Runtime: 1 Hour
and 35 Minutes
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
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.