'We Did That First': 'Lilo & Stitch' Director Chris Sanders About 'Frozen' Praised For Being The Pioneer Of Sisterhood

On the occasion of the film's 20th anniversary, Sanders has finally expressed his frustration about 'Lilo & Stitch' being sidelined.

Source: IMDb

What is the first film that comes to your mind when someone mentions sisterly love in Disney movies?

If you thought of Frozen, you are much like the majority of people out there who attributes the 2013 film to introducing the love between sisters over a romantic plot. You are also likely the cause of ire for Chris Sanders, the man behind the 2002 hit film Lilo & Stitch, the Disney film that portrayed sisterly love first. On the occasion of the film's 20th anniversary, Sanders has finally expressed his frustration at Lilo & Stitch being sidelined in discourse about films that do not follow the "waiting for your prince to rescue you" trope.

Disney movies have always been teaching kids important values about life and love. While the older Disney princess movies may not have been the best at teaching young girls about finding love, the later films have had much better messaging. Some films taught us that it's okay to not go in the pursuit of love, others taught us that there is more to love than just romance. The love of your family is a common theme in Disney movies these days that have followed the precedent set by the 2002 film Lilo & Stitch

"To be clear, I think Frozen's great," Sanders said in the interview with The New York Times. "But it was a little bit frustrating for me because people were like, 'Finally, a nonromantic relationship with these two girls,' and I thought, 'We did that! That has absolutely been done before.'" The film follows the story of Lilo, a six-year-old Hawaiian girl who is being raised by her elder sister Nani after their parents die in a car crash. Lilo meets a blue extra-terrestrial creature whom she adopts as her pet dog and names him Stitch. "Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten," is a line that is memorable even after all these years.


In the film, we see Nani come to terms with taking care of her sister as CPS tries to intervene and tear their family apart. “When the film came out, that’s what a lot of critics talked about,” he said. “Those moments that were based in reality in a way that people could see themselves in, and it didn’t feel like they were cartoon characters.” This was despite there being extra-terrestrial creatures in the film. What's important is we see a heartwarmingly happy ending with the two sisters finding a peaceful way to live together.

Frozen too sees the two princesses, Elsa and Anna, who lose their parents. Elsa has magical powers that she worries the citizens will fear her for and grows distant from her younger sister. Elsa runs away from her coronation ceremony after her powers of ice go out of her control. She freezes her whole kingdom and starts living a life as a hermit. But Anna is unwilling to give up on her sister. Elsa accidentally freezes her sister's heart which could only be undone by true love. This is when sisterhood wins and also melts the hearts of the audience. The two films are polar opposites in a lot of ways but the common message they convey is the most important here.