Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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'Lilo' delivers lots of laughs

Lilo & Stitch

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Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published June 24, 2002

Movie: Lilo & Stitch

  • Rating: PG

Summary: An alien creature known as "Experiment 626," who was genetically programmed by his creator to destroy everything in sight, escapes from captivity. He commandeers a galactic police cruiser and flies to Earth, where he crashes on a Hawaiian island.

Meanwhile, two orphaned sisters are living together in their Hawaiian home, watched closely by a social worker named Cobra Bubbles. He's not quite convinced that the arrangement is best for the girls. Lilo, the younger one, is lonely, with no real friends. Her teenage sister, Nani, is not a completely responsible guardian, though she tries hard. They fight constantly, but both have a strong belief in sticking together. Nani decides Lilo needs a pet and takes her to the animal shelter, where Lilo chooses an odd looking "dog" (Experiment 626) she names Stitch. She takes him in as her new friend, and he proceeds to wreak total havoc on their home. Stitch must overcome his destructive ways and learn about honor and family if he's going to stay with Lilo and Nani. That's easier said than done.

My View: This was a real departure from the Disney standard we've all come to expect! The animation team (which created all the animation at Disney's Orlando studio) used a new technique of combining uncomplicated watercolor backgrounds with drawn animation. The pure simplicity of this film was refreshing (especially in that lush Hawaiian setting), since it seems lately the animation scene has gone totally digital.

No, the soundtrack wasn't composed of all original Disney songs that you'd find in a sing-along book soon after the movie opened; they were familiar Elvis Presley songs that are appealing to all ages. The characters all had multilayered personalities, and actually behaved more like real people than the typical Disney character. Also, the emphasis on the importance of family really shone through, and the combination of all these things makes this film a big winner!

Favorite Part: By and large, this film was a barrel of laughs. I loved Stitch and his little idiosyncrasies. Watching him terrorize everything in sight was hilarious.

Least Favorite Part: The only thing that would keep this from being the perfect family movie is that a few scenes were loud, and perhaps a little scary; they seemed to frighten some of the preschool age kids in the audience.

Recommendations: Just about everyone can enjoy this film! Yeah, I know my fellow teenagers out there will think this is probably just a silly, childish movie, but give it a chance -- you might be pleasantly surprised!

Grade: A

-- Billy Norris, 14, will be in the ninth grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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