Customer Review

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars disney matures..., 24 Oct 2003
This review is from: Atlantis: The Lost Empire -- Two-Disc Collector's Edition [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Yes, it's a cartoon. Yes, it's Disney. But Atlantis is also an impressive science fiction film in its own right, and refreshingly different from the standard Disney fare. Disney have made some excellent cartoons in the past, notably Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King but recently have been failing to deliver that standard. Here we see a departure from the cute sidekicks and sugary songs, and are offered a darker action film which kids can still enjoy.
Milo Thatch [Michael J. Fox], a linguistics expert working as a museum boiler room attendent, has been continuing the work of his grandfather and has finally solved the puzzle of the location of Atlantis. With the aid of an eccentric billionaire, he and a team of intrepid explorers set out to find the fabled lost city and its power source, the Heart of Atlantis. When they arrive, however, Milo discovers from Princess Kida [Cree Summer] that the Atlanteans' power is slowly waning, and realises he might be the key to saving their way of life.
Disney have pushed the boundaries considerably with this film, earning it a PG rating in the USA. Ferocious battles, including realistic gun use, abound as well as gigantic robot monsters defending the city. The characters are also darker, but equally characterised in greater depth, than usual, with the team including pyromaniacs, chain smokers, and a dirt-obsessed frenchman (Mole is the least impressive of the character designs, providing a rather bland variety of slapstick comic relief). Most impressively, the romantic connection between Milo and Kida is neither love at first sight, nor filled with longing gazes. Instead it is subtly infused in their relationship, and develops in a sweet and mature fashion.
The computer aided artwork and cell shaded animation varies in quality throughout the film. Atlantis features some top notch underwater sequences and a brilliantly creative portrayal of an entirely new civilisation. However, at times backdrops lack the detail of some of the previously mentioned Disney greats. While the animation of those films looked virtually identical, Atlantis utilises a distinctive and unique style, a dramatic departure for a Disney film. Indeed influences can be seen from Japanese anime, with the wide-eyed characters and especially in the sharp hair of the Atlanteans, who look genuinely attractive! The more squared-off adventurers contrast the lithe Atlanteans, utilising different artistic styles to highlight the differences between the two cultures. Other influences come from the comicbook style of drawing, but these sources are not being copied or exploited, but instead are infused with Disney's own design skills to produce something new and innovative.
The plot is hugely flawed, with many holes or threads that are not developed. The film runs are almost a quarter of an hour longer than any previous animated Disney release, in order to allow its story to develop at a slower pace, and yet there are a still a few scenes which appear rushed. Disney shot high in trying to weave a truly epic tale with this cartoon, and the tangled plot just misses the mark. The voice acting talent is excellent, and rarely can such a cast be brought together. Older sci-fi fans will love having Fox, Nimoy and also Claudia Christian (Ivanova from Babylon 5) in a single film.
Atlantis is not a perfect Disney film, but it is delightfully original in both its content and execution. It maintains a Jules Verne-esque epic quality throughout, and it may have gained more commercial success as a live-action film, we are instead offered some of the most stunningly ambitious animation in a Disney movie yet. Having hit the peak of cutesy sing-along cartoons more than once, and probably achieving all they can in that area, surely the future of Disney lies in this more mature direction.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: London, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 72,745