Atlantis
(2001)











Rated: PG
Runtime: 1 Hour and 35 Minutes


Reviewer: Dale
Grade: A

Seekers of adventure: Rejoice! Your prayers have been answered. I know that it has been tough going. You wanted "Tomb Raider" to deliver these sorts of goods...and it didn't. You wanted "The Mummy Returns" to give you this kind of charge. It did in bits and pieces. Well, fret no more. Finally, the summer has given us the sort of glorious entertainment that we used to just take for granted. The sort of film where people organize an expedition to locate a lost city or an ancient artifact. The sort of film that delivers high adventure, rather than simply teasing us with the promise of it. The sort of film that sometimes stars Indiana Jones. That film goes by the name of "Atlantis" and I guarantee that you won't mind that it's animated. In fact, within five minutes, you probably won't even notice anymore.

"Atlantis" begins with what I, personally, have been waiting to see in a movie for quite some time: the destruction of the city of Atlantis. We get to see the city in all its glory, and then we get to see exactly why it became a lost city in the first place. It's an arresting barrage of imagery. Cut then to the basement of the Smithsonian in the 1920's. A passionate janitor by the name of Milo Hatch (voiced by Michael J. Fox, nice to see or hear him working) has been trying for years to get the museum to listen to his theories about the location of the lost city of Atlantis. Of course, everyone thinks he is a crackpot and no one will give him the time of day. Until a mysterious billionaire (John Mahoney, who rules, by the way, in everything) agrees to back Milo and send him on an expedition to discover the lost city.

Complications soon arise, however, as giant crustacean creatures and shady motives among the expedition's other members make things more difficult and getting to Atlantis (or even home, for that matter) looks in great doubt.

"Atlantis" is, first and foremost, a rollicking good time. It is a magnificent adventure tale that just happens to be animated. There is none of the usual Disney crap inserted here. There are no songs redone by Top Forty artists to ensure heavy radio rotation. There are no cutesy animal sidekicks. Instead we get a gruff captain (James Garner), a man named Mole who is obsessed with dirt, a saw-wielding physician with the build of a wrestler, and a demolitions expert who's just a little too intense about his job and has the voice of Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello, a guy who, based on this performance, deserves a lot more work). Not your average cast of Disney characters, won't you agree? The visual look of the film is gorgeous, like all the best Disney, and the film moves like nobody's business. It is marvelously paced, has a plethora of great jokes, and is just pure fun.

Of the two animated films out there right now, well, both of them are great films. But I think that I enjoyed this one just a little more than "Shrek" simply because it had a grander scope, a lack of bodily function humor, and a refreshing tone. The tone of this film is more like that of a Japanese anime film than your average Disney flick, only minus the extreme violence and unnecessary nudity. Kids will love it.....almost as much as the adults who have been looking for stimulating summer entertainment.