Hoping to recreate the success of The Little Mermaid, Disney's animators once again go under the sea, this time to discover the lost city of Atlantis. Shame they didn't find an engaging plot while they were down there
Kids and adults who loved the humour, luscious animation and overall fun that was DreamWorks' Shrek are not going to find much to like in Disney's animated offering for 2001, the drab, over-complicated and forgettable Atlantis The Lost Empire.
There aren't even any songs or cute cuddly creatures in this waterlogged adventure that tries to be 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea with animated explosions. Instead, we get the plodding tale set in 1914 of Milo Thatch (nicely voiced by Fox), a young man who believes in the legend of Atlantis and, thanks to a journal written in Atlantean that only he can translate, has a pretty good idea where it is. Luckily for Milo there's an eccentric millionaire who believes in Atlantis too, and is funding an expedition to rediscover it. Soon our eager hero is mucking in with the crew (led by crusty Commander Rourke, voiced by Garner) of a submarine, on his way to find the lost city.
While the underwater world is beautifully realised, the animation of the characters is surprisingly blocky (check out the square fingers and triangular fingernails - what's that about?) and will no doubt get the thumbs down from kids more used to the colourful and three-dimensional animation of Toy Story or Shrek. Equally, it's hard to imagine younger viewers sitting still through a film that waffles on about new-agey "life forces". Worse, it gets all liberal meaningful when Milo realises the soldiers he has been sent down to Atlantis with may not have the Atlanteans' best interests at heart.