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69 out of 91 people found the following review useful:

A new genre for Disney that actually works

10/10
Author: Michael Griffin (djmike-tjg) from Cambridge, England
3 February 2002

Disney, the film name that once stood for all things innocent and suitable for all ages, has finally started to realise that to survive it needs to become more diverse. Such diversity has been very apparent in the last couple of years. Films like "Tarzan" and "The Emperor's New Groove" have made an attempt to move away from the traditional song-driven routine of Disney's past and into new, uncharted territory. "Atlantis" is the boldest step yet, but we have to remember: This is STILL Disney. The first ever serious film to come out of Disney's animation studio is a major achievement for them - in fact it's so serious it makes it into PG territory. Perhaps why a lot of families were scared off from seeing it this past summer.

But despite the more mature subject matter, this is still a film that Disney wanted to draw in the families with, not just mature audiences, so the plot had to be kept simple enough for children to understand, but interesting enough to take it away from the realms of "The Little Mermaid" et al.

So what we get is actually a potentially detailed plot, unfortunately suffering the blow of being condensed into a 96-minute movie. Ultimately, this is an action film about Atlantis, not about the exposition preceding it, so we are whisked through the first half hour with as many sequences bombarding the screen as is possible without losing coherency. Suspend your disbelief of how the characters get from point A to point B so quickly, you're unlikely to find an animated film that detailed coming out of Hollywood! If you want epic levels of detail in the plot, turn to James Cameron's "Titanic". Both films feature a boat in some manner.

And let's talk about love, shall we? Yes, as with a lot of films, the lead male (one Milo Thatch, a bumbling archaeologist) and lead female (Kida, the clichéd Atlantian princess) are set to fall in love with each other. But what I found was not as clichéd as I was expecting. By film's end, for once, the characters touching/feeling/kissing sequence was far more subdued. There's various points in the film where the attraction grows, but it's just not in the ballpark of, say, "The Little Mermaid" (A good thing).

You may have grasped that this is a rather clichéd film. Correct. You have your leading hero and heroine, backed up by more than half a dozen crew members who go on the expedition, all being given their moments during the film. Numerous other characters appear, take up the few minutes of screentime, then disappear. It doesn't take a genius to do the maths – a 96-minute film with a focus on action and visuals, and with a considerable cast, has very little time to expand the characters to any major extent. So what does it rely on? Clichés, and lots of them. Every character emulates something that has been done a thousand times before. You have the bumbling scientist, the attractive princess, the square-jawed colonel, the rich eccentric, the maniacal sleazebag, the Russian femme fatale – need I go on?

I don't know why this got to anyone – I found the tongue-in-cheek nature of this film quite amusing. Alright, this is meant to be a serious flick, but do you really expect Disney to give up every single trait of their history? At least the writers have tried to come up with consistently witty dialogue, and sometimes it even is a little inspired.

But in the end it's those big stunning visuals that put the icing on this cake. The CGI animation is truly amazing in places, and doesn't dwarf the characters, which was a flaw that let the recent "Titan A.E." down. Speaking of characters, Disney hired an outside comics industry artist to create the designs, bringing an anime style to the film. Infact the visual presentation of the film as a whole owes a lot to anime, much more so than any previous Disney outing. This resulted in a conflict with fans of the Japanese anime, "Nadia", for the film's overall similarities with said cartoon series. Having not seen this anime, I can't comment.

With picture, there is sound. Gary Rydstrom heads up the sound team, and what a soundtrack! From the opening shot the sound stage is alive and is a treat. James Newton Howard treats us to a dynamic musical score, which compliments the film in every way, never sounding out of place and always helping to build the tension or subdue it.

Perhaps I missed the point of what the creators intended. To me, the film conveys that it's an adventure thrill ride, albeit with a more serious tone than any Disney film before it. If you don't like the clichéd tongue-in-cheek attitude, then perhaps the effort that has been poured into the visuals will delight. Heck, at least the mythology is far more correct than can be said about other Disney efforts (*cough*Hercules*cough*).

This is a positive, 10 out of 10 review, from someone who was blown away by this film. I always suspend my disbelief with any animated film – after all, the laws of the real world are more than frequently broken in the cartoon medium. So sit back, enjoy the ride, and perhaps everyone can find something to enjoy about this film.

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45 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

Amazing movie!

8/10
Author: singthesorrow303301 from United States
9 October 2006

I thought this movie was very well put together. The voice-overs were also great. I liked how they all overcame their conflicts and reached their goals. I would recommend this movie to anyone. It was definitely worth the time and money to watch it. Atlantis has some comic scenes that made me laugh. Other scenes made me sad. And others made me glad. It is a movie any age can enjoy. From the moment Milo is the crazy "profesor" or until he gathers the crew up for the fantastic voyage under the sea. After I watched the movie, I read the book. It was good as well, but the movie puts better pictures in your mind. It is just like the book. But go ahead and watch this movie!

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39 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Sweet!

10/10
Author: TimeTrvlr03 from Boulder, Colorado
17 June 2001

This movie was great! It was an excellent rendition of an ancient myth. The animation was somewhat odd, but nothing new from Disney. It was definitely better than expected for a Disney movie with no singing.

The background animation was magical. It was a different level of work for the Disney people. Some of the characters were a little boxy, but it was more than made up for with the beauty and lushness of the scenery. The music was largely instrumental but that was perfect for the movie. This was definitely not a film that needed the characters to bust into song.

Perfect. 10 out of 10.

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39 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Well, I liked it!

7/10
Author: La Gremlin from Boston, MA
14 February 2002

Here's what I knew about "Atlantis" before watching it:

* - It's officially Disney's first animated sci-fi adventure. I'm not sure how accurate that is (I like to nitpick) but it made me curious first time I heard it described.

* - The preview looked, for the most part, damn cool. Evidently, it was also "too cryptic" according to some critics after the fact.

* - It apparently did SO badly that Disney said, "Screw it, let's re-release 'Spy Kids'".

So, with all that said, how is the movie?

Hella-cool.

I'm a sucker for animated fantasy that involves stirring music and rampant special effects anyway, but "Atlantis" goes all out. It's a throwback to all the CGI eye-candy shots in "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin", so much so that it's almost an effects animator's Best-Of Show. The characters maybe aren't that memorable (except, perhaps, for the ship's medical officer), and the plot's a little dull, but this isn't a movie you watch for the plot.

Here's a controversy that bothers me. The "failure" (as in, it "only" took in, like, five-hundred-million or something; I know animators who'd kill to see fifteen bucks of that) of this movie compared to the popularity of "Shrek" and "Monsters Inc." has been seen as evidence of the death of traditional animation. I don't think that's true. How do you account for the "South Park" movie? What about "Final Fantasy"? Really, the story and the artistry is everything, not the method. I don't know what Disney's comeback movie will be like, but I don't think they're out of the picture yet.

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25 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Why are there so many negative reviews?

10/10
Author: K Morman from Dallas, TX
9 February 2003

I thought that this film was very enjoyable. I watched this film with my wife BEFORE I had my first child. Therefore, I was not watching it as simply family entertainment and I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It seems as though many of the reviews are pointing out that this movie is not earth shattering, there were no unexpected plot changes and that the movie was predictable and boring. If these people were watching this movie expecting to have a religious experience doing so, then they were obviously going to be disappointed. This is simply an animated movie; nothing more. If you want to see this movie simply to sit back and let yourself be entertained, you will not be disappointed. In closing, this is definitely not the best movie Disney has made, but it IS entertaining and I do not understand the bad reputation it has received.

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Atlantis: The Lost Classic

10/10
Author: Anthony Paolino from United States
29 March 2014

I am absolutely astounded at the negative reviews for this film, both from IMDb and from the critics.

I grew up watching this film as a child, and I remember loving just about every second of it. Seeing it again at an older age, it holds up just as well if not better than I remember it. Some Disney films I feel are given too harsh of treatment from critics and I feel should be held in higher regard (The Lion King II: Simba's Pride for example), but if I had to pick the absolute most underrated film (animated or not) to ever come from them, I would have to choose Atlantis: The Lost Empire as one of my top picks.

To begin with, the animation is some of the best I've ever seen from Disney to date. The visuals feel so incredibly huge, they look realistic, they move fluently, the textures are amazingly detailed: One could be completely blown away by this just from the visuals alone. The scenes in the Crystal Chamber, the submarine, the fight/action sequences, they're incredible. The designs are something I can commend too. The look and feel of the city of Atlantis is very creative and awesome to look at, and I always got the sense that this was a real lost, living and breathing culture with a coherent society.

Something I feel this film gets especially right is the characters: Good lord, every single one of them is memorable. Milo, Kida, Sweet, Cookie, Mr. Whitmore, the King, Audrey, I could go on for a while. Each and every one of them have their own personality traits and all have their individual moments, plus no two are alike. Each and every one of them are likable and I found myself satisfied with each and every one of them. The demolition guy I especially enjoyed. Almost every line he said was hilarious, and his personality is hugely enjoyable too.

Speaking of that, that's another thing about this film: Its humor. I can't even begin to count how many moments and lines made me laugh. The writing for the humor is some of the funniest I've seen or heard, and almost every one of the protagonists has a funny line or two at some point. I think the most humorous scene for me were the ones with the demolition guy and Mole. Dear lord are they hysterical both together and on their own.

But on the opposite end of the spectrum, I absolutely love the drama that's conveyed throughout the movie. The story is very well written and it held my attention through to the end. It's definitely one of the most serious animated Disney films to date, and the first of its kind to not have any musical songs. Personally, I loved this touch. While I absolutely adore the songs in many other animated films, here I think it was more appropriate not to have any. The actions scenes are spectacular, especially with the final one that takes place. The violence and the gritty realism of everything makes the physics of its world seem closer to that of the real world (Or live action if you will), and I like things like that in animated films. Many characters die (I won't dare say who or why), a lot of depression sinks in for them, they use real guns, the violence is rather high, and I think it's great. (I'm not one of those people who always drool over action and special effects like with Michael Bay films, but I digress). The physics feel real and nothing is particularly cartoony in it, so I'm very glad Disney knows that kids can still handle serious drama like that.

And one other thing: The musical score by James Newton Howard is absolutely nothing short of fantastic. It could be because I'm a total sucker for chorus and choir music in movies, but the score here felt completely appropriate for the Atlantian setting. It has quite an Indonesian feel to it at times, while at other moments it has more of a Lord of the Rings influence to it, like when there's the loud choir going off in one of the major sequences. Every track has something to it, and it is one of the many Disney soundtracks I dearly wish I could buy to enjoy its full glory.

In conclusion, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is hands down for me the second most underrated animated film to ever come from Walt Disney Animation Studios (Coming in VERY closely behind The Lion King II: Simba's Pride). To reiterate what I said before, I am flabbergasted at the negative critic reviews for it, plus the rating here of 6.7 when that's more than a whole point lower than it should be. Atlantis: The Lost Empire is an absolute gem in the Disney lineup easily comparable to that of The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and so forth. It's always one of the first films I think of when I hear someone say they should revive 2D animation for all of these reasons and more.

This truly is a lost classic.

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18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Better than reviewers give credit for

8/10
Author: StartingAllOver14 from Norway
9 September 2007

"Atlantis" is a new and right step for a Disney feature. It's a good choice to make a film by such a mysterious legend like "Atlantis". I didn't have any expectations for this film, but after watching it, I don't quite understand why this film got so bad reviews. Even in my country the reviewers weren't positive.

"Atlantis" is not a perfect movie, but still one of Disney's greatest, even I doubt that this film ever will get "Disney classic" reputation. Well, that's another case. It's funny to think that this sci-fi movie was directed by the same directors as "Beauty and the Beast" and "Hunchback" (so Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale are trying to get away from their monster movies reputation, he he, I'm just kidding).

Well, enough nonsense. "Atlantis" is a watchable, exiting and very enjoyable film. Even this film it's a PG-rated action-feature, it's also suitable for kids, in my opinion (parents who mean the opposite, don't kill me for writing this, he he).

The story is a little predictable, but it doesn't ruin the movie. The comic book-inspired animation it's suitable for the film and set's a departure from the usual Disney-style. It's colorful, dark and detailed. The Deep Canvas sequences are pretty impressive. The film is also funny sometimes, even I more giggled than laugh through the movie. (SPOILERS) The characters of this film are also very likable, but unfortunately there isn't enough screen time to get to know everybody, so some characters are left behind (SPOILERS).

The score of James Newton Howard is absolutely great. It's daring and exotic. (SPOILER) The most impressive about this film is how they're making the Atlantean language sound very natural, ethnic and authentic. It's really awesome (SPOILERS OVER)

The script is tight and well-written, but still the there are some questions left unanswered in the story. But luckily there are not so much of them.

So do you're self a favor, don't listen to the reviewers and watch "Atlantis", cause it's waiting for you...

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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Magical journey to our most famous lost city.

9/10
Author: Elswet from .: Fiendish Writings in the Dark :.
28 October 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is written in stone that Disney animations simply ~must~ be musicals. Right? Where? Show me. Because I found this attempt to be much more enjoyable for ~not~ containing the hokey made-for-five-year-old standard Disney musical fare.

While the story was not as enthralling as it could have been, it was still quite good, enjoyable, and adventurous. I had hoped for a bit more, yes, considering the subject matter, but this movie is ~not~ the bitter disappointment or utter failure it has been billed to be.

The animation quality is average, but the dialog is quite compelling, as is the story line, plot, sub-plot, and amazing creativity I found within this production. I will refrain from outlining the plot, as it has been done and done, but this movie is well worth a view if you are a fan of fantasy.

This is, in my opinion, THE BEST Disney Animated Feature Length Film.

It rates a 9.4/10 from...

the Fiend :.

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23 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Great potential, but it winds up wasted in this middling sci-fi adventure.

Author: Li-1
29 July 2006

Rating: ** out of ****

If anyone still remembers, the early 2000s featured a glut of big-studio animated attempts at science-fiction adventures, with the likes of Titan A.E., Heavy Metal 2000, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, and Treasure Planet all tapped heavily for box office or home video success. In hindsight, the studios were apparently capitalizing on a nonexistent trend, seeing as all these films were box office disappointments. Of the bunch, the only one that could qualify as a mild financial success would be Disney's Atlantis, which is baffling considering it's probably the weakest film of the bunch.

After dispensing with a spectacle of a prologue in which the titular city is flooded by massive tidal waves, the film skips to the year 1914, where linguist and generally nerdy scientist Milo Thatch (voiced by Michael J. Fox) is once again unsuccessful in securing funds for an expedition to the fabled lost city. But he's given a second chance by a rich recluse (voiced by John Mahoney) who's put together a large team to search for Atlantis, led by a military commander (James Garner) who may have ulterior motives.

Traveling by submarine, the expedition finds themselves depleted of manpower and resources after an encounter with a robotic sea creature. Making their way through a system of underground caverns, the team eventually finds Atlantis and its native inhabitants, who greet them with an equal mix of suspicion and enthusiasm. The Atlanteans are apparently all centuries old but have forgotten how to read and write their own language. Problems arise when the commander reveals his true intentions to steal Atlantis' power source, putting Milo into action hero mode when he decides it's up to him to save the city and its princess.

Despite a potentially exciting premise, Atlantis virtually derails itself in its early scenes when it introduces its colorful cast of characters. Right off the bat, almost everyone is too quirky, be it in personality or in the manner in which they've been artistically rendered (characters' hands are drawn way too large). The worst offender has to be the horribly misguided Mole character, whose one-note schtick, that being his obsession with digging, is milked for all its worth for its humor, which is to say, not much at all, making almost every attempt at comic relief fall flat. The other supporting characters, whether it's the deadpan old lady or the sarcastic Italian explosives expert, aren't much better, but at least they're not as annoying.

As the film's hero, Milo Thatch is made fairly personable by the likable Michael J. Fox, but he's too awkward and gangly to be bought as an action hero even by animated standards. About the only characters who consistently work, either through their visual rendition or their personalities, are Helga and Princess Kida, the former oozing with sultry sex appeal and the latter quite charming and winning.

For such minor to moderate successes, it's unfortunate the most detrimental flaw of all is that the film just isn't that exciting. The first half of the picture, which details the crew's journey to Atlantis, should have been fraught with excitement and wondrous discovery, but these scenes are rushed through too quickly to sustain any sort of momentum. The second half is admittedly more successful, thanks to some surprisingly solid and charming romantic chemistry between Milo and Kida. Though the plot turns absolutely cliché at this point (what are the chances Milo's quirky buddies won't help him out?), the climactic battle delivers its share of visceral thrills, and the main villain is dispatched in a convincingly unpleasant fashion. It's not quite enough to win me over, but it does keep this film somewhat firmly above the level of subpar entertainment.

The story "borrows" quite liberally from Stargate, which itself stole from quite a few other films, making Atlantis feel almost like a second generation rip-off. Despite having been marketed to the teenage audience, I see this film being most enjoyed by younger children who have the higher tolerance for the quirky characters, the rushed pace, and the by-the-numbers plotting.

Even though the film didn't work for me, I am nonetheless quite glad the movie had even been made in the first place. American studios don't usually market their big-screen animated productions to the sci-fi and action/adventure crowd, so part of me still gets a thrill or two that Disney actually gave it a shot. They'd try again a year later with Treasure Planet, and though that film was unquestionably a financial disaster, it was a massive improvement upon Atlantis in every conceivable manner.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of the strongest from Disney's experimental era

7/10
Author: anguscastle from England
24 March 2016

Whether you love or hate this film, no one can deny the hard work put into it. For starters, it inspired a new language - Atlantean. The animation is also very good (and one of Disney's last to be animated in its classic form before the horrible Chicken Little came along).

The characters certainly are easy to engage with, especially the main protagonist Milo who is adorkable and a hard worker. Atlantis TLE is also one of the most original story lines Disney has ever come up with for a while too. It's also very much action-packed and has some humour to.

A couple of criticisms I have is that I felt a little bit bored at times so I guess the plot isn't completely solid and the comedy side of it came off as quite gimmicky sometimes (mostly derived by Mole's character).

Overall, Atlantis is not the greatest Disney film ever but it certainly is worth a watch and greatly under appreciated.

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