Atlantis - The Lost Empire

Atlantis - The Lost Empire


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The mixture of Jules Verne and Star Wars is not a happy one. It looks as if the Disney animation team has consulted market researchers to find out what's popular and then thrown it into a blender, without considering storyline or character development.

Atlantis is that mythical place under the sea that might have been an advanced civilisation. Nobody really knows because tidal waves washed it from the face of the earth and what remains is rumour and fable.

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The movie is set in 1914, when Europe was about to be engulfed in turmoil. An eccentric American millionaire prepares an expedition to find the lost city. Chief amongst his team is Milo, a naive young man with extensive knowledge of all things Atlantian. The others are a weird bunch of misfits who specialise in explosives, drilling and the workings of the combustion engine. They should be fun to be with, but they're not.

Atlantis is part old world religion and part magic crystals. They have highly sophisticated underwater crafts and a unique energy source. Milo falls for the beautiful princess, as you would expect, before reactionary forces destroy the idyll.

There is too much going on and yet not enough. The technically adroit Atlantian culture is confusing, rather than thrilling. The invaders look like dummies by comparison, creatures from another time.

The rape of Eden gathers no excitement in its wake. The baddies break cover too late. Milo (voiced by Michael J Fox) is an attractive hero, because he's innocent and trusting and knows stuff about the importance of preservation in the years before progress became a dirty word.

For all its pretension, the movie falls flat. It doesn't fall. That's wrong. It was flat from the start.

Reviewed on: 11 Oct 2001
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Animated adventure about a quest to find the lost city.
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