Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

Genre: Animation, Kids, Action/Adventure

Cast: Michael J. Fox, Leonard Nimoy, Cree Summer

Synopsis: A rag-tag group of explorers go on an expedition to find the lost city of Atlantis and basically fuck everything up.

I tried to explain to my housemate what this movie was about after she looked at me quizzically and boasted that she had never even heard of this Disney film. Once I gave a brief outline she sniggered and said it was clearly the hipster Disney movie. In a way, I think that she may be right. This is definitely an underrated movie and the animation certainly has a sentiment of new-age fun with a steam-punk vintage feel. It makes me sad that not many people seem to know about this film though. I think that this, along with Treasure Planet, should be seen by everyone. Although not as good as Beauty and the Beast or Toy Story 3, Atlantis: The Lost Empire has an adventurous spirit that’s really infectious.

The film follows Milo, a marginalized cartographer and linguist, who has the chance to join a group of crazy explorers on an adventure to find the lost city of Atlantis. The explorers eventually get stranded in the city, which is 1000s of feet under the sea, and must chose to align themselves with either Milo, the good guy who’s all about saving culture etc, or Commander Lyle Tiberius Rourke, a mercenary motivated by greed. It’s essentially Avatar underwater. However, I’m saying that as someone who has never seen Avatar the whole way through. I know that’s really bad of me. I desperately need to see that movie but I only want to do so in 3D so I’ll have to wait for it to be re-released in a few years which I’m sure it will be.

The key difference between this and Avatar though, aside from one being set on a distant planet, is that this film is much shorter and, unfortunately, this means that there’s less character development which is a shame. When you have a long list of characters in a film you really need to take the time to develop each one in order for the audience to really give two shits. Unfortunately, Atlantis: The Lost Empire doesn’t manage to do this and has a tendency to gloss over some of the supporting characters. It’s a shame but it doesn’t ruin an otherwise enjoyable film.

This movie will leave you satisfied but it’s not a permanent satisfaction as I found out after watching it. Imagine, if you will, me snuggled under some comforters after watching this. The time is 12:30am and I’m falling asleep. In comes my roommate in a flood of tears crying about how our toilet’s broken and how shit just came flowing out of the pipe and into the toilet bowl. She was hysterical and I was high. I had no idea what to do. We tried contacting the landlord but we couldn’t because it was Saturday night/Sunday morning. I had to calmly explain that we’d call a plumber out ASAP and that, in the meantime, we would have to use the McDonalds down the street. I was sure the manger would reasonable and would understand our problem if we explained to him calmly and rationally that our toilet was broken and we had no other option. Turns out the guys didn’t speak any English so there I am at a McDonalds at 1am, stoned out of my gourd with red eyes, trying to explain to an irate Indian man why I had to take a McShit in his toilet. He clearly thought I was some whacked out junkie. I never thought anything would destroy the magic of a Disney film but that certainly did the trick.


  • Awesome vintage steam-punk spy kind of feel to it. There needs to be much more steam-punk in films.
  • I really appreciated the sophisticated animation.
  • “We tried to kill you but you survived so welcome to our city!”…wut?
  • Cree Summer is awesome.


  • Felt a bit too “high school” at times i.e. you have the cool crowd and the geek who just wants to fit in.
  • Needed more character development.
  • Realizing that them not knowing how to use their crystals is like me not knowing how to lock my front door. Kind of stupid really.


Without question, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a good film. Just watch it when your toilet is fully operational. Those of you who have seen the film please spread the love and share it with your friends. If you have no friends then watch it anyway for nostalgia.




Filed under Action/Adventure, Animation, Good, Kids

4 responses to “Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

  1. I remember liking this one, but it’s been some time since I’ve seen it.

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