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Atlantis - The Lost Empire (2001)
Directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
review by Michael Lohr
Although this movie was utterly pounded by Shrek at the box office, it is still a wonderfully entertaining movie that both children and adults will enjoy. Atlantis: The Lost Empire uses mainly traditional animation in its production, but does incorporate computer graphics as well. The quality of the animation is very high, as one would expect from a Walt Disney production. In fact, this was the first Walt Disney movie produced in 70mm since The Black Cauldron in 1985. The art and animation style is essentially steampunk. Which is a style of artwork commonly used in comic book and graphic novel formats, a prime example being Alan Moore's The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
The setting is the early 20th century (the movie is loosely based on the Jules Verne classic 20,000 Leagues Beneath The Sea, adapted for the screen by Tab Murphy), where an explorer, Milo Thatcher (Michael J. Fox), obtains a mysterious map and uses it to lead a mission aboard a submarine (captained by James Garner) to find the lost city of Atlantis. Before long, they find themselves captured by a giant mechanised squid, which takes them to Atlantis, capital of the Atlantean realm. Complications arise as they attempt to return home. In addition to those difficulties the submarine crew becomes very fractured as tensions mount.
A couple of odd bits about Atlantis: The Lost Empire that I am sure will turn up in movie trivia games is that it uses English along with an artificial language created for this film called 'Atlantean'. They also use English subtitles while Atlantean is being spoken on screen. From a linguistic interest, I am fascinated when the entertainment industry creates a new language. The most recent one that comes to mind is the Klingon language created for Star Trek. There is even a Klingon Language Institute that teaches the language to fans, though somehow I doubt Atlantean will catch on to such a degree, but who knows.
The second oddment about Atlantis: The Lost Empire is that it also stars the late and legendary Jim Varney (Toy Story, Toy Story 2, all the 'Ernst' movies), doing the voice of Cookie. This will be the second movie of 2001 that Jim Varney will appear in, the other being Daddy &a,p; Them.
Overall, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a very well done and entertaining movie for the whole family. I highly recommend it.
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