Atlantis: The Lost Empire

(2001)
Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Voices by Michael J Fox, James Garner. (U)

 

A drab, over-complicated and utterly forgettable Disney adventure. There aren’t even any songs or cute cuddly creatures in this waterlogged tale that tries to be 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with cartoon explosions. Instead, we get the plodding tale set in 1914 of Milo Thatch (nicely voiced by Fox), a young man who believes in the legend of Atlantis and, thanks to a journal written in Atlantean that only he can translate, has a pretty good idea where it is. Luckily for Milo there’s an eccentric millionaire who believes in Atlantis too, and is funding an expedition to rediscover it. Soon our eager hero is mucking in with the crew of a submarine (led by crusty Commander Rourke, voiced by Garner), on his way to find the lost city.

While the underwater world is beautifully realised, the animation of the characters is surprisingly blocky (check out the square fingers and triangular fingernails – what’s that about?) and will no doubt get the thumbs down from kids more used to the colourful and three-dimensional animation of Toy Story or Shrek. Equally, it’s hard to imagine younger viewers sitting still through a film that waffles on about New-Agey ‘life forces’ and gets all deep and meaningful around the time Milo realises the army he has been sent down to Atlantis with may not have the Atlanteans’ best interests at heart. Even sci-fi-style effects that pepper the film regularly enough to stop you slipping into unconsciousness don’t raise this to the level of one of Disney’s lesser films of the last twenty years. After all, even the dire The Fox and the Hound had a cute fluffy puppy… 

 

Star Star

SCARY MOMENTS:

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