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How do Disney and DreamWorks make monsters and aliens so lovable?

Animation has always had us falling in love with the crazy creatures on our screens. They remind us of what we love - hitting closer to home than you would think a dragon or alien ever could! Isobella and I have looked at two of our favourite adorable animated characters Stitch from Lilo and Stitch (2002) and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon (2010). We looked at why we think us and everyone else have fallen in love with these amazing adorable creatures.

The Fire Breathing Dog

Toothless starring in How to Train Your Dragon (2010) caused us all to instantly fall in love! His dog like tendencies melt hearts turning this scary man-eating dragon into something as loving and loyal as man’s best friend. Can you call Toothless a ferocious monster? In the background of this trilogy Toothless provides comedic beats – chasing his tail, sniffing other dragons, and playing fetch! He is the embodiment of everything dog. Instead of meeting in the park with a pooch these dragon-riders bring there best-friends together for rides and races. Toothless does everything with Hiccup and their relationship is so incredible on screen that everybody watching will find themselves wanting a dragon of their own. Toothless lodges himself into our hearts in the spot we reserve for dogs. This canine might breathe fire, but he is a dog at heart and that is why we love him.

There are so many reasons to love Toothless. The animation is so joyful! He cracks a goofy smile when he is pleased with himself and it is amazing to see every single time! Especially mid-flight when he is looking back at Hiccup. In How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World (2019) we are gifted long sequences of just Toothless and other dragons. There is no dialogue just facial expressions and body movements, but you still know exactly what Toothless is thinking. He is animated so well that we know everything we need to! These sequences are so hilarious! Toothless does his classic drawings using a tree trunk or giant stick as a pencil. It feels like his character has grown in front of our eyes from a young dragon into one who is confident, talking and flirting with the ladies. Toothless grows on our screen but retains his comic appeal and lovable charm.

The Oddest “Dog” Ever

This little monster catapulted into our lives as the protagonist in Lilo and Stitch (2002) and with his cheeky charm stole all of our hearts. In this beautiful and heart-wrenching film balance is struck between the comedic beats and more moving moments. Stitch (David Sanders' Voice) is complete and utter trouble! Known as Experiment 626 to his creator Stitch is a mongrel alien – the mischievous product of illegal genetic modification and experimentation. This little blue ball of madness is hard not to love and harder still to keep out of trouble. When adopted from an animal shelter on Earth by orphan Lilo and her sister Nani this devious “dog” is just avoiding capture from alien overlords. It becomes so much more though! His escapades and mischievous nature win over the hearts of Lilo and his audience. Stitch finds “Ohana” – a family where no one is left behind and a little girl that will do anything to show him love.

This film would not be the same without the alien rascal Stitch - “Oh good! My dog found the chain saw” – and his partner in crime Lilo. But its their growing relationship that is so beautiful and moving to see. This film is so funny and so sad all at the same time! Stitch identifies with the Ugly Duckling (Hans Christian Anderson). He is troublesome! An ugly “dog”! He is unloved and starved of attention acting out in pain like Lilo. She shows that he has a heart of gold under all his blue fur and a capacity to love and learn. Stitch is like all dogs and animals in need of shelter and a home. He is an ugly duckling waiting to be loved. It is through Lilo’s love for Stitch that this “dog” finds his place in the world. The mischievous Stitch is incredible, and I dare anyone to resist falling in love with this dog-alien.

Written by George Marshall and Isobella Norman

Edited by Isobella Norman

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