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Atlantis: The Lost Empire

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Starring: Michael J. Fox, James Garner
Director: Gary Trousdale
Rated: PG
RunTime: 88 Minutes
Release Date: June 2001
Genres: Animation, Kids, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Cree Summer, Leonard Nimoy, Don Novello, Claudia Christian, Jacqueline Obradors, John Mahoney, Jim Varney, David Ogden Stiers

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Disney's ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE mindlessly follows an animated formula so old that it creaks. A rag-tag group of eccentrics, led by a self-described "adventure capitalist," Commander Lyle T. Rourke (James Garner), is out to find and plunder the riches of the lost continent of Atlantis. Occupying the high moral ground, Michael J. Fox plays Milo Thatch, a museum cartographer and linguist who wants to locate Atlantis for all the right scientific reasons. Once there, Milo finds a babe in a bikini, Princess Kidagakash "Kida" (Cree Summer), who is a couple of thousand years old, but doesn't look more than 20.

The movie's exterior sequences dazzle with sweeping grandeur, but the interior ones are as flat as the story's lifeless, silly dialog. "Melt the butter and bring out the bibs," Commander Rourke barks to his crew. "I want this monster served up on a silver platter." The crew includes one guy who likes to blow holes in things, one who likes to drill holes and one old codger who has holes in his head. They all look act like tired veterans of a hundred Saturday morning cartoons. Where is the imagination and humor that Disney put into TARZAN? It had more to offer in five minutes than ATLANTIS does in a long hour and a half. And ATLANTIS really pales in comparison to Dreamworks' SHREK. Long sections of ATLANTIS could put those under thirteen to sleep.

Sometimes it is the funniest joke in a disappointing movie that best defines the film's limitations. The old guy in ATLANTIS has a tattoo of the United States on his chest. In order to impress a girl, he brags, "Watch me make Rhode Island dance," as he wiggles his tummy. That's as good as ATLANTIS ever gets.

ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE runs 1:33. It is rated PG for action violence and would be acceptable for any kid of any age.

My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave the film ***, saying that it was "good but wasn't that funny." His friends, Rajiv, Maxim and Sam, all 12, gave the picture ****, saying that it was creative and had a good plot.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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