The creators of The Lion King and Beauty And The Beast take you under the sea into an amazing world of excitement and exploration. Discover Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Atlantis: Milo’s Return. Set your course for adventure as Milo Thatch and his fearless crew dive into the mysteries of the sea. The group’s underwater expedition brings them face-to-face with gigantic sea monsters, spectacular spirits and the mythical land of Atlantis while they discover the power of friendship and teamwork.
The search for Atlantis is one of those evergreen stories that can be told in a variety of different ways, and it seemed like the perfect choice for a Disney movie. Atlantis: The Lost Empire doesn’t disappoint. It’s a wonderful, old-fashioned adventure story. An epic, impossible mission, a likable hero (with the voice of Michael J. Fox), and a band of quirky supporting characters to provide the humor and some darkness, which our blue-eyed hero can’t handle. We’ve got plenty of heroic antics, diabolic double-crosses, and lots of danger, including a surprisingly high body count – close to 200 souls lost in the first 25 minutes!
That’s a lot to handle, but luckily Atlantis: The Lost Empire delivers it all with in a perfect pace, and at 95 minutes it never overstays its welcome. The whole thing is wrapped in an original and fresh look, which feels both very Disney-like and completely unusual, with its hard edges (look at those almost square fingers) and steam punk inspired designs. Even the sometimes problematic combination of slick CGI elements and hand-drawn characters works perfectly here.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire wasn’t the big hit Disney had hoped for, nor is it one of the highly regarded classics. That’s a shame, because it scared Disney off from doing similar experiments, and Milo Thatch never became the geeky animated equivalent of Indiana Jones he should have been. I could easily have imagined him going off on other missions, finding other lost treasures around the world, but alas with the exception of a single direct-to-video sequel he disappeared without a trace, much like the fabled city itself.
Speaking of which: Also included in this set is the direct-to-video sequel Atlantis: Milo’s Return. I gave it a shot, despite what I had heard about it, but turned it off after 10 minutes. As expected it was complete garbage. Flat, cheap animation, crude and clumsy design. I won’t waste anymore time with that.
Audio & Video:
It’s hard to go wrong with a modern animated film, and it’s no surprise that Atlantis looks flawless, with razor-sharp images and vibrant, inviting colors. The film was made during the digital age, so there’s virtually no hint of analogue animation artifacts, but I can’t imagine there ever was, even at the original theatrical release. This looks perfect to me.
The movie also sports a bombastic soundtrack, alive with the sound of music and sound effects, topping off a wonderful audio/visual experience.
This package contains a Blu-ray disc with both feature films, including extras for each, plus 2 DVDs, one for each film. The extras on the Blu-ray have been ported over from the old DVD, and are in SD only.
The “making of” program plays nearly two hours, and seems comprehensive at first, but it turns out to be one of those everybody-was-happy-everything-was-great fluff pieces, so even thought it covers an awful lot of ground, it quickly becomes tiresome to watch. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the commentary, but the remaining extras are equally fluffy.
- Commentary with directors and producer
- The Making of Atlantis (1:59:51)
- How to speak Atlantean (2:12)
- DisneyPeadia (6:38)
- Deleted intro (2:07)
- Deleted scenes – storyboards (14:50)
- Trailers and previews
The Blu-ray disc is region free.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire is EXACTLY what I’m looking for in an animated movie. It’s a great adventure, it never loses focus on its nerdy protagonist and it looks great! Plus, it’s blissfully devoid of songs! What more can you ask?
Extra Features: B-