(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
Doug (vo): Atlantis: The Lost Empire. This was Disney’s attempt to try and be a little bit more adult and that they’re trying to make an action film where people die and big explosions happen and all that cool stuff to try and get back with the hip audience again, and, boy, did it backfire. Not only did the film do incredibly poorly at the box office, but critics really ripped it a new one*. I mean, it seemed like nobody liked this movie at all. Were the criticisms right? Well, yeah, but, I don’t know. I think there’s some good stuff in it, kind of, sort of. All right, let’s look at the story.
- Note: According to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has a 43% score, so the movie received a mixed reception, not a hugely negative reception.
Doug (vo): Michael J. Fox is Milo, a janitor* at a museum. But it turns out he has a journal that could possibly lead to the lost civilization of Atlantis, which, of course, nobody believes him on. That is, except for one man who used to be a friend of his family. It turns out he believes Milo and has been spending years and years putting together a team and equipment to go down and actually find it. Of course, they come across trouble, obstacles and all sorts of bad things trying to get in the way, until they finally find the city and the lost people. They come across the emperor and his daughter named Kida, and they try to figure out the ways of the culture and civilization, as it turns out, the culture and civilization themselves have forgotten it. That’s sort of an interesting idea.
- Milo is actually a cartographer and linguist
Doug (vo): Okay, so it sort of sounds like 20,000 Leagues meets Indiana Jones meets, well, Disney. There is a lot of action, there is a lot of adventure, but at the same time, yeah, you do have to mix it with Disney, don’t you? And if you’re trying to get more of an adult crowd, that’s probably not the best thing to do. Like, listen to this line and tell me if you think this is more Indiana Jones or Disney.
[A scene showing the main characters flying off to save Atlantis from the villain is shown]
Milo: All right, this is it! We're gonna rescue the princess, we're gonna save Atlantis, or we're gonna die trying. Now let's do it!
Doug (vo): Yeah, I’d say Disney, too. On top of that, guess who the villain is. That’s right. Some asshole who just wants money. Oh, for God's sake. You’re looking for a lost civilization, you’re gonna be rich either way. But, no, they want to destroy the people and just take the artifact so it’s worth even more money. Oh, give me a break. I am so sick of these guys! But what does work about the movie? Well, the culture is pretty cool, the people are pretty cool, the sort of magical elements are pretty cool. And on top of that, I really like the side characters. They’re all very unique, very funny, they all stand out, and they have some really good lines.
[A scene showing one of the side characters, Vinny, is shown]
Vinny: We've done a lot of things we're not proud of: Robbing graves, plundering tombs, double parking. But nobody got hurt. Well, maybe somebody got hurt, but nobody we knew.
Doug (vo): I’d be lying if I said the problems I listed before didn’t get in the way, and, yeah. On the whole, is it a good movie? Probably not, but I think this is sort of for me what Moulin Rouge is for a lot of other people, a guilty pleasure. The stuff that’s good, I think is really good and really holds up. Is it corny at times? Oh, yeah. Is it really stupid? You have no idea. But look at this scene.
[The scene is shown. A hypnotized Princess Kida is approaching the Heart of Atlantis. Its power lifts her up into the air. A caption is shown, saying "AWESOME!"]
Doug (vo): In my opinion, there’s more here to make it just a style over substance. I mean, the culture is pretty interesting, the people are pretty interesting, the designs are pretty interesting. Like I said, I do like a lot of these characters. In fact, it’s one of the few times you have a Disney couple that doesn’t get married. Heck, they don’t even kiss, they just give a hug. Dude, that’s rare. But the problems are major ones and they can be very, very distracting and can ruin the film for a lot of people. It didn’t for me. Okay, it came close, but the stuff that’s good, I really enjoyed. I’m sure it has its fans, I’m sure it has its haters, you can just put me in the fan category. I really liked it, despite its annoyances. It’s not perfect, but I had a lot of fun watching it.
[The final scene of the movie, showing the entirety of the city of Atlantis, is shown, before a vehicle flies over to the camera and turns it black, revealing the film's title]