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Movie Review

Lilo and Stitch

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Directed by Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders. Starring the voices of Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere, Jason Scott Lee, Ving Rhames and Chris Sanders.

With Disney's deal with animation company Pixar (creators of 'Toy Story' and 'Monsters Inc') set to come to a close in 2005, the empire is looking to the future and sizing up how to face the competition if it has to go it alone. Enter Lilo and Stitch, one of their best double acts in years and a movie with plenty of Buzz and Woody-style crossover appeal.

On an alien planet, scientist Jumba Jookiba gets busted for illegal genetic experiments and his star creation, #626, faces death. But the one creature war zone, whose only weakness is a fear of water, escapes and winds up in a Hawaiian dog pound. There, a tearaway five-year-old called Lilo decides to adopt him and renames him Stitch. But the four-armed ball of teeth and growls has no desire to be domesticated and soon starts raising hell for Lilo, her sister and the misfortunate Jumba Jookiba who's been sent to track him down.

Smarter and sharper than all of their epics, this is a brasher Disney with new franchise screaming out from every frame. Much of the animation is in the company's style of being more cuddly than cool but the plot takes wacky to new levels as the Elvis lovin', room chompin' Stitch goes to war in paradise. Sure, there's syrup aplenty as Lilo and her fellow outsider bond, but the in-jokes and level of mayhem mean that Deblois and Sanders get the right balance between feelgood and fantastic.

Even people who won't go near Disney films should see this one. But make sure your kids don't get too much sugar in the cinema - the house mightn't be up to the mayhem when they get out.

Harry Guerin

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