A crew assembled of the “best of the best” in their respective professions (i.e., map reading, mechanics, medicine, navigation, etc.) travel via submarine in an attempt to uncover the lost city of Atlantis, a civilization once believed to be centuries ahead of their time (and confirmed in the opening sequence).The animation is bold and vivid from a focal standpoint, with a pastiche style of individual characters. Each brand of character appears as though they were removed from the products of other animated genres, and while that may pose some stereotypical dilemmas at first, you come to appreciate it more and more throughout the movie. (Examples of the variations: Dr. Sweet looks like he was removed from “Fat Albert,” or the Chicano mechanic is drawn short and plumpy, with thick lips.) But instead of being offended by these differences, it becomes more rewarding because it features and includes the variety of styles represented herein rather than neglecting them. Never has there been so much difference in the construction of the drawn characters within one movie that pleasantly draws attention to itself. (That is, aside from a multitude of animal creations.) Along with their medley, the characters are also quite likable “personalities.” The design of Princess Kida (Cree Summer), the sexy Atlantian who finds herself attracted to the nebbish Milo (Michael J. Fox), is the most salacious animated character in anything non-pornographic (or drawn to suggest such) since Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (And prior to Jessica, it was Tex Avery’s often-featured human companion to Droopy the Dog.) Atlantis is one of the more exciting animated features I’ve ever seen and shows how far Disney has come along. There are no plot-stops that give way for corny sing-a-longs or any musical numbers whatsoever, and absolutely no stupid tag-along creatures; the makers readily admit their motives of appealing to an older audience. This really blows away a lot of Disney’s recent outings like The Emperor’s New Groove, Tarzan, and Pocahontas. It is in no way a letdown from the directing team of Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, who brought us the memorable and classic Beauty and the Beast.
With the vocal talents of James Garner, Leonard Nimoy, Jacqueline Obradors, Florence Stanley, Claudia Christian, John Mahoney and the late Jim Varney.[Absolutely to be seen.]