Way back in the 2000s, the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch stole the hearts of audiences the world over with its loveable depiction of found family in little Lilo and her illegal experiment turned pet, Stitch. The concept of family was at the core of that animated movie, and it’s also central to the more recent hit Frozen, which has left the Lilo and Stitch director a little frustrated.
Now, that’s not to say that only one kids movie can be about the idea of family. Let’s be honest, most of the family movies from Disney and indeed, most of the Pixar movies, have some thematic links to familial structure. No, Chris Sanders, the co-creator and co-director of Lilo and Stitch is more annoyed that Frozen got all the praise it did, when his story was also about the bond between two sisters.
In an interview with The New York Times to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Lilo and Stitch, Sanders explained how he was left a little frustrated by the fact that many saw Frozen as the first to explore such a narrative journey.
“To be clear, I think Frozen’s great,” Sanders said. “But it was a little bit frustrating for me because people were like, ‘Finally, a non-romantic relationship with these two girls,’ and I thought, ‘We did that! That has absolutely been done before.'”
“When the film came out, that’s what a lot of critics talked about,” producer Clark Spencer added. “Those moments that were based in reality in a way that people could see themselves in, and it didn’t feel like they were cartoon characters.”
In a sense, they’re absolutely right, the thematic approach to sisterhood in Lilo and Stitch was a great element of that movie and did indeed come first. But, despite all the praise Frozen gets, Lilo and Stitch gets a lot of love too, and there’s room for plenty of animated movies in the world.
If you’d like to know about the future of Anna and Elsa, check out our guide to Frozen 3.