1914: Milo Thatch, grandson of the great Thaddeus Thatch works in the boiler room of a museum. He knows that Atlantis was real, and he can get there if he has the mysterious Shephards journal, which can guide him to Atlantis. But he needs someone to fund a voyage. His employer thinks he's dotty, and refuses to fund any crazy idea. He returns home to his apartment and finds a woman there. She takes him to Preston B. Whitmore, an old friend of his Grandfathers. He gives him the shepherds journal, a submarine and a 5 star crew. They travel through the Atlantic ocean, face a large lobster called the Leviathan, and finally get to Atlantis. But does the Atlantis crew have a lust for discovery, or something else?Written by
Despite the film's polarizing reception, Cree Summer has said that Kida is her favorite role - and she considers her an official Disney Princess even if she isn't in the line. Cree also said she was amazed that the Disney animators were in the studio sketching her as she recorded her lines - having not been used to that in most of her voice-over work - and that is one of the reasons Kida is her favorite role. See more »
Mr. Whitmore claims the crew he has hired were the same team that retrieved the journal in Iceland. However, the photo Whitmore shows Milo does not include Audrey and the man seen in her place is implied to be her father who as mentioned by Audrey is retired. See more »
On Screen Text:
[the text that appears on screen]
"... in a single day and night of misfortune, the island of Atlantis disappeared into the depths of the sea." - Plato, 360 B.C.
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This pastiche of turn of the century adventure stories (specifically inspired by Jules Verne, apparently) has been mostly forgotten over the years, and overall doesn't seem to have a fantastic reputation. I would argue that this is not deserved. That doesn't mean this film is some kind of hidden gem. It is relatively formulaic (though that's to be expected, somewhat, considering what it's trying to do) and doesn't feature much depth of character. But I can forgive that in an adolescent adventure story if there is wit, pace, ambiance, humour, and spirit - which this film has in droves...and which is what I think the 12 year old boys this movie was obviously marketed to are really looking for.
I certainly was when I first saw it (at that age), and at that time it didn't disappoint. Viewing it through that lens, it still doesn't today. There is great imagination behind the portrayal of the Atlantean culture, some really comic characters (somewhat surprisingly, I thought all of them were unique and interesting to some degree - with the possible exception of the somewhat bland love interest, the antagonists, and the clichéd king of Atlantis), and a pace that never lets up.
If the film were too meandering or bloated, it would have fallen apart, but an awareness of what it wants to be (a straightforward adventure story) helps it succeed. The basic beats of the story are competent to prevent it from losing momentum, and since it never imagines it is a "great work of cinematic art", it never bothers bogging us down in poorly thought out character development (a not- uncommon flaw in bloated special effects movies, whose pretentiousness sometimes keeps them from being what would have been a decently entertaining action film...at half the length).
The visuals, however, are probably the shining star of this movie. Reportedly there was a lot of work put into developing the Atlantean culture; a whole language was even constructed (courtesy of Mark Okrand, who is famous for inventing the Klingon language used in the Star Trek universe), and the work shows. A lot of the appeal of fantasy movies is their ambiance, and this film gets that.
Sure, the film is no masterpiece, but that was less because of what it did wrong than the fact it didn't really go the extra mile character wise. The movie is competent, and has genuinely entertaining elements beyond the basic spine of the story, and for that I award it 7 stars out of ten.
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