The last decade or so of Disney movies is killing me, really. There are always at least 2-3 movies coming out, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is number two of three for 2001. As per usual, I haven’t seen this one before but of course I’m familiar with the myth of Atlantis because everyone is? Correct me if I’m wrong. So, shall we?!
The movie opens with a title card and a Plato quote. I couldn’t read it as fast as it disappeared again and didn’t care enough to rewind so we will have to live without this information. I’m sure it was a very enlightening quote or something. Anyway, Atlantis is disappearing, or so my notes say.
We see weird flying fish-things and people are talking in not English so I’m supposed to read subtitles which is difficult with the note taking. Argh, sorry, excuses excuses. There is a big wave about to crash over Atlantis and a woman is in the city with her daughter, she looks up into the sky and starts to glow and also float. It’s weird. Then we see a protective bubble span over the inner city, kind of like that at the Battle of Hogwarts (RIP my dearest Tonks and Lupin). The city also recedes into the ground as if that’s the most natural thing on earth.
Cut to Washington 1914. My German education feels like pointing out this was the year WW1 started. I think we’re at the Smithsonian because it’s a huge museum and that’s what I think of when I think of museums in Washington. A young guy is holding a lecture about the legend of Atlantis and also an expedition he wants to make. Apparently Atlantis had some very advanced power source, who knew?! And it was also not located off the coast of Ireland but Iceland. I’m sure that’s an easy mistake to make.
Next thing we see is the guests of this lecture only being puppets and stuff because he boy is practicing for the big thing. So cute.
He takes one last glance at a picture of himself and his Grandpa, or I’m assuming that’s what this is and then it’s time for the real lecture. Only right before he leaves, he gets a message saying the meeting was moved up to a time he couldn’t possibly meet so the grant proposal gets dismissed on principle. Womp, womp.
Cut to a bunch of rich white fat dudes exiting rooms and running away from Milo and his proposal because they are big fat douchecanoes.
Milo threatens to resign from his position which mainly seems to involve taking care of the boiler in the basement. We learn that his grandfather did the same thing, was also an explorer on the lookout for Atlantis.
Later Milo gets home but his lights won’t turn on because there is someone already in his home, because obviously. It’s sexy Helga and suddenly I don’t real mind anything anymore. She is really hot, folks, this ain’t a drill. She is there to offer something from her employer so they drive to there and holy shit in light she is even hotter. *fans herself*
The employer’s name is Whitmore. He has a picture of Milo’s Grandfather on the wall. He talks about the expeditions they did together while cracking his bones. That’s something. He has a package for Milo from the old man. As it turns out, it’s the Sheperd’s journal. Milo says that as if it’s supposed to mean anything, ahem. It is, the a journal and the key to finding Atlantis.
Whitmore will finance the expedition because he owe this to Milo’s grandfather and they will also travel in style. He even has a crew picked out already so they can leave pretty quickly.
On the ship, Helga is also there bossing people around. The ship itself is REALLY big and I wonder what they have on board.
Milo gets to his room on the ship but there he gets into an argument with some weird dude because he sat in some dirt or something. It’s very disturbing but thankfully a hot black doctor guy (yes, he even made my head turn that’s how fab he is looking) to make everything much better.
Apparently there was a submarine on that ship and it looks oddly like the Nautilus as it floats around the ocean. The crew has gathered and Milo is supposed to tell them more about the expedition.
Outside they see a whole bunch of already destroyed ships from every era. If that’s not creepy as shit, then the weird floating thing in the periphery will just make you go crazy. The floating metallic fish is making weird noises before it finally hits the submarine that isn’t yellow. But fear not my friends because they have small escape capsules so they can make a run for it. The metallic fish is making good headway with the submarine and more of the tiny capsules but alas they make their way to the entrance Milo was talking about. So we know he is on the right track.
Inside the air pocket, they take a moment to mourn their losses.
I have no idea where they got all those vehicles from because they couldn’t have been on the tiny floaters but whatever Disney. At least it gives Milo an opportunity to make friends with the girl mechanic as he figures out a problem before her because of his boiler room knowledge. In general, Milo is treated like an idiot though by the crew and I don’t like that. It’s not like any of them were where they are now without him so STFU.
They set up camp before a next important step of the tour. Before bed, they exchange stories about their defining moments in life. During the night, weird ape thingies go through there stuff and they would probably have been murdered in their sleep if Milo hadn’t needed to go to the loo. Fire bugs are setting all their supplies in fire one by one so sleep ends fast and off they are again. The treck gets even smaller as more people die.
Somewhere along the way they lost Milo and he is wounded when one of the ape things from before appears and heals him with her magic glowing crystal. Oh, and the ape thing is just a mask, there are human-esque creatures under there.
The digging machine that wasn’t destroyed because of contrivance gets to Milo and he is reunited with the crew. The follow the ape humans to their world. And of course we have found ATLANTIS! YAY! Let’s all celebrate but alas the movie isn’t done yet.
The ape humans speak all kinds of different languages so it’s easy for everyone to communicate.
Helga mentions to the Commander that there weren’t supposed to be people there and this changes things but he doesn’t gibe a flying fuck.
Naturally, the explorers aren’t welcome with the town oldest but we get some exposition about this world. Basically, the Atlantians are weakened because hey can’t find enough food where they are now and a lot of their technical advantages have been lost because no one possesses the necessary knowledge anymore. This, I find weird, because the big wave washes away all their knowledge too? They were alive back then so I don’t get it.
The white haired beauty who’s name is Kida wants to know more about the outside world so she takes a stroll with Milo. She was the kid left behind when her mother started floating away into the sky in the beginning of the movie, ah-ha. She shows him one of the flying fish vehicles but can’t get it to operate. There is text on there but since she can’t read her own language because all their knowledge was simultaneously deleted from their brains. Milo however os fluent in their language and explains what she did wrong.
The rest of the crew is not taking to this world as kindly as Milo and prepare with weapons.
Kida and Milo go for a swim because she has found a big stone with writing on it she wants deciphered. Apparently the crystals are what’s keeping the Atlantians alive. After their swim they are greeted by the rest of the crew with their guns drawn. It’s just another treasure hunt for them and I roll my eyes like a boss.
It takes a while to figure out where the giant power source is located but then they manage to decode it and get under water, again. There the circle-y thing that wa shish in the sky is located and it has an instant pull for Kida.
She walks on water and also floats into the air. She becomes weirdly translucent. She comes back to the ground as pure light and energy. But the others load her into a box to take home with them.
Milo leans heavy on their guilt because they are wiping out an entire civilisation and with a bit of nudging, part of the crew budges. As the bad bad guys leave we get some more exposition from Kida’s father. Basically, he wanted to utilise the power source but he went too far so his wife was chosen to rectify his wrongs. He hid the thing to not have anything happen like that again. It’s Milo’s responsibility to bring Kida back and save Atlantis.
Thankfully Milo worked out how to use those vehicles earlier as they are now using them to follow Helga and the Commander. There is a lot of fighting going on and with lots of back and forth, Helga who ultimately returns to the good side and the Commander get killed. Kida is safely returned to Atlantis and she hovers into the sky again freeing the world from whatever. Weird giant statues erupt from the ground, kind of like the Locomotive spell from McGonagall in the last Harry Potter movie.
After the threat to their society is over, Kida returns as a normal person and Milo holds her hand. Sweet. The remaining explorers get sent back home with a treasure but Milo is staying behind because of course he and Kida are in love.
Back home the guys are rehearsing their story so nobody will let anything slip. They are all wearing crystals in some form of jewellery.
Meanwhile in Atlantis, Milo and Kida are rebuilding the world.
There was some good and bad in this movie. At times it moved really slow and I was fed up with the explorer storyline when they turned on Milo because obviously but the world itself was pretty cool I just wish they had found a different way to get there than to use every trope in the book. I’m not ecstatic about this film but it’s a solid one in my opinion.