Over at Vulture, Bilge Ebiri has a great interview/retrospective discussing Lilo & Stitch, and what made it so good. It’s worth a read if you liked the movie, or even if you just wanted a better sense of the inside scoop of how things get made.
DeBlois: When we arrived in Florida, we knew these people because we had worked on Mulan with them. That was a difficult film to finish. There were lots of divorces and ailments that came out of that process. I remember myself working daily until well past 11 p.m., listening to people riding the Tower of Terror and poor custodians pushing around vacuum cleaners in these trailer buildings. So we made a decision. We sat down with the entire crew when we got there. We said, “Okay, here’s the deal. We have a lot less money. We have less time. But we want to figure out how we can make this movie so that everybody goes home at night to have dinner with their loved ones. Everybody gets a weekend. We’ll figure out how to make this and be happy doing it.” That became the spirit of making the film.
I still remember the first time I saw the movie – it was 2002, it was hot out, and we wanted to catch a movie since the theater would be air conditioned. I think we’d seen a trailer for it somewhere, figured it’d be cute, and so we went. I’m really glad we did.
Now, I don’t want to make it out to be some revelatory experience – it’s not going to blow your mind. But it is a remarkably well made, thoughtful, fun film. It has a lot of heart, both in the story and performance, but also in the animation and the subtle details. It wasn’t “designed by committee” and you can tell.