Atlantis: The Lost Empire


Directed by: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Written by:Tab Murphy
Starring: Michael J. Fox, James Garner, Cree Summer, Don Novello, Jim Varney, Leonard Nimoy
Released: September 20, 2001
Grade: C+

Working from the basement of a museum, Milo Thatch is a young scientist in search of a discovery.  His grandfather sought, but was unable to find, the lost city of Atlantis and it has fallen upon Milo to continue the quest.  Left an important book by his late grandfather, Milo believes the city to be hidden in a cavern in the waters of Iceland but cannot convince the museum’s directors to fund an expedition.

Unexpectedly, he is contacted by a nutty gentleman named Preston B. Whitmore who knew his grandfather long ago.  Fulfilling an old promise he made, Preston has found a large ship, a crew of over 200 and Commander Lyle Tiberius Rourke to escort Milo to a history making journey.  Sure enough, they find the lost city but it’s everything they didn’t expect.  People are still alive deep beneath the surface and the eternal life provided by a mysterious energy source keeps the city flourishing.  The arrival of these visitors from the upworld thought may threaten their existence...

By most standards, the film is poor but by Disney’s standards, it’s very poor.  You can bank on Walt’s company generating a big animated classic every summer but the quality is slipping with the increased competition.  For example, the opening scene contains subtitles and is a ridiculous way to start a film aimed at young kids.

The story is deep and spiritual which again seems beyond its target audience.  There were moments when even I couldn’t understand what the film was trying to say (such as the scene where Kida is filled by the Gods’ light).  I’m always for originality but the lukewarm box-office emphasises the disappointment enveloping this film.  Atlantis: The Lost Empire is also unfunny.  A few humorous lines come early on from the boat’s sarcastic announcer, Miss Packard, but there’s little else that’ll get those jaw muscles working (except for the popcorn).

Save yourself the trouble these school holidays and give the kids something more entertaining to pass the time (try Spy Kids).  As for Disney, they better get back to the drawing board.