Atlantis - The Lost Empire

Atlantis - The Lost Empire

***1/2

Reviewed by: Symon Parsons

A Disney cartoon without soft-rock ballads written by ageing pop stars? A Disney cartoon without singing animals? A Disney cartoon with subtitles!?

This is Disney's most adventurous deviation from their winning formula since The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

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Mind you, that didn't work out too well for them at the box office, and I'm not sure that this year's effort will either.

Not that it's a bad film. The story concerns young academic and explorer Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox) who becomes obsessed with finding Atlantis after his grandfather's journal falls into his hands.

Fortunately, his rich benefactor (John Mahoney) puts together a crack team of experts led by Commander Rourke (James Garner) and his sexy second in command Helga, who looks like she's strayed out of an adult comic book. But is the Commander all that he seems...?

The animation, as always, is lovely - including a fabulous Captain Nemo type submarine. Make the most of it though as it doesn't last long.

As for the characters, they're a bit of a departure from the usual Disney style - Milo looks more like Mike Doonesbury than Prince Charming and he's a bit of a wuss, constantly getting saved by women. (Although this is a Boy's Own Adventure, there's definitely a bit of girl power going on.)

Atlantis itself is straight out of Rider Haggard, powered by a mysterious living crystal. Naturally, it gets stolen and that's when the action kicks in.

It's a slim plot, but held together by great animation, a likeable script and direction that keeps things moving along with the speed of a child's bladder.

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2001
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Animated adventure about a quest to find the lost city.
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