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16. 'Lilo and Stitch' (2002)
Best character: Stitch, the foul-tempered but highly cuddly space alien
Best movie moment: When Lilo explains the sad backstory of how she was orphaned to Stitch and adds, "Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind."
Why it's one of Disney's best: There's a lot to love about "Lilo & Stitch," from the Hawaiian backdrop to charming details like Lilo's love for Elvis Presley and the wonderfully weird space aliens (and don't forget the "Man in Black" by the name of Cobra Bubbles). It would all be a little too zany if it wasn't held together with a convincing girl-and-"dog" friendship as well as a sweet sisterly bond. Even when the space alien hijinks reach their peak, we never forget that Lilo and Nani are driven by a dogged belief in family made more potent by loss. But the most wonderful thing about "Lilo & Stitch" may be that, in a Disney universe of wasp-waisted princesses, Lilo is just a little girl, neither perfect nor too beautiful. Even her sister Nani, though pretty, looks strong instead of willowy. There aren't too many heroines in animation that don't send a twisted message to young girls about beauty, but this is one of the good ones.
- Liane Bonin Starr