How to Train Your Dragon 2 is nearly upon us, but on the eve of this much hyped animated film, let’s take a moment to remember Lilo & Stitch.
Why? Well, How to Train Your Dragon came from the same creative team, that of Chris Sanders and Dan DeBlois, who co-wrote and co-directed the two features. Despite being a major financial success that brought about a large number of sequels and spin-offs, Lilo & Stitch seems to have been forgotten in an era where Pixar movies became critical darlings.
Lilo & Stitch’s fingerprints can be found allover How to Train Your Dragon. First and foremost, both movies’ central creatures share a significant similarity. Stitch, the blue alien with an army of teeth, sports flopping ears, rapid movement and a devilishly playful nature. The little guy wrestles people to the ground and speaks in a series of grunts; apparently the only of its kind in existence after being created by a self described “evil genius.” How to Train Your Dragon has Toothless instead, the powerful, loving dragon that grows a bond to the movie’s protagonist, the alleged last of his breed known as Night Furies. Stitch and Toothless both are created with numerous traits that recall cats and dogs, with eyes that display their sole desire, be it a scratch to the head or something delicious.
Each movie additionally features a rich sense of place. Lilo & Stitch’s Hawaii has a variety of deep, beautiful blues, from the bits of daylight making its way through the purple hues of sundown to the lush, almost endless green surroundings. The picture has a quiet cultural heritage running through its framework, never pushing the unique things the island has to the forefront and instead just ingraining them into the everyday happenings. How to Train Your Dragon has similarly endless greens, with the cliffside culture of its inhabitants coming to life; oceans rocking its Viking doorsteps that are pushed upon the mountains.
Then there are the relationships between Lilo and Stitch, Hiccup and Toothless. The bond between a pet and person can be nearly impossible to describe. Love can grow between two different animals that don’t share a language. These films epitomize that connection, displaying with a soft sweetness the little things each side brings.
Sanders and DeBlois’ working relationship is no longer intact, with the former creating last year’s The Croods and the latter taking full helm of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Their initial effort ought to be rediscovered though, an easy task right now with Lilo & Stitch currently streaming on Netflix.