What exactly is “too much” for a young audience? How do we possibly figure out what could be too sensitive to viewers of a movie or television show? I guess there isn’t any particular test to measure just how many people would find a certain piece of media offensive or triggering. As a company, business or even an individual, it is essential to keep in mind whether your content could have aspects that may be too sensitive for some of your viewers. With a conglomerate like Disney, it’s understandable that they have made the decisions to delete certain scenes in their movies. Disney releases movies and television series that everyone of all backgrounds can enjoy. At the end of the day, it’s appropriate to make changes to certain scenes that are not family friendly.
While scrolling endlessly on Twitter, I got to discover a side of Lilo & Stitch that I have never seen before. We all know the 2002 film for being the heartwarming story of a little girl named Lilo finding companionship in an extraterrestrial fugitive, who was originally supposed to cause chaos and destruction. Something that sounds so menacing is actually a classic that was and is still loved by many. The film was so successful that it led to three spin-off films, three television series, video games, merchandise and more. Surprisingly, but at the same time unsurprisingly, Lilo & Stitch has received some negative reviews from unhappy parents who think the movie is too violent for their kids. It really makes you wonder what level of outrage that would’ve ensued if Disney would’ve kept the deleted and edited scenes as is.
Luckily I discovered Twitter user @TristanACooper‘s thread on the scenes that never made it to the movie and the ones edited to appear less violent.
He includes other scenes that had to be edited such as the 747 plane hijacking scene, where the plane ended up crashing into buildings. I was appalled because I had never heard of such scene, and there’s a huge reason why. I decided to dive more into it and came across this haunting video by Vox media. This very moment was cut completely due to the obvious reason that the movie was released months after 9/11 and would appear triggering to anyone affected by the tragedy. The 747 airliner was changed to an alien craft and the city buildings were switched into Hawaiian mountains. The original ending was including on the special edition DVD.
Other than avoiding the outrage behind scenes following tragic events, it seems that Disney also dodged a topic that was probably too real for them. Here’s a deleted scene of Lilo experiencing racism from obnoxious tourists then playing a prank on them.
This scene shows Lilo & Stitch walking as tourists drive by them and ask for directions to the beach in the most obnoxious way possible. “Ay, you speak English? Which way to the beach?” Yes, go ahead and assume that she doesn’t speak English and proceed to ask for directions in the most bigoted way possible. This is a scene that I just do not understand the reason behind it being deleted. If anything it would have educated the viewers and gave them a sense of reality of how racist and obnoxious tourists can be towards natives in their own land.
As I stated above, there have been some angry parents that are leaving negative reviews of how violent Lilo & Stitch was for their kids. If they think the final released product was “violent”, then they would have really raged seeing this next deleted clip. Stitch, otherwise known as experiment 626, main purpose for being created was to turn the world upside down in mass destruction, but at the most part he was the sweet creature who loved and stood by Lilo. That’s what we all love about Stitch right?
Well take a look at this horrifying moment that shows a more evil and sadistic side of the lovable extraterrestrial character. I am just really shocked and lost for words that this was even thought of being included in the film.
Lilo’s introduces Stitch to her other best friend Pudge the fish, but things get dark real fast. Stitch smacks Pudge out of Lilo’s hands and a flock of birds come and attack Lilo and Pudge. Instead of listening to his friends cries of help, Stitch just stands there smiling and watching Pudge die. To show Stitch being this heartless is truly disturbing and I am more than glad that this scene was cut.
If this wasn’t an eye-opening experience then I don’t know what is. Though learning the dark side of one of Disney’s most successful movies is hardly anything new, it’s still so mind blowing. While this hasn’t changed my positive perception of Lilo and Stitch, seeing what didn’t make it into the movie and the reasons behind it is just so fascinating. I find that all the deleted and edited scenes besides the racism one, have a sort of common theme of violence. What can you possibly expect from a movie about an extraterrestrial creature created for the purpose of evil? I am still glad that Disney toned it down a bit. To reprise the question asked before: What exactly is “too much” for a young audience? I guess we have a better understanding now.