13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Skillfully made, but doesn't quite work (great DVD edition!),
This review is from: Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (DVD)
Milo, a mild-mannered linguist, is recruited by a reclusive billionaire to participate on a quest to find the lost continent of Atlantis. Joining him on the trek are a motley assortment of colourful characters, and together they battle subterrainian monsters and eventually find the lost continent. However, not all the characters have noble motivations..... This film was meant to be a departure from the standard song-and-dance musicals that we are used to from Disney; instead, Atlantis offers up a Japanimation vision and an action-packed thrill ride that never quite comes together.
The film is visually fantastic, seamlessly blending traditional 2-D hand-drawn main characters with 3-D computer-generated vehicles and landscapes. For any given scene, you can't tell the difference, showing the skill of the animators (and the directors for getting everyone on the same page). In addition, the sound and score are flawless. Unfortunately, the story and characters don't quite live up to the visuals and sound. The secondary characters get equal screen time, and Milo never develops a comraderie with most of them. This becomes glaringly obvious when it comes time to choose up sides for the confrontation between the noble explorers and the greedy plunderers. The motivation of the characters seems driven by the plot instead of vice versa.
This Special 2-DVD Edition has everything you could ever want to know. There are numerous little documentaries covering all aspects of the filming. The most interesting are those covering the voice actors (it's always interesting to see the real faces behind the voices). In addition, there are some cut scenes (most of which are crudely drawn and never finished) and over 1000 (!) storyboards and concept drawings covering all aspects of the development of the film. There is a directors' commentary voiced-over the film iteself, along with cut-aways showing development aspects that blend into the film. That the extras on disc 2 rarely duplicate the extras spliced into the directors' commentary is a testament to the care with which this DVD edition was put together.
Thus, although the film is a treat to watch and listen to, I found it a little contrived and it never quite worked for me. As a child, I never liked musical numbers in animated films, but Atlantis seems to be missing its soul because of the lack of songs. This Special Edition DVD is better than the film deserves, I think, and anyone interested in the creative process behind making a Disney animated feature will find a lot in the extra features.