My mother and I bond over a lot of things: boy bands (past and present), Meg Ryan movies, Star Wars, Gilmore Girls, and, most of all, Disney movies. Like, mom probably wouldn't appreciate if I were to share the more embarrassing depths of her fandom, so suffice it to say that she's a diehard fan.
It's important to note that even though Mom and I have both been Disney fans our whole lives, we have different preferences. Mom is very much a fan of classic Disney, loving the fairy tale vibe of films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Cinderella. Even as a child, I loved all Disney movies, although I did have a special love for Tinker Bell and Toy Story's Sheriff Woody.
And now that I'm older, my fascination with stories prompts me to watch all Disney movies without discrimination. As of late, Mom has also developed a fascination with the art of film, so she's been watching those movies I know like the back of my hand with new appreciation.
Just the other day, we watched Lilo and Stitch. And let me tell you, it was more emotional than I'd probably care to admit. Now I'd like to share with you a few moments from the film that stand out to me, especially after I watched it with my mom.
1. Stitch's Famous Hello
So this is a moment I thought was really adorable when I was a kid. But this time, I paid attention to the part at the beginning where Jumba explains that Stitch can think insanely fast, and he uses this amazing ability to come up with ways to destroy stuff. So he'd gotten the idea to say "hi" and hug Lilo from a poster in the pet shelter. That way, Lilo would adopt him, and he could escape from Jumba and Pleakley by using her as a shield. Apparently this was all too complex for me as a child, so I'm only just now getting all this at 19.
2. Stitch's Complex Emotions
It's really striking how much Stitch really just wants to belong somewhere. In the movie, he develops an attachment to Lilo's copy of 'The Ugly Duckling.' Disney is pretty well known for adapting well known fairy tales and traditional stories like 'The Ugly Duckling,' but the way they subtly incorporate the familiar theme of acceptance following a lifetime of rejection (themes common between 'The Ugly Duckling' and 'Lilo and Stitch') is remarkable.
3. Nani's Relationship with David
Nani faces more stress and responsibility than the average young woman. After her parents pass away, she has to become Lilo's a guardian, a role she struggles fulfill. The few moments where Nani gets seem like a 'normal' young person are prompted by David. In addition to providing Nani and Lilo with some much needed fun, David also saves the day by finding Nani a job. So I guess one of the biggest gems of this movie that I only recently started to appreciate is David.
4. Cobra Bubbles Wasn't A Bad Guy
It's easy to feel fed up with Cobra Bubbles. He shows up at the worst possible moments, and always seems to manage to miss any event that actually depicts Nani as an even somewhat competent guardian. However, by the very end of the film, it's evident that he's not trying to be a bad guy; he truly just wants the best for Lilo, even if what he thinks is best is wayyyyy different from what the audience thinks is best. He apparently reconciles with the small family, though, as the end credits depict a vast array of family moments, many of which include none other than Cobra Bubbles.
5. The Frog As A Symbol
This is Stitch when he first landed on earth. Before he found his family, Stitch was wild, destructive, and even threatened an innocent frog. Later, when he's trying to rescue Lilo, Stitch encounters the frog again. This time, however, he rescues the frog from an incoming car and gently places it down at his side. This is meant to display Stitch's change to the audience by reintroducing a familiar scenario. And subtle things like this that achieve such a touching goal really excite me because I'm a dork.
6. Scrump, In All Her Unconventional Beauty
Scrump is among one of my mother's newest Disney obsessions. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the psychology of this one. When I last asked her why she likes Scrump, Mom simply said, "because she's precious." Clearly, thinking Scrump is cute aligns her with someone like Lilo, against people like Myrtle and her crew.
7. The Best Part
Okay, I'm kidding, but only a little. There's no deep analysis of this one. It just makes me laugh. Every single time I see it. LIke, that gif is on a loop, and I chuckle every time Cobra Bubbles' glasses go flying. I think it's time for me to keep scrolling now.
8. The Real Best Part
So my mother has this inability to get through *any* movie without crying. But this time, we were on the same page. This movie is quirky and funny and full of destructive sequences, but it's ultimately about finding a place to belong. And that's just beautiful.