The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
Peter Pan (1953)
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
The Black Cauldron (1985)
The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Oliver & Company (1988)
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Brother Bear (2003)
Lilo & Stitch
The alien known as Experiment #626 is put on trial with his creator, Dr. Jumba, and sentenced to destruction because he's a monster and a danger to society. Unfortunately, the experimental creature - super-intelligent, indestructible, and programmed to cause trouble wherever he goes - escapes his captors and winds up on Earth in the Hawaiian islands. #626 ends up in a pet shelter, where he is adopted by Lilo, who names him 'Stitch' and takes him home despite the warnings of her sister and an employee at the shelter. Lilo is lonely and looking for a friend; since her parents' death, the other girls in her town ignore or bully her. A social worker, Mr. Bubbles, is also watching the girls closely and threatening to take Lilo away. Unfortunately, Stitch's natural tendency toward destruction causes nothing but trouble for Lilo and her sister Nani, especially when two more aliens, Dr. Jumba and Agent Pleakley, are hot on his trail, trying to recapture him.
I can't believe that this movie came out the year after Atlantis. I mean, the two films are like night and day. Lilo & Stitch is funny, cute, engaging, and thoroughly original. It has an entertaining, well-developed story, great characters, and a real zest for life and family infuses every frame.
Setting the movie on the island of Kauaʻi was a brilliant decision. The animators took advantage of Hawaii's natural beauty to create a lush, beautiful world for Lilo and her friends to run around in. The movie looks great, with bright colors and gently rounded lines, and it sounds great, with a mix of Hawaiian music and Elvis Presley classics in the background.
But I think the best part of it was the realism Hawaii brought, even in a movie that involved space aliens. Nani is a nineteen-year-old struggling to keep her family together, but she's barely an adult. She should be going off to college and taking classes in underwater basket-weaving; instead she's working menial jobs and trying to raise a rambunctious five-year-old. She works in a luau restaurant and later interviews for a job at a plush hotel, but the luxury that the tourists enjoy is noticeably missing in the places the native Hawaiians shop.
Also, Stitch is just adorable. How could you not love that little blue weirdo?
Lilo & Stitch was by far the best movie Disney put out in the 2000s. (In fact, according to Wikipedia, L&S and The Princess and the Frog were the only Disney animated movies that made back their cost at the box office. That is pathetic.)