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Toon Talk
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by Kirby C. Holt (archives)
June 18, 2001
Kirby reviews the latest Disney feature animation: Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

Toon Talk
Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt

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(c) Disney

Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Under the Sea

In a refreshing change of pace, the fortieth animated classic from Walt Disney Productions is nothing like any of the fairy tales and song-filled musicals we have seen before.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire begins hundreds of years ago, when the famed city of Atlantis was swallowed up by the sea, as Plato said, "in a single day and night of misfortune".

We then fast forward to 1914 Washington DC, where we meet Milo Thatch (voiced by Michael J. Fox), a bumbling cartographer and linguistics expert who is trying to convince his stuffy museum colleagues to fund his expedition to locate the lost continent. It is his dream to carry on his famous grandfather's legacy of adventure and exploration, and Atlantis is where he hopes to do just that.

After being dismissed by his boss Fenton Q. Harcourt (David Ogden Stiers), Milo dejectedly returns home, only to be whisked away by the alluring femme fatale Helga Sinclair (Claudia Christian) to the mansion of eccentric billionaire Preston B. Whitmore (John Mahoney). Turns out that Whitmore is an old friend of Milo's late grandfather, and that he has found the Shepherd's Journal, a long-lost tome fabled to include the location of the Lost Empire. Whitmore is willing to finance the exhibition, with Milo along to interpret the ancient language.

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Milo, Helga and Commander Rourke
(c) Disney

At last with a means to carry out his ambitions, Milo eagerly agrees and soon meets the ragtag team who has been assembled to take him on his mission, lead by the hard-nosed Commander Lyle T. Rourke (James Garner): Gaetan Moliere, a.k.a. "The Mole" (Corey Burton), a geologist with an unsanitary passion for dirt; Vincenzo "Vinny" Santorini (Don Novello), the cynical explosives expert; Dr. Joshua Sweet (Phil Morris), the earthy resident physician, Audrey Ramirez (Jacqueline Obradors), the tough-talking young chief mechanic, Wilhelmina Packard (Florence Stanley), the chain-smoking communications officer; and Jebediah "Cookie" Farnsworth (Jim Varney), the crusty old chef with an interesting take on the four food groups.

They all board the immense submarine Ulysses to begin their journey beneath the sea. Through several adventurous hardships, they finally locate the mythical land, but unexpectedly discover that it is inhabited by members of the centuries-old Atlantian civilization, ruled by the mystical King Kashekim Nedakh (Leonard Nimoy) and his daughter, the exotically beautiful Princess Kida, short for Kidagakash (Cree Summer).

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Milo with King Kashekim Nedakh
(c) Disney

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