Atlantis: The Lost Empire
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A nerdy historian named Milo Thatch, working in a boiler room at a museum, dreams of finding the lost City of Atlantis. When his proposal to the museum to fund his expedition is rejected, a mysterious old man decides to give Milo his chance and forms a crew of experts in different fields to search for the vanquished city. As they head deep underwater, their journey takes an unexpected turn forcing the team to switch from exploring Atlantis to protecting it.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
It's hard to believe that the creators of THE LION KING (the highest grossing animated film of all-time) and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (the only animated film to ever be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award) have made this film. It's not that I consider Atlantis to be all that bad, but it definitely has some major problems. First of all, the animation is less than stellar in the film, as I found myself staring at the hands of the characters and their triangle fingernails a lot. It was distracting because of how poorly the hands were drawn (among other human features). Secondly, this movie is not a children's movie by any means (I hate when films are falsely advertised). It tries to be an animated movie for adults, thus missing the fun factor that comes from most animated films.
I guess that for the most part, Atlantis is entertaining enough to watch once with several cool action scenes spread throughout. The first 5-10 minutes when they explain the back story of the city is pretty interesting, and the last 20-30 minutes featuring that "Atlantian" girl's possession and the race and fight the team has to go through to save her, held my attention, for example (The beginning and end sort of reminded me of STARGATE). Other than that though, the film as a whole just didn't work. There wasn't much character development either, other than a quick scene before camping out where the characters tell their life-stories. And the use of the slapstick sidekick characters just didn't work. ALADDIN's Genie was brilliant, but since then, Disney just goes overboard with them and they just aren't funny. All in all, the film won't impress many. Disney used a bare minimum of plot and depth.
I actually viewed the single-disc Atlantis DVD, which has very limited extras. So if you're interested in the movie, then I'd recommend checking out the 2-disc set. The extras on the single-disc DVD start off with a commentary track with producer Don Hahn and directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale. This track is very informative, I don't think they leave anything out about the making of the movie. They even throw in a nice little homage to the late Jim Varney (voice of Cookie in the movie), who passed away during production (Varney also did the voice of Slinky in the Toy Story movies and played Ernest in all those Ernest flicks).
There's one deleted scene called The Viking Prologue. It basically extends the beginning of the movie showing the Vikings trying to find Atlantis with same book Milo & company use to find Atlantis. Up next is a short 2-minute feature called "How to Speak Atlantian." And it's basically just that. Some dude teaches you how to say a few words and phrases in "Atlantian." Also included on this disc is DisneyPedia - Atlantis, Fact or Fiction, which includes brief snippets about such topics as "Atlantis," "Ancient Writing," "Submarines," "Archeology," and "Legends." You can view each separately or all at once. And for those who don't know how to use this feature, there's an introduction by this cheesy woman who will explain just how to. The last feature is titled "Digital Models." It was really a pointless feature, as it just played a (too long) 2 minute clip each on the two digital models for The Leviathan and The Ulysses. Just showing them as we go around the 3-D computer models.
It's really hard to make a conclusion about this DVD. Usually if it's any kind of animated film, I'd say rent or buy it for your kids or your younger brother or sister or something. Because lets face it, all young kids like all animated films, no matter how bad they really are. But this movie isn't really geared towards children, with little cuteness and no songs whatsoever, so I guess I'm pretty half and half on it overall.