Lilo and Stitch is my least favorite movie of all time.
For many reasons: Whitewashing, tourism propaganda, traumatic story line, and the continued exploitation of Hawai’i Nei, but mostly because of the appropriation and degradation of Hawaiian language.
Stitch is an alien who comes from outer space and speaks in an alien language that is often likened to gibberish. Throughout the film his gibberish alien language is paired with actual Hawaiian language in a comedic, infantilizing fashion. His most quoted line being “Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”
This is continued throughout the franchise as they allow his gibberish to be continually paired with authentic language also see tiki culture.
This is not the only kids film that does this. Many have pointed out how the Minions franchise exploits several languages to add to “the comedy”.
Other examples can be found in the Hotel Transylvania franchise, i.e. Camp "Winnepacaca", a made up name to insult traditional Indigenous language.
The issue is that these languages are being used:
As if they are not real languages
For “comedic” effect
As a means to exploit the cultures they belong to
Without remorse for the harm it causes
Similar has been said about the constant use of other accents than American for villains in films. These dynamics are intentional and should not be ignored.
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