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Movie Reviews

Atlantis : The Lost Empire  

Usually you have to look to the live action films to find the better action adventure films of the summer; the animated films are usually left for family entertainment. Not this time. The latest Disney film rocks. The film focuses on Milo Thatch, a mapmaker and janitor at the Smithsonian Institute in the early 1900's. When he cannot convince the museum board members to let him search for Atlantis, he resigns. A rich philanthropist who was friends with Milo's grandfather, another Atlantis buff, then contacts him and offers him a spot on an expedition he is financing to find the lost continent of Atlantis. The expedition is made up of very ethnically diverse specialists. The Commander is a rugged "Patton-esque" sort. His assistant is the dangerous blonde. You have a female Latin teenager who is an expert in mechanics. A French Digger, An Italian explosives engineer, an Afro-American Doctor, a down south cook and to round out the expedition you have a chain smoking older Brooklyn woman in charge of communications. The diverse cast gets most of the better one liners in this film and there are a ton of them.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire
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There is a great look to this film. The animators use a typical animation style to draw the characters while relying on computer animation for backgrounds. The characters are drawn with an old style action comic book style as have their vehicles. The backgrounds have been drawn in a style of popular comic book artist Mike Mignola. The look of city and the people of Atlantis are interesting. The city looks like it has picked a blend of different cultures. I saw influences of some South American cultures as well as Ancient Greece and Rome but given a new spin to make them look unique. The characters all have white hair and are given ice blue tattoos in different patterns. They have a tribal African look to them mixed with Nordic colors to give them an equally unique look.

The story is full of action sequences that dazzle you. The story stays focused on the adventure aspect. While that is a nice change from the usual "singing lobster" silly sidekick style of Disney films, they glossed over the characters who lived in Atlantis and the story focused on the expedition group. The story is a kind of cross between 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Raiders of the Lost Ark and works really well as an action film. The film has some amazing voice talent. Michael J Fox voices Milo. James Garner is the voice of the expedition commander. Leonard Nimoy is the King of the Atlantians. The crew is filled with familiar voices too. Jim Varney, John Mahoney, Phil Morris (better known for voicing Jackie Chiles on Seinfeld) Florence Stanley, (Bernice from Barney Miller) and stealing the show is Don "Fr. Guido" Novello.

Some scenes may be a bit boring for the very young kids. When the action picks up, they should be ok. The animation and the art direction are fantastic to look at and the story is action packed and a nice break from the usual Disney films. There are a lot of great action sequences and a lot of good one liners that had the audience I saw it with laughing out loud. On a scale of one to ten, I will give Atlantis: The Lost Empire an eight.

Paul Ferris

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