Growing up in Hawaii, I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with “dumb tourists.” You live here long enough and I’m sure many of us have a story or two about island visitors who just have no common sense or any ounce of courtesy. It’s this little bit of Hawaii nuance that seems to have been cut in a recently surfaced deleted scene from Disney’s 2002 animated feature Lilo & Stitch.
The scene depicts Lilo & Stitch walking along a road and being asked several times for directions to the beach by tourists; and let’s just say they’re not depicted in the most favorable light. Later in the sequence, Lilo shows up at the beach and uses our monthly tsunami siren warning tests to scare off all the tourists at the beach. Here, take a look for yourself:
I know the film is somewhat divisive in regards to the portrayal of Hawaii and local culture; but I wonder if anyone’s perception would have changed if this scene had actually made it into the film. It looks like this scene and the idea behind it made it pretty far in the development of the film as it made it past the storyboard stage and got some rough animation and voice cast treatment.
At face value I don’t think there’s anything bad or wrong about the scene. Lilo has a little fun by scaring the tourists. If you’re from Hawaii, you’d have to be a fool not to realize what’s really going on there and I definitely think this scene is the work of the filmmakers trying to accurately depict local culture. However, imagine yourself as a mainlander (the typical person seeing this film); you’d probably only see a mean spirited girl from Hawaii giving visitors a hard time.
A lot of speculation seems to be circulating as to why the scene was actually cut. Guess run from “they didn’t want to offend anyone so they took it out” to the more practical “it was cut for time length purposes” and everywhere in between. And I guess we’ll never really know. I haven’t seen Lilo and Stitch in a while and I’m actually a little curious as to what point in the film this sequence would have been. Right now we only have this one scene out of context and knowing where in the film it would have fallen might give us more insight into the state of Lilo’s character. In any case I find it really interesting that the animators even thought to put something this nuanced and challenging into a Disney film and a little disappointed that some form of this didn’t make it into the final product.
What say you? Would keeping the scene have hurt the film? Was the scene deleted as to not offend a majority of its audience? Let us know what you think in the comments.