DISNEY ANIMATORS FIRST TOOK US underwater to meet their turbulent teen mermaid Ariel in The Little Mermaid. Now they're taking another plunge to look for the mythical Atlantis: The Lost Empire. But this time they've left the standard fare of spontaneous songs and dancing on the shoreline and have given us a purely animated action flick with loads of airborne attacks, chase scenes, and heavy duty ammunition.
Milo Thatch (voiced by Michael J. Fox) is an earnest, sometimes bumbling, young cartographer, bent on finding the lost city of Atlantis. His pleas for funding fall on the deaf ears of some stuffy old museum directors who quickly douse his hopes for help. All seems lost until a seductive and mysterious young woman (Claudia Christian) comes calling at Thatch's home with an offer he can't refuse. Led to a generous benefactor, Thatch is supplied with a convoy of high tech equipment including a gigantic submersible commanded by Captain Roarke (James Garner) and a highly specialized crew. Armed with an ancient text from his grandfather, Thatch directs the expedition through hidden ocean passages and along a forgotten highway to Atlantis where he meets Princess Kida (Cree Summer). She asks Thatch to interpret ancient inscriptions that reveal the solution to the kingdom's ailing power source and the mystery of the magical glowing crystals. But while reading the records, a new danger surfaces that threatens to destroy the underwater empire.
Resembling a Jules Verne story, this undersea escapade involving the evil and aggressive actions of gun-toting mercenaries contains heavier doses of violence (both depicted and implied) than most animated flicks aimed at children. Despite the likeable Thatch, who portrays selfless intentions and a passion for adventure, parents should recognize that this isn't the typical song and dance animation they have grown accustomed to, even if it still bears the obligatory Disney "feel good ending." Atlantis' adventurous spirit includes the portrayal of a chain-smoking phone operator (Florence Stanley), the skimpy attire of some female characters, and a PG rating that may leave parents of younger children thinking twice before diving in.
Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...
Overall: B An adventurous young mapmaker sets out to find the lost city of Atlantis and save it from a group of plundering explorers.
Violence: C+ Large wave drowns pilots and covers a city destroying part of it and causing the death of many inhabitants, woman shown with gun, scene shows sunken ships on bottom of ocean, mechanical monster attacks sub, shots are fired at the monster, explosions on ship, torpedoes are fired, submarine explodes, many crewmembers are killed, mini subs use electrical shocks to fight off monster, people are startled by a monster, man uses explosive to make a bridge, members of expedition make fun of one crew member and play practical jokes on him including making him think he has drunk an explosive liquid, fire flies turn into explosive ball of fire, equipment bursts into flames, people fight fire, truck explodes, bridge blows up, man falls and cuts shoulder, blood is shown, masked warriors with spears surround men, men use guns to take hostages, men steal items, leave others to die, man is hurt in fight and later dies of wounds, man is hit and pushed down, people attack others with flying machines, extended scene of fighting between mercenaries and others including lots of shooting with airplanes, military guns and rifles, girl is thrown from hot air balloon and falls, men fight with an axe, man’s arm cut with piece of glass, man turns into monster, man is hit and bleeds, ship explodes, volcano erupts and lava flow causes damage.
Sexual Content: B- Woman in low cut dress with thigh high slit in skirt, scene implies that man’s housecoat falls down revealing naked body, man says he will kiss another man full on the mouth, native women wear short skirts and bikini tops, woman comments on sleeping in the nude, man shown in underwear, man’s underwear revealed in practical joke, woman removes skirt to reveal a tiny swimsuit, woman has tank top strap that slides down her arm.
Language: A- At least on term of Deity used as an expletive.
Alcohol / Drug Use: B- Men drink whiskey in social gathering, female character shown smoking at least 9 times as well as holding a cigarette on other occasions.
Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...
Disney has included a variety of ethnic characters in this film. Do you think that these groups are accurately portrayed? Why do you think there are so many different groups represented in this movie?
Film animators include some subtle sexual depictions in this film. When we fist meet Helga Sinclair, she is wearing a low cut and high slit dress. Later during the hot air balloon scene, her tank top strap keeps sliding down her arm. And who could miss the navel-baring bikini worn by Princess Kida? Why do you think animators created these details?
Disney’s live action movie, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea is a similar underwater adventure to check out. Titan AE is another example of a non-musical animated sci-fi / adventure, while Dreamwork’s Road To El Dorado is a song and dance animation that searches for another mythical city.
Home Video Notes
Home Video Notes: Atlantis: The Lost Empire & Atlantis: Milo’s Return
Release Date: 11 June 2013
Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Atlantis: Milo’s Return release to home video in a 2 Movie Collection (on Blu-ray and DVD) with the following extras:
- Disc 1 - Blu-ray copy of Two Feature Films: Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Atlantis: Milo’s Return with Disney Enhanced High Definition Picture and Sound.
- Deleted Scenes
- The Making Of Atlantis
- How To Speak Atlantean
- Atlantis - Fact Or Fiction?
Disc 2 - DVD Feature Film: Atlantis: The Lost Empire
- Atlantis - The Lost Empire
- The Making Of Atlantis
- How To Speak Atlantean
Disc 3 - DVD Feature Film: Atlantis: Milo’s Return
- Atlantis - Milo’s Return
- Deleted Scene
Home Video Notes: Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Release Date: 29 January 2002
Atlantis: The Lost Empire releases to home video (DVD) with the following extras:
- Deleted Scene: Viking Prologue
- Virtual Tours Of CG Models—3-D Model Turnarounds Including The “Ulysses” Submarine, Leviathan, And Shepherd’s Journal
- Whitmore Industries Industrial Film—Meet The Benefactor Who Made The Expedition Possible
- DisneyPedia Atlantis: Fact Or Fiction—Fun And Interesting Theories About The Lost Continent Of Atlantis
- “How To Speak Atlantean”—With The Famous Linguist Who Developed The Atlantean Language
- Digital To Digital Transfer
- Visual Commentary—Go Behind The Scenes With The Producer And Directors And See Additional Footage On The “Making Of” Process
- Multiple Platform Navigation System (3-D Menus With 3 Viewing Modes): Explore Mode (Tour The 3-D Environment Of The “Ulysses” Submarine And Select Menu Options); Tour Mode (Enjoy All Bonus Features As One Continuous Program); Files Mode (Rapid Navigation -—Every Bonus Feature Listed In Sequential Order).
- Story & Editorial
- Abandoned Sequences
- Art Direction
- Animation Production
- Character Designs
- Music & Sound Design