Now this may be a Disney film you’ve heard of but may have not watched. To say that Atlantis is not a typical Disney film would be a small understatement. It doesn’t have musical numbers, the characters are not the usual heroes and princesses, the villain is well hidden and the body count is high. That being said, this is one of my favorite Disney movies. Once again spoilers ahead.
In 1914 Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox) a cartographer, linguist and like his grandfather lover of the Atlantis legend, is denied the chance by the Smithsonian to look for the Sheppard’s Journal, long believed to be the map to the lost city. However fate seems to have a plan for Milo. A mysterious woman named Helga (Claudia Christian) shows up at his apartment on behalf of her employer Preston B. Whitmore (John Mahoney), an eccentric millionaire and an old friend of Milo’s grandfather. Paying back the debt he owed Milo’s grandfather after finding the journal, Whitmore wants Milo to find Atlantis with the same team that found the journal: Commander Rourke (James Garner), Helga as his second in command, “Mole” (Corey Burton) a genealogist with a slight obsession with digging and dirt, Vinny (Don Novello) explosion expert, Dr. Joshua Sweet (Phil Moris) medic, Audrey (Jacqueline Obradors) teen mechanic, Wilhelmina Packard (Florence Stanley) radio operator and one of the last Disney characters to smoke on screen and Cookie (Jim Varney in his final role) the chef. After a long and tragic journey, the team does find Atlantis and the still alive citizens including King Kashekim (Leonard Nimoy) and his daughter, Princess Kida (Cree Summer) who forms a connection with Milo. Kida reveals the city is dying and doesn’t know why, asking for help from Milo. However while Milo is willing to help, something wicked may be underway preventing the city from becoming what it once was.
As I’ve said before this is not a typical Disney picture. In fact the staff on the movie had T-shirts made that said “Fewer songs, more explosions.” And boy were there explosions. I have never seen a Disney movie with that much fire power and sadly bodies dropping. In fact this movie has the highest body count of a Disney movie. The characters are also not typical heroes and princesses. Milo is a total geek and takes a while before he goes into hero mode. Kida was unlike many princesses at the time as she was more than willing to go into battle and do whatever it took to save her people. The team does take some getting used to with their different personalities, but they are awesome in one way or another. I won’t go into the villain of the story because it is a massive spoiler, but it probably is who you think it is.
Now I’m sure I know what you are thinking: “if this movie is so good why haven’t I heard of it or seen it?” Well the film, which premiered in 2001, did not do very well at the box office and was sub-par with the critics. Again though it wasn’t what people had expected from Disney so maybe that was a factor. It is also the reason why Kida is not on the official Disney princess list, though she completely deserves it. There was a sequel, Atlantis: Milo’s Return, released a few years later, but all I’m going to say is unless you absolutely loved the movie do not watch it. Short explanation because of the poor box office the planned TV series was scrapped and the episodes planned were made into a movie. Any movie made up of TV episodes that have nothing to do with each other is not great. However the original is still worth watching.