For years Disney has caused children and adults alike to weep heartfelt tears of sadness. Whole cinemas had cried when Mufasa was killed saving his son, grown adults sobbed when Bambi lost his mother and, to this very day, fans have still not gotten over the loss of Carl's wife, Ellie in Up. However I think that what most fans fail to realise is that one of the saddest animations ever produced by Disney is Lilo and Stitch.
Lilo and Stitch has always been a favourite Disney film of mine and I have watched it more times then I would care to admit. But, as I grew older, I began to become more aware of the small details and thought that was taken into the actual story. The more things I noticed and learnt about this film, the more I began to realise just how the story of Lilo and Stitch really was heart shatteringly sad. Just in case you do not believe me, here's why (but, I warn you, you may need a tissue when this is allover).
Pudge and the Peanut Butter Sandwiches
This may have been one of the most obvious, yet most well hidden, revelations throughout the whole film. Very early on in the story we witness a dishevelled Lilo explaining to her teacher why she is late for dance class (she had to go buy peanut butter for Pudge the fish who can, apparently, control the weather). At that moment I think our reactions were very similar to those of her fellow peers, that this Lilo character is slightly strange and may have an over-active imagination. It may seem very unusual at the moment why Lilo had been so desperate to give Pudge his weekly sandwich. To a new watcher this may seem like a small ploy to further introduce this young girl's misunderstood character.
However, later on, the true depths of her words are truly revealed as she tells the newly adopted Stitch that her parents passed away due to an accident that had been brought about due to a storm. This is when all the pieces begin falling into place. Lilo believes that Pudge can control the weather and she lost her parents because of a storm. Lilo may believe that by giving this weather controlling fish a sandwich so she may prevent the same disaster that took her parents from happening to someone else.
Lilo and Stitch
You'd be surprised by how much actual thought is put into naming a character. Some may believe them to be chosen at random or simply chosen according to the creators liking. In Lilo and Stitch this is not the case. I know absolutely no hawaiian, so correct me if i'm wrong, but numerous searches revealed that the name 'Lilo' comes from Hawaiin and means 'Generous One' which makes sense for Lilo's general character however, some have speculated that 'Lilo' may also mean 'Lost'. This may reveal, without most of us knowing at the time, how much this young girl had lost with the loss of her parents (Yes, I am aware I used the word 'lost' a lot in this sentence but it had to be done). However, where my Hawaiian is non-existent, my english is pretty okay so I didn't have to look far to learn what the name 'Stitch' means. We usually use the word stitch when we want to put two or more pieces together and wasn't it this little blue alien that pulled Lilo's family together and thus 'stitching' the broken pieces of her life together?
This is one of those iconic Disney quotes that we proudly shout out during bad time, along with 'Hakuna Matata' and 'Let it go'. This expression could be said to be embedded into the core of Lilo's character, probably her late parent used to tell this to her from when she was young. But throughout the story we see that the term 'Ohana' is constantly put to the test by Cobra Bubbles's determination to separate the Pelekai sisters or by Stitch as he runs away from his new family and by his eventual capture by Gantu.
Ok, I think I may have overdid it when I said you might need a tissue but I hope, at least, that my words have caused you to see Lilo and Stitch in a new light. This is not some animation aimed solely for the entertainment of children but, hidden within its humour, it holds some of the deepest messages a Disney film has ever sent.