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A fun Jules Verne inspired adventure,
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This review is from: Atlantis - The Lost Empire [DVD]  (DVD)
Considered one of the lesser Disney films this turns out to be actually quite good. Clearly inspired by lots of Jules Verne especially Journey to the Centre of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea this will get kids into Verne by showing all his fun, inventive, adventurous ideas (while missing out the too much focus on endless science). What's so great about this film is that it's quite mature, there aren't any songs, it even has a couple of subtitled moments, there is little to no toilet humor or cheap slapstick and the characters often play against stereotype (such as the buff guy who turns out to be the ship's doctor). The animation style is really good deliberately inspired by Mike Mignola and the 1914 setting creates a nice historical backdrop and a steam-punk style. Voice acting by Michael J Fox, Leonard Nimoy and John Mahoney is of the excellent standard you'd expect from these great actors and in fact all the voices and characters are interesting and engaging.
Problems? Well the structure of the script has a few issues, we are introduced to the massive submarine and lots of time is spent showing us around it (it even features prominently on the cover) however this is destroyed very early in the film by a brilliant sea monster. This is a big set piece and I was looking forward to when this sea monster would reappear in the climax, only it doesn't. Instead we have flying bikes and stone giants. The problem is that the film has too many ideas and is trying to cram them all into a tight 90 minute film so we have several lose ends and slightly underdeveloped moments. They've designed these great submarines and monsters but don't use them enough because they want to show the other cool ideas they have.
However, this is really a small problem in what is a very engaging adventure story with some quite deep and interesting themes. It is a very good adventure movie, with shades of Indiana Jones and themes from great Science Fiction this is great family entertainment that wide-eyed boys, thrill seeking teenagers and nostalgic men can all enjoy.