Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Review Date:
Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Writer: Tab Murphy
Producers: Don Hahn
Michael J. Fox
Cree Summer
James Garner
A clumsy nerd with a lofty dream to find Atlantis, the lost continent, finally finds a believer in his cause, gets a crew and heads towards the unknown.
Hmmmmm. Remember when Disney used to churn out animated greatness during the 1990s? Well, it appears as though those days are far behind us, as this film checks in with rather unimpressive features. First of all, this isn’t a “kids” movie. This seems to be an animated movie created for adults, but one that doesn’t completely click on either level. It’s not a film that will bore anyone stupid, I mean, it does sprinkle a little bit of entertainment here and there, but once all is said and done, the only thing that I was left with was a nasty case of the ho-hums. Which is why I’m not recommending this film to anyone in the theatres (especially since the animation in the film is less than impressive), but might suggest that you check it out on video one day, if the topic interests you. Actually, much like its counterpart opening film this weekend, the missed opportunity that was TOMB RAIDER, this picture also lacked a certain “energy” about it. It wasn’t all that funny, all that interesting, all that exciting or all that entertaining. Sure, the movie sets up an interesting premise, but why did it have to spend half an hour showing us how they all get to Atlantis? We already know that they’re gonna end up there anyway, and since the development of the story up to that point isn’t all that interesting (no real funny moments, little action, no real “bad guy”, etc…), the film just helped me shrug my shoulders during its opening half.

They also set up all of these “quirky” side characters (all of whom seemed ideally picked to cover as many races/ethnicities sitting in the audience), but I really didn’t think that any of them were all that humorous or interesting. Actually, I did like the “Italian” guy a little, he was pretty funny at times, but what was the deal with that Mole character? Talk about seeming “out of place” in a movie! Hmmmm, I don’t know. This movie is definitely not the next SHREK. But to be fair to Disney, I guess this film wasn’t really trying to be funny or reach for the “kids” audience either (at least, it didn’t appear to be). I guess this film was more of a “serious animation” experiment, which for the most part, just didn’t do it for me. None of the characters really stood out, the story was somewhat interesting, but not really all that engaging, and the animation, well…I’m sorry but there was practically nothing that was special about the animation in this film. It was quite rudimentary, to say the least.

But yeah, I did still appreciate the whole Atlantis “behind-the-scenes” stuff, dug the connection between the lead character and the chick from Atlantis, and did finally “get into” the movie during its final 15 minutes or so (which concluded on a pretty touching moment and some cool action scenes). But overall, the film just didn’t live up to all of the previous Disney animated movies, or any of the cooler, hipper computer-generated animated flicks that have rocked the box-office over the past couple of years. I don’t know what it was exactly, but something was just missing from this movie. All in all, a disappointment.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

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