LILO & STITCH
Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $24.99
ONE OF THE TWO "sister raising a sister in Hawaii" movies of 2002 (the other was the only slightly more believable girl surf flick Blue Crush), this surprise summer hit's appeal comes from (a) its artwork and (b) its weirdness. Cute but destructive alien creature Stitch escapes pursuers from Planet Turo and lands in the care of an eccentric little Hawaiian girl named Lilo and her older sister Noni, whose touch-and-go relationship brings on the scrutiny of Child Protective Services.
It's closer to The X-Files than Disney, but co-director/screenwriter (and voice of Stitch) Chris Sanders' rounded illustration style makes the ragtag gallery of aliens and humans as welcome and comfy as freshly baked dinner rolls. It also helps that it's set on Kauai, and the island's natural beauty is winningly painted onto the film with a resurrected watercolor technique not used since the 1940s.
On disc Dec. 3, Lilo's soundtrack features hits from Elvis. But songs sung by members of the Kamehameha School Children's Chorus and hula master Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu—who also choreographed the accurately animated hula dance opener—are much more memorable than, say, the awful Swedish teeny-pop version of "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You." The music also does a decent job of communicating the film's theme of ohana, or family. All performers get face time in the extras, which include a trivia game where you buzz in the answers with your DVD remote, quick educational snippets on the islands of Hawaii, and a short but notable making- of documentary.
LESS NOTABLE discs debuting Dec. 10 include K-19: The Widowmaker (worst movie title of '02?); Halloween: Resurrection (just in time for Xmas, how nice); kid flicks Stuart Little 2 and Like Mike (wholesome enough gifts); and the home-detention comedy Cherish, which has little to recommend beyond Tim Blake Nelson and a cheesy '70s and '80s pop soundtrack. Better bets are John Huston's 1972 Fat City (with a nice performance by Jeff Bridges); the Australian romance Innocence (seniors in love!); and the French marital comedy My Wife Is an Actress, which is a little too Woody-ish but still has some funny bits. As Adaptation nears, Charlie Kaufman addicts can check out Human Nature (sorry, no extras).