Starring: Michael J. Fox, Jim Varney, Corey Burton
Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Running Time: 95 mins
Atlantis: The Lost Empire is an American film about a team of explorers who set out on an undersea voyage to find the lost civilisation of Atlantis, and uncover its riches.
A lesser-known entry in the seemingly boundless annals of Disney animation, Atlantis: The Lost Empire provides fun adventure with a pleasant dose of humour, imagination and fable-like morality. It’s not a masterpiece, and certainly lacks the spectacle of Disney’s best, but it’s undoubtedly enjoyable all the way through.
If you’re looking for a pure, unadulterated bit of adventure entertainment, Atlantis: The Lost Empire provides it in bucketloads, from an easy-going, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth-esque expedition working in tandem with an enjoyable and charismatic blend of fantasy and steampunk historical context.
The film plays on tropes of the age of exploration at the end of the 19th Century, all the while introducing elements of brilliantly imaginative fantasy that give a far more vivid and eye-catching vision of Atlantis than most films do. With effective world-building and fantasy lore that contrasts well with the journey from the surface world, it makes for an enjoyable voyage into the unknown.
Couple that with a whole host of zany and charismatic characters, and you’ll find yourself on an adventure full of energy and laughs. It’s not a spectacular piece of film, and it never quite hits home on the emotional levels it intends to, but its charisma and fun factor are undeniable throughout, and make the film a delight all the way through.
With delightful animated visuals to boot, Atlantis pulls you in well to its fantasy world, impressing with its boundless imagination and sense of adventure. However, the movie never quite manages to deliver adventure on the same scale or with the same spectacle that Disney have managed in the past.
Its lack of emotional resonance is part of the reason for that, but also by lacking any powerful, memorable musical numbers, as well as a structure that sees the movie broken up too abruptly between the journey to Atlantis and experiencing the city itself, it’s never a particularly memorable or eye-catching watch, and often feels little closer to the Disney’s straight-to-VHS brand of film than its best theatrical masterpieces.
Saying that, there’s still a lot of fun to be had with Atlantis: The Lost Empire. It’s not a perfect film, and doesn’t hold a candle to the most memorable Disney has had to offer, but with good energy, fun humour, a great sense of adventure and a brilliant imagination, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable watch nonetheless, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5 overall.