Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Starring Michael J. Fox, Cree Summer, James Garner, Leonard Nimoy, Claudia Christian, John Mahoney.

Written by Tab Murphy, et al.

Directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise.

Genre: Animated / Action-Adventure

Released: 2001

Running time: 95 mins.

Rated: PG for animated violence (the first Disney film since The Black Cauldron to receive such a rating).

IMDb link:

I'm right smack dab in the middle of exam week in my last year of Uni
(or college, for you Americans out there), so Im taking time out of my
assignment-writing to get this weeks column done. As a result, we might
be a little slender word-count-wise, but Im sure youll let me slide,

So I've mentioned in the last two columns that Ill be
taking a look at something animated this time around, and now Im making
good on that promise. Not that I imagine any of you were sitting back
with baited breath waiting for me to do so, but hey, a guy can dream,
cant he?

In the last few years, Disneys been trying to give
its animation division a kick-start by denying their usual formula of
feel-good musical comedy films and going for something a little more
mature. One such example is Treasure Planet, a film that a lot of
critics have bagged (but that Ive never seen, so I cant really give my
opinion on it).

Another of their valiant attempts at giving
the public something new and exciting was 2001s Atlantis: The Lost
Empire. This, too, was a film that had the crap kicked out of it by
critics and did fairly dismally at the box office. In fact, there was a
television spin-off series for it planned, but once it was evident how
badly the film had done, the show was scrapped, and the episodes that
had been written and animated were cobbled together to make an
incredibly disjointed sequel. But Im getting ahead of myself, arent I?

tells the story of Milo Thatch, a young archaeologist whose efforts are
unappreciated at the museum where he works, and whose life endeavour is
to be an explorer, much like his grandfather. In steps, mad tycoon
Preston B. Whitmore, who was a friend of Milos grandfather, offers to
fund Milos search for the lost city of Atlantis. Accompanying Milo is a
rag-tag group of adventurers, including a
flower-shop-owner-turned-demolitions-expert and a digger whos more mole
than man.

Maybe its just me. Maybe Im the only one who really
likes this movie. It shows a great deal of maturity for an American
animated film, with complex characters and relevant themes. And its
witty. I think the fact that Joss Whedon (creator of TV shows Buffy the
Vampire Slayer and Angel, and a writer known for his snappy dialogue)
contributed to the script is a major plus, because its full of quirky

Add to that Michael J. Fox and James Garner,
performing amongst a very talented cast, and youve got me sold. So why
do so many people dislike it? You got me. Maybe its because its not
your usual Disney style. Maybe its because people prefer
computer-generated animation these days. Maybe its because Actually, I
dont have any other ideas as to why. Dont ask me. I love the movie.
Maybe you will, too...but more likely youll hate it and hate me for
suggesting you watch it. Hey, whatever.

Next week: At the moment, no idea. Im sure I'lll think of something. In the meantime, Ive got assignments to finish. So scat!