Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) – movie review

Share now:

Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring (voices of): Michael J Fox, James Garner, Claudia Christian, Mark Hamill
Directors: Kirk Wise, Gary Trousdale

A wondrously animated movie, ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE follows the adventures and fortunes of one Milo Thatch (Michael J Fox), a young museum cartographer. Continuing the research of his late grandfather – a renowned explorer – to discover the lost underwater kingdom of Atlantis, his attempts to convince his academic superiors to fund his work further fall on deaf ears and Milo threatens to resign.

Out of the blue, he is whisked off into the night by an attractive, forthright blonde called Helga (Claudia Christian) to meet an elderly, eccentric man Preston Whitmore (John Mahoney). As Milo is now in possession of a manuscript containing previously unknown material on Atlantis’ location, his benefactor is more than willing to finance Milo on an expedition.

Rushed aboard a ship under the command of Captain Rourke (James Garner), he is introduced to his fellow expedition team members, a diverse group each with their own areas of expertise. From Dr Joshua Sweet, an extremely fit and athletic medical doctor to the extremely laid back, gossipy communications operator Wilhelmina Packard (Florence Stanley). The crew transfer to a submarine to continue searching for Atlantis and events overtake Milo as he is catapulted into a fast paced mission.

Attacked by a huge ferocious sea monster, a leviathan, guarding the entrance to Atlantis, the crew of the submarine have seconds to abandon ship before it is destroyed. The crew, with Milo unprepared for this sort of commando-style action, take to smaller, more manoeuvrable craft that finally outrun their attacker and emerge through a water-filled, rock tunnel into a cavernous structure where they unload an assortment of land vehicles to continue the mission in finding Atlantis.

Milo’s adventure twists and turns with obstacles and surprises around every corner. When Capt Rourke and his crew reveal the real reason for their enthusiasm for the mission after the discovery of Atlantis, Milo embarks on a hazardous quest and battles to save Atlantis for its people, trying to resolve the cataclysmic situation.

The incredible dynamic graphic effects that continue throughout the movie certainly captured the attention of my 3 year-old son that I took along to the preview. He virtually never took his eyes off the screen – ah, total bliss to watch a movie without constant interruption! The movie is brimming with fast-paced action interspersed with comic and humorous quips that keep the audience, both adults and children, riveted to the final conclusion, plus – Capt Rourke’s voice is distinctly recognisable as James Garner’s, for all those fans of THE ROCKFORD FILES!

5 out of 6 stars