Lilo & Stitch share Hawaii's ohana concept with the world

Lilo & Stitch cool facts:


Lilo is a Hawaiian name meaning Generous One
The literal translation of Lilo includes: become, lost, distant, engaged, and gone
The translations from Stitch to Hawaiian are: Humu, ku`i and hono
The original setting of "Lilo & Stitch" was in Kansas rather than Kauai
The animation style uses a water color technique, rarely used these days due to digital animation
Tia Carerre is the voice of Nani, Lilo's older sister
Tia suggested Jason Scott Lee for the part of David Kawena
The story of Disney's Lilo & Stitch is probably one of the most important movies to the State of Hawaii ever made. You may argue that "Pearl Harbor" showed a part of Hawaii's history, but it was more about a love story set in Hawaii, and not about Hawaii itself. What I mean is that "Lilo & Stitch" is set in Hawaii, starring Hawaiian characters (okay, they're animated), shares an important concept of Hawaiian culture, and has the potential to bring visitors to Hawaii.

Unless you've been locked up in a white padded cell somewhere, you must have already heard, seen, or read about what "Lilo & Stitch" is about. For those of you who are just plain ignorant, here we go...
  • Stitch is a genetic experiment from outer space that escapes to Kauai. Stitch possesses super-strength, acute hearing and vision, morphing capabilities, and higher intelligence. Upon arriving on Earth, he morphs to appear like a very ugly dog. He is also considered very dangerous.
     
  • Lilo is a lonely Hawaiian girl who has a hard time fitting in with other children. She finds Stitch at a dog pound and adopts him.  
      
  • Lilo teaches the lost escapee the concept of ohana (family) and the two become best of friends.

  • Stitch's creators (no, not the artists at Disney!) come to Kauai to take him home, and the rest will be left to you and me seeing the film
"Lilo & Stitch" is like one bambucha advertisement for the Hawaii Visitors Bureau (more on that later). The animated scenery is absolutely beautiful. The animators decided to capture Hawaii's beauty via a little used watercolor technique. The colors are bright and vivid. The rustic setting of Kauai is reminiscent of the paradise once portrayed in such movies as "Bird of Paradise" (1932 & 1951) and "Waikiki Wedding" (1937). One of the cleverest ties to Hawaii has Stitch dancing to Elvis Pressley. Let's not forget what Elvis' "Blue Hawaii," "Girls! Girls! Girls!" and "Paradise Hawaiian Style" did to bring tourist to our paradise.

How many times have you tried to explain to a friend from the mainland that Auntie Nelly really isn't you aunt?  Or cousin Kimo is actually your "calabash" cousin? The literal translation of ohana is family, but in Hawaii family extends beyond bloodlines. Everybody is Auntie, Uncle, cousin, or Tutu (Grandma) to everyone else. The concept of ohana fits perfectly into the movie, as the lost and lonely Stitch becomes part of Lilo's family. Like the spirit of "aloha," the concept of "ohana" can also be used to welcome people to Hawaii. It also carries a greater and deeper meaning of inclusion and peace in this day and age.

Not since "Aloha Summer" in 1988, has a major motion picture had such Hawaiian flavor (is you haven't seen Aloha Summer, it's a hidden gem about post World War II Hawaii, starring Blaine Kia, Tia Carrere, and Andy Bumatai). The difference here is that with Disney behind it, "Lilo & Stitch" will not only make millions, but it will reach millions of people. With the potential to reach millions of people world-wide, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau intelligently teamed up with Disney by sponsoring "Lilo & Stitch." In return for HVCB sponsorship, Hawaii will be linked to many "Lilo & Stitch" promotions including the liloandstitch.com web page.

So what does this all mean? Hopefully (and idealistically) the concept of "ohana" will become more widespread and utilized. More importantly, this is a great marketing device for Hawaii and the post 9/11 tourist depression. In the very least, this movie will definitely be in the homes of Hawaiians and Hawaiians at heart, because finally, we have a movie that shows Hawaiians in a positive light for the whole family, er, um... ohana to enjoy.

Check out these full size pics here at www.movies.com.  Or, you can check out these cool shots at Yahoo.  There are also some hilarious movie trailers here.  Have fun, and thanks for being a part of the Hawaii411 Ohana.