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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on April 9, 2003
I recently checked this movie out on TV. Wasn't bad, But wasn't good either. I lked the fact that Disney was exploring new concepts and ideas in this film. Atlantis is visually nice,the animation and CGI wotrked together nicey. However, the plot fell apart. I felt bad about that had this movie's script been thorugh another round in the edits this could have been a groundbreaking film for disney.

The main problem with the story is TOO many characters. Part of successful fantasy/sci-fi is the ability to develop relationships between the characters so that we get to know them. I couldn't root for the hero because I couldn't find him. Milo is overshadowed by the large supporting cast of colorful crewmen. He has very few scenes to establish himself as a hero. His relationship with "Kida" wasn't developed either. I would have liked to seen them develop her character a bit more. Worse, I couldn't find the Villains either. The bad guy wasn't revealed until the near end. Usually in disney films such as the Lion King, Little Mermaid, or Aladddin we know who the main players are. Even in anime such as Dragonball Z we know that Goku, Vegeta and Piccolo are the good guys. Also, there were too many jokes that seemed convoluted. I wish they had played this film as a straight drama. That would have given the writers an opportunity to work out the bugs in the script. I believe another 30 minutes would have tightened the plot mase this a WAY better film.

Disney shouldn't see Atlantis as a failure. It was an ambituous departure from the usual disney fare of big strong heroes, weak heroines, cute animals, and singing dish sets. I would love to see disney try to take risks like this more often. I look forward to the day when Disney makes animated films with adult themes. Here's to hoping this and Treasure Planet aren't the end of a very unique and interesting creative era in the Disney animation division.
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on March 2, 2003
* It is almost guaranteed that any Disney animated movie will
be a magnificently produced feast for the eyes, even though
the script may not be anything to write home about.
ATLANTIS, THE LOST EMPIRE fits this formula perfectly. The
story is a bit by-the-numbers. In 1914, a frustrated young
archaelogist and student of dead languages named Milo Thatch
(voice of Michael J. Fox) is trying to convince the officials
of the museum in which he works to help him in his search for
the lost kingdom of Atlantis, which Milo believes sank into
the middle of the Atlantic long ago.
They don't believe him, but a wealthy friend of Milo's eccentric
archaelogist grandfather comes to his aid, and Milo finds himself
on board a custom-made exploration submarine with a fairly
typical B-move gang of misfits in a dangerous adventure that
takes them all to the depths of the sea and into the bowels of
the Earth ...
OK, I need say no more, that gives the general idea. The story's
a bit of INDIANA JONES and quite a bit of Edgar Rice Burroughs
(maybe a dash of that old Harryhausen movie as well) and
if it's not all that inspired and is quickly forgotten, at
least it clicks along nicely and isn't quite as ponderously
moralizing as many Disney animated flicks.
And it doesn't really matter anyway, because the story's
basically an excuse for going on an animated Disney thrill
ride, or more correctly a series of them. In fact, I wouldn't
be surprised if ATLANTIS was leveraged into a bunch of very
entertaining VR rides. It is all very definitely a feast for
the eyes -- maybe a bit too visually busy and hyper for some
people -- and though I don't like going to theatres much
any more it was a bit of a pity that I didn't catch it on
a wide screen. (Got to get some goggle viewers one of these
days so I can get the effect at home.)
So basically ATLANTIS may not have a lot of substance, but
the package is so pretty that it's not any big deal that there's
not all that much inside.
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on April 21, 2002
Actually, there was a lot of hype about this movie in the media. I was attracted to it because it is different. But If you are looking for a complete story-line, you will have to watch it straight through to understand it completely. Most of the time I found the story line a bit choppy when it did exist at all.
Yes there were a lot of memorable scenes, but they went by so fast that I would have to watch the movie again. Of course, Milo was the only one in the quest for the lost continent for the adventure, everyone else just wanted the fame and fortune.
You really had to sift through the personality conflicts to get to Kida's true purpose. The King of Atlantis already knew he made a mistake trying to harness the power of the crystal for war purposes, so why didn't he educate his daughter Kida and his people to watch for this when the explorers came? Ignorance does not always mean happiness. I will give the King one thing, though. At least he realizes that he has made mistakes with his daughter and his people, keeping them ignorant about their past.
Another thing is, I felt like I was watching a G.I. Joe comic book with all the high tech battle scenes. Of course, this exploration was on the eve of World War I. At least that tie in was on the mark historical-wise. This movie would be totally inappropriate for anyone under the age of eight because of the violence and tabacco use.
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on April 1, 2002
Milo, a mild-mannered linguist, is recruited by a reclusive billionaire to participate on a quest to find the lost continent of Atlantis. Joining him on the trek are a motley assortment of colourful characters, and together they battle subterrainian monsters and eventually find the lost continent. However, not all the characters have noble motivations..... This film was meant to be a departure from the standard song-and-dance musicals that we are used to from Disney; instead, Atlantis offers up a Japanimation vision and an action-packed thrill ride that never quite comes together.
The film is visually fantastic, seamlessly blending traditional 2-D hand-drawn main characters with 3-D computer-generated vehicles and landscapes. For any given scene, you can't tell the difference, showing the skill of the animators (and the directors for getting everyone on the same page). In addition, the sound and score are flawless. Unfortunately, the story and characters don't quite live up to the visuals and sound. The secondary characters get equal screen time, and Milo never develops a comraderie with most of them. This becomes glaringly obvious when it comes time to choose up sides for the confrontation between the noble explorers and the greedy plunderers. The motivation of the characters seems driven by the plot instead of vice versa.
This Special 2-DVD Edition has everything you could ever want to know. There are numerous little documentaries covering all aspects of the filming. The most interesting are those covering the voice actors (it's always interesting to see the real faces behind the voices). In addition, there are some cut scenes (most of which are crudely drawn and never finished) and over 1000 (!) storyboards and concept drawings covering all aspects of the development of the film. There is a directors' commentary voiced-over the film iteself, along with cut-aways showing development aspects that blend into the film. That the extras on disc 2 rarely duplicate the extras spliced into the directors' commentary is a testament to the care with which this DVD edition was put together.
Thus, although the film is a treat to watch and listen to, I found it a little contrived and it never quite worked for me. As a child, I never liked musical numbers in animated films, but Atlantis seems to be missing its soul because of the lack of songs. This Special Edition DVD is better than the film deserves, I think, and anyone interested in the creative process behind making a Disney animated feature will find a lot in the extra features.
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on March 4, 2002
The family really liked this movie. It kind of slipped under the radar when in the theaters, leaving no preconceptions when we popped this in the dvd player. Maybe that completely blank slate is why "Atlantis" was caught us by surprise.
Very nicely written, "Atlantis" cleverly tells a good story with intelligence, warmth and kindness that is all too infrequently found at the movies these days - whether targeted at kids or adults. Sure, a cynic could find a few standard character devices, but so what. Whatever forumlas followed here are done in service of a good story.
If you like "Iron Giant", this is your kind of movie. "Atlantis" goes on the shelf as an above average addition to other Disney flicks. This is a smart, fun movie for all ages.
While the story and writing must be given top billing, the voice work is very good as well. Remember Father Guido Sarducci from SNL? You'll hear Don Novello here as the demolition expert, Vinny. Michael J. Fox does a very nice job as Milo, the story lead. James Garner has an avuncular menace. I KNEW the voice of the Atlantean King while watching but just couldn't place him. It was an "of course!" head-slapper when Leonard Nimoy's name came along in the credits. Nice comic relief from the late Jim Varney as Cookie. It seemed only the "mole" character did not work that well for me.
Pick this one up. You'll be happy to watch it with your kids and happy your kids are watching this as many other times as they wish.
A solid 3 1/2 stars.
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on March 3, 2002
'Atlantis - The Lost Empire' takes several steps in the right direction for Disney, but not enough. I'll explain why in a bit...
Milo (voice of Michael J. Fox) believes he knows the location of the lost city of Atlantis, if he could only finance a voyage. His dream comes true when he (with a little help) leads an expedition to discover the ancient city. (Sort of an Indiana Jones Under the Sea, if you will.) That's basically all there is to the plot. Not complicated, but full of potential.
Disney has made some really good moves with 'Atlantis.' First of all, the film contains no musical numbers. I like Disney songs as much as the next person, but was glad none were included here. Also, the film has no cute little furry creatures for comic relief or "cutesy" moments. Thank you, Disney.
The animation is first-rate, especially the battle scenes and the ending of the film. Very well done, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, the plot does have several holes that other have mentioned. I don't even mind that. What I do mind are idiotic characters that are included for comic relief (The cook and the "Mole" specifically). And why, WHY does the main character have to be a bumbling hero that somehow conquers all and saves the day? When is Disney going to decide one way or another whether they are making a film for kids or for adults? Of course, Disney wants to appeal to mass audiences. Okay. If you must have it both ways, look at how "the other guys" are combining kid and adult fare with success in the form of 'Shrek' and 'Monsters, Inc.' Disney has always been on the cutting edge of animation. That distinction is being threatened by Pixar. If Disney continues to crank out animation with the same formula stories, their audiences will indeed become as hidden as Atlantis.
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on February 5, 2002
No singing teacups or lions in this one, thank goodness, but it was'nt perfect either. Some people did'nt like the fact that people got crushed, burnt up, drowned and beaten to death in Atlantis; it was not a little kiddie movie. Personally, I think its better to show the fact that when a sea monster hits you over the head you don't just say "ouch". Atlantis is a classic fantasy adventure film with adventure film elements.
The story was pretty good and the sound in this DVD is truly wonderful but my big problem with Atlantis is the animation: Some of the visuals were very compelling but it could have been alot better. All the people look like they were put through a taffy pulling machine and sometimes the images looked extremely blocky (maybe this was caused by the transfer to DVD process?).
Imagine if they used the same technology that was employed to make "Final Fantasy", now that would have been amazing.
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on October 23, 2001
i saw the movie three times when it was showing. i must say i am very impressed that disney actually made a decent animation that is away from singing animals, objects... etc and actually target not just the kids but adults! unfortunately, i have also seen a japanese animation series named "nadia" - which was aired in japan more than ten years ago - that have many similarity to atlantis. not just teh character design, but plots, actions and scenes! maybe because the two are based on jules verne's "20,000 leagues under the sea"... but come on disney! at least drew the character differently and change some of the scenes for god's sake if you 'borrowed' idea from somewhere else! anayway. having say that this is an enjoyable movie. very anime like from disney. i would recommend people to rent "kiki's delivery service". disney, keep it going! and be more creative with the next one please.
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on February 1, 2003
When I saw this in theats, I was really looking forward to seeing a Disney movie without any of the characters suddednly bursting out and singing! Well, that was the best part of the whole movie! That and the neat style of animation (although all my friends got a real kick out of the SQUARE FINGERS!)
The plot is very original . . . unless, that is, you've seen "Stargate". The similarities arew almost endless (the look of the main characters, etc.). Also, if you've seen THAT movie & read the Jules Verne book "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", there is nothing new at all in here.
Rating: 2 Stars
The DVD is fantastic, however. Actually, it's kind of like the DVD of "Snow White". . . . The DVD's are incredible, but the actual movies [arent] ("Snow White" more than "Atlantis".
Rating: 4 Stars
Overall: 3 Stars: Worth viewing once, but not buying unless you're an avid DVD collector.
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on June 24, 2003
There are two ways to depict Atlantis. The first is how Plato did it- a kindgom on land destroyed by floods. The second is to describe an underwater kingdom, with or without aliens or robots. Disney, of course, chose the second way, without aliens but with robots, or at any rate, mechanical fish.
This movie has its moments, to be sure. But it falls short of compelling drama and emotion of past Disney greats. It includes characters that one would prefer not to see, such as the digger. There are also scenes which include giant iron robots and sudden transformations of people to silver that seem to come out of nowhere. At times characterization seems cliched, as when the camp scolds Michael J. Fox for always reading his book, as if the writers need to confirm he is a nerd. Still, Atlantis is funny, and interesting in its own way, a cross between innocent humour and comic book fantasy.
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