Atlantis: The Lost Empire
The Disney crew has set aside its cookie-cutter cartoon formulas of the '90s and is doing things right—first The Emperor's New Groove and now Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The animated feature is set in the early 20th century, and manages to capture that nostalgic sense that there is still a grand world to be explored, and explorers to do it. The hero is an unsuspecting one in this case: Milos Thatch (voiced by Michael J. Fox), an expert linguist who works in the boiler room of a classy museum. Milos—a firm believer in the Atlantean myth—and several other important characters end up on an expedition to seek the fabled lost city which, to Milos' delight, they find. One of the many things Atlantis has going for it is the plot. It is more involved than most ordinary movies, yet not convoluted.
Disney's visual skills are used to excellent effect here. Standard drawings (rather than Shrek- and Toy Story-style computer animations) bring a fantastic world to life with coherence and fluidity. The visual logic is about as smart as Disney gets. While it is a movie for kids, grown-ups will enjoy the quality of the voicings. Here they are a cut above the norm, and help the entertainment giant to create a successful summer animation.