Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Featuring||voices of Michael J. Fox, James Garner, Claudia Christian, Mark Hammill, Mark Hamill|
|Director||Kirk Wise, Gary Trousdale|
|Producer||Don Hahn, Kendra Halland|
|Distributor||Walt Disney Pictures|
“Atlantis: the Lost Empire” is Disney’s early summer of 2001 attempt to take a familiar fable and bring it to the big screen. It is intended to be an animated/action-adventure film, so don’t go expecting to walk out of the theater singing their latest hit. “Atlantis” is clearly intended for an older audience (older children to adult) as the rating is PG and contains material inappropriate for younger viewers.
The story takes place in 1914. The look of the film is reminiscent of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” I enjoyed the character of Milo Thatch (voice of Michael J. Fox). Michael has already proven his voice talent in “Stuart Little.” In this story, Milo is desperately trying to get the museum he works for to sponsor another search for Atlantis. The museum laughs and mocks this young linguist’s dream. All seems hopeless until he is summoned by Preston Whitmore (voice of John Mahoney), an old friend of his grandfather. Whitmore presents him with an ancient notebook and offers to fund the discovery attempt. Rourke (voice of James Garner) and other ambitious adventurers join the trip. And the awkward band of misfits embarks.
Milo does reach Atlantis and meets Princess Kida (Cree Summer). She is hoping that this team of outsiders can rescue her dying world. The king (voice of Leonard Nimoy) objects to this plan. He wants to banish all outsiders.
“Atlantis” has its share of violence and narrow escape. The violence is comparable to that present in “The Lion King” and “Tarzan.” The animation is outstanding. That art form continues to expand and improve it’s boundaries. On the negative side, there is a sensuous woman in a suggestive dress used to entice Milo to visit Whitmore. Princess Kida is also shown in very revealing clothing. There is the usual name calling that is stereotypical of some adventure movies and some instances of using God’s name in vain.
My greatest objection is the high-powered promotion of crystals and ancestral worship in the film. It is presented in a very compelling way, proving to be dangerous to some who are not planted in the truth of Christ. Once they discover Atlantis, the theme of crystals almost completely takes over the plot. Parents should be warned and take note of this obvious theme.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out every film that was used like “cookie-cutters” in this story. It is a slightly above average afternoon matinee outing. I recommend this movie to only those parents that think all the “hype” is worth the risk and are prepared to deal with the obvious religious differences.