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Atlantis: The Lost Classic
Anthony Paolino29 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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Amazing movie!
singthesorrow3033019 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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A new genre for Disney that actually works
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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Why are there so many negative reviews?
GoRedskins11_29 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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TimeTrvlr0317 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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Well, I liked it!
La Gremlin14 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?


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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One of the strongest from Disney's experimental era
anguscastle24 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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Better than reviewers give credit for
StartingAllOver149 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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Magical journey to our most famous lost city.
Elswet28 October 2003
Warning: 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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A departure from classic Disney
amabiliscasa5 January 2005
That hits a few speed bumps and shows it, but is well worth watching. Atlantis - The Lost Empire is an imaginative and engaging film about an unfunded linguist who seeks to find the lost city of Atlantis. He is turned down by conventional establishments (i.e. the stuffy museum where he works in the boiler room) and is given his chance by eccentric millionaire Preston Whitmore and a team of explorers. It suffices to say that Milo and company, after much adventure and mishap, discover Atlantis, which is vastly different from anything they expected, and Milo gets more than he expected out of his adventure. I would give this film 6 out of 10 stars - its not great Disney, but it's certainly better than some of the other crap out there. I watch it whenever it comes on TV, which is a good indication of an enjoyable film, I think. It isn't really a film for children. The plot is often hard to follow, and the action may be too intense for very little ones. There is a very sweet romance which grows out of a friendship, so there isn't any kissy kissy to make "blech" faces at. The characters are human and funny, and there are some pretty good one liners in here. Worth the time, if you like adventure and comedy.
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Great potential, but it winds up wasted in this middling sci-fi adventure.
Li-129 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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One of the better animated films ever made
MisterWhiplash15 June 2001
Atlantis is an experiment for Disney, but it is one of they're most successful ones. By excluding often dumb songs (though some of them in the past weren't horrible like in The Lion King and the Jungle Book) and even dumber animal sidekicks, Disney for one of they're few times taken an interesting type of story and given it good dialogue that will appeal to adults more than kids. And while I know kids are the prime target here, I reccomend the animation for them, which takes it's cues this time heavily from the pulp comic book tradition (which is a good thing) and the anime style of quickness and seriousness in characters (which is even better).

Michael J. Fox stars (in possibly his last role due to his claim that he will not act due to Perkinsens) as a "jibberish" decipherer who can decipher most lost languages, and believes in the fantasy of Atlantis, and soon a billionaire gives him a chance, and a crew, to find Atlantis. What follows is a energetic and flowing adventure of the journey, discovery, and fight of Antlantis, filled with spectacular animation (the crystal rise up scene and finale Atlantis scene are awesome animation feats) and characters that older kids and adults can like as much as, or even more than kids. And once again for you parents reading this, if your worries your kids won't like this, just remember what chum is coming up in a few weeks: Cats and Dogs. See this movie is only to avoid that. Varney's last voice-over and movie role (unless Daddy and Them gets released). A
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Severely under-appreciated movie
rockblast91918 October 2014
Maybe it's because it doesn't follow the typical Disney formula, but this fun, interesting, and hits on some relevant points about dreams, ambitions, and human greed. If you're looking for a dashing prince to save a beautiful princess, go watch another movie. If you want a movie that is enjoyable to watch again and again, watch this one. While character development varies, it's not hard to like the characters. Even the antagonists are likable, in the way that only villains can be. The animation style is different than most other Disney films, and personally, I like it.

This is one of those movies Disney has kind of swept under the rug and forgotten about, for reasons I don't understand. Kida is not featured with the rest of the Disney Princesses, (even though she is one of many who are actually princesses within their world of origin). This is another nuance I don't understand, and it, sadly, only serves to prove just how under-appreciated this movie is.
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Surprisingly good!
TheLittleSongbird20 July 2009
Although I have said that Tarzan is the last great Disney movie, there have been some surprisingly good films like Lilo and Stitch and Fantasia 2000, though the best of the post-Tarzan Disney movies is Emperor's New Groove. On the other hand, some of the direct to video sequels are saved by some excellent voice overs and moments of cuteness, but overall they are cheap parodies of their originals, Patch's London Adventure sadly being the worst. Atlantis: The Lost Empire belongs to the surprisingly good side of the film spectrum, with excellent visuals, particularly of Atlantis itself. The music was beautiful and sounded epic, and the voice cast was great, the standouts being Michael J.Fox and James Garner as Milo and Rourke respectively. John Mahoney and Cree Summer offer fine support as Whitmore and Kida, who is so sexy. I only have two criticisms of this movie. One is that while the idea of the story is fantastic, it is a little too fast for my liking. My second criticism is that while the script is very good on the most part, I don't think it is as funny as a film like Emperor's New Groove, though Vinny was hilarious, so I just worry that younger viewers mightn't find it as engaging as their parents. Overall, very pleasing to the eye, and a very good film overall. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Disappointing and sloppy
Jaymay17 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In the end, ATLANTIS is a specimen form the awkward middle period between the wonderful animated Disney musicals such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and the modern Pixar films.

On a story level, Atlantis is just plain sloppy. There are tons of anachronisms in the movie. They set the film in 1914, but almost immediately they create characters who look and talk like present day characters (does a wisecracking teenage latina mechanic sound like someone you'd meet in 1914?!).

Atlantis is too easy to find -- the explorers show neither smarts nor courage, and yet they are able to find the lost city where thousands of others have failed.

Finally, it's quite amusing how the filmmakers felt the need to stop the action in the middle of the movie to give these long, awkward detailed back-stories to the supporting characters. It is done in such a ham-handed way you really have to wonder what they were thinking.

The design of the characters is equally all over the map, with some of them (Milo, Kida) looking very middle-of-the-road, vanilla Disney characters and others (Mole) looking like something out of the Triplets of Belleville.

The subject matter is certainly interesting but overall it was a disappointing effort.
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A Treasure-Filled Adventure!
g-bodyl28 September 2008
Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a better movie than I thought. I never thought this movie would lead to my expectations. True, this movie started slow, but as the movie wore on it became more to my liking. The story takes place in 1914 and is about a guy named Milo. Milo believes in the fabled Atlantis. Along with friends of his grandfather, he embarks on an amazing adventure of his own. Along the way, he must endear friendship, betrayal, trust, and more. The voice cast is great. They surely know how to carry movies with only their voice talent. The music is nothing special but likable anyway. The animation is not the best, but it is still good enough. Overall, this is a good family movie for all ages. I rate this movie 9/10.
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The search for Atlantis is one to repeat again and again
lithodoray2k1 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The movie "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" is a shining gem in the rubble of films produced by the Disney Studios recently. Parents who have had to sit through "The Jungle Book 2" or even a Pokemon movie will surely appreciate this one.

The film is one of few to attempt at an original story; previous feature films were merely re tellings of existing stories. Films such as "Toy Story", "Finding Nemo", and "Monsters Inc." all do the same, but it must be noted that all were made by Pixar and only distributed by Disney. Recent films from the Disney Studios are mostly released direct to video, and are sequels to an existing successful film. The quality of those films is given way to the profitability. A new era started with "Atlantis" following it were "Mulan", "Lilo & Stitch", and most recently "Open Range". The writers have created all original story lines instead of the fairy tales of the past.

A good portion of the movie is devoted to the quest to find Atlantis, a task that has captured the imagination of many for hundreds of years. Including that of young Milo Thatch, voiced by Michael J. Fox. Milo is employed by a museum in Washington D.C.. His grandfather was a renowned archaeologist, who had devoted his life to discovering Atlantis. This was seen as a waste by his peers, and they wish Milo to not follow in his footsteps. After failing to convince the museum board of directors to sponsor his expedition, Milo comes home to find a woman in his darkened apartment. She takes him to her employer, a Mr. Whitmore. Whitmore was a close friend of Milo's grandfather, and wishes to send Milo with a team to locate Atlantis. Mr. Whitmore is very wealth and has paid for the best of everything. The crew that is to accompany him is the same as his grandfathers. The journey is filled with many great obstacles to overcome and is great fun to watch. The viewer finds themselves caught up in if they will reach Atlantis. The plot takes an unexpected turn after the discovery Atlantis, not just the discovery of people. It is enough to keep the interest of the older audience.

The animators have done a wonderful job in then depth of the animation. The movie is very successful in blending traditional animation with Computer Generated Images. A feat not easily achieved, most audiences are quick to notice the difference in the two. The characters are believably human. There are some nice chase type scenes, with lots of action going on. A few lulls are filled with jokes that the children just may not get.

The creativity of the writers really shines through. The culture of Atlantis is richly developed, including an entire language. The film uses references to Atlantis from historical sources, such as Plato. The disappearance of Atlantis from the world is explained. Believable, if by a younger audience, that magic really does exist. The powers of the people of Atlantis are not exactly presented as magic, but can best be described in this way.

Although set in 1914 the level of technology used is unrealistic. The voyage is in a submarine very reminiscent of Captain Nemo's nautilus, complete with sub pods that fire torpedoes. The giant diggers are driven by steam boilers so they did try for some era technology. The female characters are empowered in a way that women of the age would not have been, even holding roles in leadership. This is not a bad thing. It gives a good role model for my daughter to look to, rather than an all male cast.

One reason this film is a favorite of mine over other Disney films is that there is not one single song, ever. A tradition that began with the first feature film, "Snow White", and carried on through to "The Lion King", almost every Disney film is full of upbeat songs. This is great and all, what would the Seven Dwarfs be without "Hi HO!"? After the millionth time through it'd almost be better without, but this one spares the parent. Not once does every single person on the screen suddenly know the words to a song that no one has ever heard before and break out in song. I for one am grateful.

The storyline and depth of animation is sure to keep the attention of both parent and child alike. It is a film I am willing to watch again and again with my children.
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More deaths than a Rambo movie.....
Rob_Taylor25 September 2005
Gone are the days of completely harmless animations such as Bambi or Snow White. Today's Disney churns out movies like this (which I admit I found enjoyable enough) but which, in my humble opinion, are a far cry from the kid-friendly, don't-need-to-vet-it, it's-a-Disney, movies of yesteryear.

It was my partner who pointed out that there were rather a lot of people dying in this film for a Disney. I hadn't noticed up to then, being absorbed by trying to decide if the animation was actually very good, or very bad. But she was right. People die all over the place here. Not just casual, in-the-distance deaths either. People get drowned, are trapped and die in water-tight compartments, are even set on fire, for goodness sake! It's like the entire Disney team were hyped up on a caffeine overdose when they made this.

Whilst the movie is harmless enough entertainment for us adults, is this what we want our kids to watch? I can remember a similar incident with Disney's "Dinosaur" movie. All the mothers and toddlers trooping in to watch it, then a number coming out horrified after ten minutes once the meteor scene arrives, kids crying at all the little monkeys getting killed.

What this all says about what we let our kids watch these days is, I'm sure, a debate that will continue indefinitely. I think its OK for kids to be scared by movies. But I think the way we accomplish that needs to be given some attention. But enough sermonizing..

As for the film. The story is simple, along with the animation, for the most part. It's not a movie you'll watch again anytime soon, but it is quite entertaining for a one-off view. I was particularly pleased with the voice cast. It's nice to see old faves like James Garner getting to do their thing again, and Claudia Christian shows she can do this sort of thing quite well.

As I say, not one to be watched again and again. But harmless enough for a one-off least for us adults. Not for very small kids.
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Disney: The Declining Empire
HinxLinx24 June 2001
I heard a really bad rumor before I went in to the theater to watch Disney¡¦s Atlantis. But I still went watch it because I want to see it for myself. What I heard is Disney ripped off a Japanese animate called ¡§Nadia - The secret of blue water" (Gainax - 1991).

Let¡¦s put it aside from our head thinking the fact that whether Disney did it or not, it¡¦s true that the quality of Disney animation is declining. You don¡¦t agree with me? Fine. Remember the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Lion King? Even Hercules, or Tarzan. Think of those animations for a moment, please. Compare Atlantis to those 90¡¦s Disney classics you will understand what I mean by losing quality on their works.

Let¡¦s talk about character art. Comparing Milo (the main character), Audrey (the mechanic girl) or Helga (the blond sexy lady), you will find them don¡¦t really match. It seems like characters from different animation. I am not saying they don¡¦t match in the story but the way animators drew them. On the other hand, don¡¦t you think the mask princess Kida wears and how she moves are quite similar to Princess Mononoke?

Then how about the story? To me the story seems a bit fast pace. Within 30 minutes of the movie, we already watch the crew found Atlantis. There¡¦s nothing wrong with a fast pace, but a good story requires time to built up the relationship between characters. In this case, that¡¦s why I don¡¦t feel the friendship between the crew and Milo is convincing.

Over all, the movie was entertaining, but Atlantis can never be an animated classic as what Disney used to produce. It¡¦s sad that with strong influence from Japanese animation, Disney seems losing the direction of how to make a ¡§Disney style¡¨ animation.
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Haven't I Seen This Before?
stevenleadbetter7 November 2001
Classic Disney Fodder. Host of big names doing voice-overs. Cliched baddies. Noble causes. Happy endings. As I said, just plain usual. No apparent graphical enhancements since Disney's last few feature outings. Personally I await 'Monsters Inc.', with more anticipation than this offering. Not to say that this was not enjoyable as it was and the story, as usual, will appeal to both children and adults. This adult has seen for too much of his wholesome mulch before, however, and it brought nothing outstanding to a Disney catalogue already burdened with titles not dissimilar to this. Michael J Fox and Leonard Nimoy, amongst others, all make characters believable, but as I said, it has all been done before. A winning formula no doubt, but it would be nice if Disney stretched themselves like they did when making the technological leap to 'The Lion King'. Harmless, bland and average.
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Terrific Sci-Fi/Fantasty Adventure from Disney
Helio Copter6 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen this film three times, each viewing separated by several years, beginning with seeing it in the theater. And even as an ever-older adult, I like it more every time I watch it. This is one of the best things that Disney has ever produced, in my humble opinion.

First of all, it's not musical. This film is not a descendant of Cinderella or The Jungle Book or Beauty and the Beast. It's much more a descendant of Disney's live-action films like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It combines the classic style of Jules Verne-era science fiction with the retro-futuristic-mythology of Stargate (the lead character is basically Daniel Jackson). Throw in some Indiana Jones overtones, and there you have it. I love all of those influences, personally, and I find Atlantis here to be a very enjoyable blend of them.

From an animation standpoint, I love the stylized character designs. Some people note the influence of anime, but don't worry; the characters here don't look anything like the over-caffeinated Dragonball Z aesthetic. A better reference point would be Genndy Tartakovsky's original Star Wars: Clone Wars. CGI is used for some of the vehicles and panoramas, and it is breathtaking at best, but I really appreciate how the look is purely 2D - it's classic-style animation, just utilized optimally to fuel the adventure. There are some truly wonderful visual elements in this film, from the beautiful design of Atlantis to the steampunk-influenced submarines and other vehicles.

The cast of characters is made up of many typical clichés and types, for sure, but the dialog is often witty and the pacing fast. The only character who really bothers me is the French geologist/excavator Moliere, a truly horrible, demeaning caricature if there ever was one. Otherwise, the cast is fun, diverse and each individual is a worthwhile inclusion, making the film better for being a part of it.

I felt compelled to review this film because, having lived with it for all these years, I am more and more convinced that it is simply one of the best throwback sci-fi adventures put to film, animated or otherwise. It's true that the story could use some additional running time to flesh itself out, but I defy any other film to fit so much clearly-executed (if abbreviated) storytelling, action, humor, awe and wonder into an hour and a half. It goes without saying that this film is designed for the young at heart; if that describes you, rest assured that this one is a great experience for all ages.
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A Really Great Movie!
jayfoshag22 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I read quite a few of the reviews of Atlantis: The Lost Empire prior to writing my own. I have to say that there are pros and cons I can completely understand. I absolutely love this movie. To date, it is my all time favorite Disney flick.

Admittedly, I am a huge fan of Atlantis folklore, so I suppose I am partially biased, however I felt Disney really did the legend credit with this film. I thought the animation was well done, albeit very different than what Disney has done previously. Some reviews compare it to Japanese anime which I can definitely see. This does not take away from the film in the slightest though, considering the sweeping landscape views are incredible.

I will admit that many of the characters are predictable and cliché. Although,considering the serious overtone's of this film, the characters add a certain level of humor that truly keeps it rooted in Disney fashion.

There are a couple of issues I take with Atlantis, the first being that they turned the legend into something of a magical story. Now, this is not uncommon with Disney movies. Many of the tales that Disney has retold are done with a certain level of creative license. I completely understand this method, since the story has to be entertaining. If the Atlantean Empire really existed, I don't think anyone would expect that the citizens would still be alive thousands of years later. This does add to the appeal of the film.

However, I do take issue with some plot elements that went completely unexplained, i.e. the Shepard's Journal. Where did it come from?! How did the tales within it become known?! I am perfectly fine with the existence of the journal, but I really would like to know more of the background. Another issue I take is the fact that Disney wrote the Atlantean's as having a tropical, almost "rain forest" aspect. I have studied the Atlantis legend for years, and there has never been an indication that the people of Atlantis were a jungle dwelling people. The legend is based in the Mediterranean world, with the possibility of extending into the Atlantic Ocean. Certainly not a tropical environment. Couple that with the fact that Disney asserts the lost city's location is near Iceland, which makes the tropical idea even more absurd.

The final issue I take is the idea that Disney created a magical power source for Atlantis. I understand this works for the premise that SOMETHING needed to keep these people alive. However, (and again I refer back to the writings of the legend) there has never been any indication that Atlantis was so technologically advanced even our own modern inventions would be dwarfed. Advanced for their time? Absolutely. Advanced as far as civilization is concerned? Not in the slightest.

Overall, I thought the movie was very well put together. The problems I have are minor and really don't take anything away from the story that Disney is trying to tell with this film. Perhaps it's slightly inaccurate, but most Disney films are for the sake of the audience. I consistently watch this movie over and over because I think they really did a great job.
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Disney Grows Up
EmperorNortonII11 July 2001
"Atlantis: The Lost Empire" has been widely discussed as a departure for Disney animation. You can tell this is so, since this is not a G-rated musical. I found the animation very well done. There was some Atlantean lore that was thought-provoking. But there is quite a bit to be taken with a grain of salt. For one thing, most of the story takes place in 1914, but Cmdr. Rourke's crew looks more multicultural than can be believed. Anyway, the story mostly takes a back seat to the artwork, which is a common pitfall for animated features. I call it eye candy.
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