as #001 (Shrink), #609 Heat as #002 (Doubledip), and #601 Kixx as #003 (Howcome).