Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Dir: Gary Trousdale + Kirk Wise
Star: (Voices) Michael J Fox, Claudia Christian, James Garner
Cert / Year: U - PG / 2001
Format: DVD R1

Milo Thatch, a dog's body working in the basement of a museum, has a big dream. He wants to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and become an explorer. What's more he has a lead on his Granddads last quest, the location of Atlantis. His dreams suddenly become reality thanks to the funding of Preston Whitmore an eccentric millionaire. Setting off in a giant submarine he is joined by a raggedy band of mercenaries and treasure hunters led by the tough Rourke and the dangerously beautiful Helga. Will he find Atlantis and if so what will he find there.

Last year was a big year for animation with Shrek, Final Fantasy and Titan A.E. all being pretty good, but the one thing they had in common was that they weren't Disney movies. It can be truthful to say that the biggest animation studio had been stuck in a rut. While all of its films were moderately successful, they were pretty formulaic and dated. Disney equals cheery Tim Rice songs and talking singing animals, teapots etc. All very nice, but with sickly sweetness and with little appeal to the more adult audience they really could not compete with this new generation of films. So things weren't looking good for Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

Hold on though, this film is not like any Disney film I have seen. There are no songs, no talking animals, people die and some even smoke. Heck there is even a joke about throwing up. At last Disney has caught up with the real world with this is a very funny, entertaining and well-animated film that will appeal to adults as much, if not more so, than children.

This film uses the traditional form of tradition animation (all be it with computer drawn scenes), which while it is superb just doesn't look as good as computer animation. This issue is set to really come to the fore this year. Is there still a place for traditional animation or is it time to go completely CG? Certainly films like Shrek and Monsters Inc are the big box office winners, but Atlantis: The Lost Empire in story and character terms is just as good. Is the form of animation a factor in success, is it it more to do with marketing, or something else. I think its too early to tell, this film certainly has its moments with a great opening sequence and the sub battle being particularly outstanding. However I can't help feeling it would have looked even better as a CG cartoon (the menus on Disc 2 go some way to proving this).

I have mentioned the story and yes it is good in a Doug McClure sort of way (It's one of those movies that is very reminiscent of the Land that Time Forgot Victorian explorer type of thing). The script is packed with equal parts comedy and action. The laughs come as fast as the thrills. It's all good stuff. Add to this some bizarre likeable characters, great dialogue and the resultant mixture is really great. Vocal performances are perfect; from our hero Milo ably voiced by Michael J Fox, through Helga Claudia Christian, to James Garner's tough guy Rouke. Other performances worth mentioning come from Fraiser's John Mahoney, Phil Morris, Don Novello and Jacqueline Obradors, oh and Leonard Nimoy. Lets face it they were all great.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a great film. It's very funny, action packed, well made, and not traditionally Disney. The vocal talents on show are superb and the visuals are impressive. It is the sort of film that should be fun for all age groups. Overall a good start to the new years releases, and a welcome change to Disney's films.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Brilliant picture quality
Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital Great track that really makes the most of the explosions.
Features The Main Feature
Good Animated Menus
Visual Commentary with Producer Don Hahn and Directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Features Superb introduction to the main menu
Some excellent menus give three different ways to view the extras.
The first method is via a two hour long documentary
The second is via tour of the inside of the submarine
The last method is via a text index of subjects.
Extras consist of making of documentaries, deleted scenes, models of the hardware, and so much more it would take ages to list.
Verdict Two fantastic discs. The extras disc is superb with a very inventive method of viewing the extras. The extras themselves are top range, with many prepared during the making of the film specifically for the DVD.

WARNING: A couple of DVD players which I have tried this film on had a problem playing the region 1 feature film disc. The same problem does not effect the region 2 version.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Link Back Top Home