I will die on the hill for Lilo and Stitch. In my mind, it is the last truly great hand-drawn Disney movie before the company had its next renaissance with CG films like Tangled and Frozen. And like many of its older properties, Lilo and Stitch looks to be getting the live-action treatment with a Disney+ exclusive. Is this movie a complete remake like Mulan will be, or will it play it safe and be more like the live-action Beauty and the Beast? Nobody seems to really know at this point.It's still up in the air.
But what I do know, is that a live-action version of Lilo and Stitch is a terrible idea. And when even its original director has misgivings about it being live-action, then you know it probably not go well. Here are just a few reasons why Lilo and Stitch—the classic!—should be left alone as an animated gem.
Stitch Is Likely Going To Look Terrible
Is it just me, or is CGI actually getting worse these days? Cats and Sonic before his redesign are key examples that CG can go south really quickly if not handled properly. And while the Genie in the live-action Aladdin ended up looking fine in the final product, the backlash to how Will Smith looked in that initial trailer was swift and immediate. So good CGI is definitely not a given in this day and age.
And Stitch is already such a weird looking creature. He’s an alien after all, and he looked great when he was traditionally animated. With those four little arms and that huge, toothy grin, Stitch was born to be hand-drawn. But I can already picture the weird hybrid they’re likely going to attempt for the movie. Or, I could be completely wrong and he could be boring-looking like the Beast in the live-action Beauty and the Beast. Either way, Stitch should not be CG. He already looks good as is.
Losing The Animation Style And Watercolor Backgrounds Will Be A Big Loss
Like I said earlier, Lilo and Stitch is, in my mind, the last truly great hand-drawn animated Disney movie—Sorry, The Princess and the Frog. And I don’t consider Spirited Away a Disney movie—before Disney went almost exclusively CG. And it’s not just the quality of the story itself. It’s also the visuals. They’re beautiful. Hawaii looks amazing in watercolor. And while Hawaii looks spectacular in general, I think something will be lost if you take away that animated aspect and just make it live-action.
And what’s weird is that I know that Disney can handle the space aspect of the story from what they’ve already shown us in The Mandalorian. It’s the earth-side that I’m worried about for this live-action remake.
We Don't Need Another Live-Action Remake
We love Disney and all, but could they please stop with the live-action adaptations? Mulan might be interesting since it’s such a sharp contrast from the original animated classic (But we’re kind of worried about that one, too) but seriously, enough is enough already. If you count that 1994 Jungle Book movie, there have been 14 live-action adaptations from Disney cartoons, and a whole slew of new ones coming.
But the problem is, since most of the films are so profitable, we’re starting to see more and more of them coming out the gate. In 2019, there were five! Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and Lady and the Tramp. That’s way too much. Oh, and speaking of Lady and the Tramp…
It Might Be Just-OK, Like Lady and the Tramp
Sure, the live-action, Disney+ exclusive, Lady and the Tramp, has its fans, but by all accounts, it was just fine. It wasn’t terrible, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t Alice in Wonderland. But it also wasn’t the more recent The Jungle Book, either. It was good-enough Disney pablum, and for something that was one of the first original movies on Disney+, that was enough.
That said, Lilo and Stitch isn’t just any old property. Most people know of Lady and the Tramp, but it’s viewed as more of a Disney classic, so many probably didn’t care what changes were made in the transition to live action. But Lilo and Stitch is different. There are many who still fondly look back upon Lilo and Stitch and don’t want it to be just “good enough.” And the fact that this is going to be a Disney+ exclusive and won’t be heading into theaters like The Lion King or Aladdin has me a bit worried that the care and attention that went into those pictures won’t be going into Lilo and Stitch.
Even Worse, It Might Be Watered Down
If we’re talking live-action remakes, Aladdin may be one of the weaker efforts, which is strange since the original cartoon is just brimming with energy. But besides Will Smith’s Genie, the rest of the movie kind of fell a bit flat, with a version of Jafar that seemed like more of a nuisance than evil. A key concern for a live-action Lilo and Stitch is that it will have a similar fate. Besides the live-action version of The Jungle Book, the other live-action Disney adaptations have felt a bit staid and even boring, and the original Lilo and Stitch is anything but.
Plus, besides "The Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride," Lilo and Stitch doesn’t have a whole bunch of classic musical numbers to lean on. The live-action Beauty and the Beast got away with being slightly mediocre because the songs still hold up today, but Lilo and Stitch doesn’t have that going for it. It really would just have to stand on its story and visuals, and as I’ve said already, the visuals likely won’t be as beautiful as the original movie. That just leaves the story, which is great and all, but it’s already been told. Which is why we don’t need a live-action version!
But I might be completely wrong. Maybe this live-action adaptation will be the one that changes all of our minds. There still isn’t a set date, though, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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