Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Atlantis: The Lost Empire


A pretty experimental film for Disney. And, though the movie has its charms, I’d have to say it’s a failed experiment. It’s an action-adventure on the model of the Indiana Jones movies, though there’s no Indy character. It’s also said to be inspired by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, in that it starts off with a 1914 super-submarine searching for lost Atlantis. There’s a motley multi-ethnic crew aboard, our hero being a nerdy young scientist (Michael J. Fox), and the commander a soldier voiced by James Garner. The style is a mix of anime and American comic book. The opening scenes of the destruction of Atlantis are in fact so anime-looking that the artists were accused of plagiarizing from some Japanese sources. There are some visual attractions here, but basically I wasn’t too involved.
It’s unusual, too, in that a lot of people die. Not zombies like in The Black Cauldron, or the occasional bad guy, but the majority of the crew of the giant submarine. And there is one milestone worth noting. I’m pretty sure this is the first—and maybe only—Disney animated feature where the main character takes time out to take a crap. He doesn’t actually manage to take the dump—he’s rudely interrupted—but he does head off to a private place with a roll of toilet paper. This could be more detail than I actually want to see in a cartoon.