Hawaii at the Movies


(page 4 of 4)

Lilo & Stitch (2002)

“‘Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” Adorable, right? Not so much after the 50th time.

When Lilo & Stitch, Disney’s last solo project, came out, the world associated Lilo’s motto with Hawai‘i. As a 13-year-old traveling in Europe, all I heard there was “‘Ohana means family!” But as annoying as the saying became, Lilo & Stitch portrayed Hawaii and its people more accurately than most films, especially contemporary Hawaii.

Disney’s Hawaii is not the one seen through the lenses of tourists or wanna-be surfers; it’s as close to the real Hawaii as a cartoon about an alien can get.

The Kilauea lighthouse, the Princeville Hotel, a shave ice stand, a poster of Duke Kahanamoku hanging in Nani’s bedroom, pidgin-speaking characters—all these details reinforced the Hawaii connection. Lilo’s hula lessons, Nani’s surfing. Disney never lets you forget that you are in Hawai‘i.

Hawaii Authenticity: 10
Entertainment Value: 6


Subscribe to Honolulu