Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Review by Eugene Kopman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Disney has done it again. I don't know how, but they made another great, animated adventure. This is not a typical Disney summer movie; for one, it's not a musical. The only song in the movie comes during the credits and is performed by Mya.
Now the story: Plato, in 360 B.C., said, "in a single day and night of misfortune the island of Atlantis disappeared into the depths of the sea." Milo Thatch (voice by Michael J. Fox), a specialist in ancient and modern languages, dreams of finding it. Milo believes that the only was to find Atlantis is to acquire a journal that actually had all the maps and details to Atlantis. After many unsuccessful proposals to fund his expedition by a museum, an old friend of his grandfather's, Preston P. Whitmore (John Mahoney), recruits Milo to head up the expedition to Atlantis. To Milo's surprise, Whitmore gives him the journal, which was actually found a long time ago by Milo's grandfather. Whitmore also supplies Milo with the finest crew around, including Commander Lyle T. Rourke (James Garner), explosives expert Vinny Santorini (Don Novello - a.k.a. Father Guido Sarducci), "Cookie" Farnsworth (Jim Varney), and telephone operator Wilhelmina Packard (Florence Stanley) -- a character who in my opinion got the biggest laughs in the film.
Milo leads everyone to Atlantis, but in the process, they lose their main ship and a lot of men to a sea creature in a beautifully animated scene. Atlantis is also beautifully imagined as put on paper. It is, pretty much, heaven. Milo and the gang meet Princess Kida (Cree Summer), who shows them the island and introduces them to her father, King Kashekim Nedakh (Leonard Nimoy), who doesn't want visitors, but let's them stay one night. Milo and Kida strike a romance and Kida tells Milo that Atlantis is dying because it's losing it power. By myth, Atlantis possessed this power source that let the Atlantians have a stronger civilization then any other countries of the time. Milo promises to help Kida save Atlantis.
But wait, who is the villain? If you are familiar with Disney movies, you know, there is a villain. For example, The Lion King had Scar; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had the Queen/Witch. In Atlantis, the story does not reveal the villain until more than half-way through the movie. It is also a nice twist in the story -- that is why I am not saying another word.
Atlantis is a beautiful film for both kids and adults, standing up there with Disney's Tarzan, which I thought was very close to the greatness of The Lion King. Atlantis is a beautifully animated movie with a very good story line and great voice-over work. I guess this summer's best films so far are not live action; along with Shrek, Atlantis is my choice for a summer movie at this point.
Note: Another bone to pick the ratings committee. This movie does not deserve a PG rating. Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame, another very good one, had much violence and sexual innuendo, but got a G. The movie had a song about lust, for God's sake. I am actually anti-ratings, but if you have a system, stick to it. Give an R to What's the Worst the Could Happen? and Little Nicky, they deserved it, but Atlantis getting a PG is just wrong.
For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Video Pick of the Week
Guide to Star Ratings