Legacy Content

Toon Talk: Atlantis: The Lost Empire Collector's Edition DVD
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by Kirby C. Holt (archives)
January 29, 2002
Kirby reviews the latest animated feature DVD release.

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

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(c) Disney

Atlantis: The Lost Empire
2-Disc DVD Collector's Edition
Sunken Treasures

Purchase Atlantis from Amazon.com:
Special Edition DVD
Standard DVD
Standard VHS

When Atlantis: The Lost Empire, debuted in theaters last summer, hopes were high from both the Disney Studio and animation fans. Could Disney break out of the formulaic fairy tale ghetto? Would it be successful, unlike the previous toon sci-fi flick, Fox's Titan A.E., a notorious bomb from the summer before that forced the closing of a whole animation studio? And after the 3-D computer animation of the box office behemoth Shrek, would audiences even care about a more traditionally animated film?

Well, yes and no. While most critical attention was mixed at best and public support was limited, the film did achieve one success: it proved that Disney animated films don't always have to be about dancing teacups and signing mermaids, that they could still be entertaining without the production numbers. And while Shrek dazzled some with it's all-CGI tale, Atlantis managed to combine the two mediums into a seamless environment with fully-fleshed out characters instead of snotty ogres and flatulent donkeys.

In my original review of Atlantis (click here to read), I stated that the major drawback of the film in general was that it tries to tell to much story: the whole history of Atlantis, the legendary Shepherd's Journal, the back stories to all the characters, not to mention the actual plot in motion, all added up to a somewhat jumbled cohesion.

But, through the "miracle" of DVD, all the background details are fleshed out and one can view the movie on the same track as the filmmakers. Which brings up the question "should one have to view several hours of behind-the-scenes footage to enjoy a 95 minute film?"

Again, yes and no. It depends on your perspective. Just like the huge fantasy hits of late last year, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, it helps to step into the world of Atlantis: The Lost Empire with a little knowledge of the mythology behind the story you are getting into.

If you have seen and enjoyed Atlantis, as I did to an extent upon first viewing, all the extra tidbits will only enhance that enjoyment, or in my case, increase it. A little more information enabled me to understand certain aspects of the story that were previously muddled.

In other words, if one is willing to explore a little more of the history of Atlantis (and Atlantis: The Lost Empire) that this DVD set provides, it will enhance your enjoyment of the film as a whole.