Come for the Disney name, stay for the treachery, death by misadventure, and rampant tobacco use . . . we’re battening the hatches and diving to “Atlantis: The Lost Empire!”
Blogger, podcaster, and critic Noel Thingvall joins the show to talk about the ambitious Disney film that failed to reach a broader audience but succeeded in showing what animated features could accomplish. Milo Thatch wants to follow in the famous footsteps of his explorer grandfather, but he’ll find himself caught up in a sinister plot to discover and exploit the fabled sunken city of Atlantis!
Disney animation had dominated the box office (and home video market) since its revival in 1989 with “The Little Mermaid”, but as the 2000s dawned, it found itself facing a creative brain-drain and diminishing returns. With “Atlantis”, the House of Mouse called on lauded creators, talented designers, and a star-studded voice cast to give life to a sweeping epic adventure that could appeal to older audiences as well as selling toys. “Atlantis” was met with indifference by the general public but over the years it’s come to be appreciated for its unique sense of design, its adult aesthetic, and the humor and gravitas of its performances. On this episode, we discuss the film’s pioneering blend of hand-drawn and computer-generated animation, the influence of Mike Mignola’s art on “Atlantis” and future films, the film’s basis in the Disney adventure films of the ’50s, the myth of Atlantis as social trauma preserved in myth, the film’s aborted Viking prologue, its better-than-you-think sequel, and why sci-fi animation is a hard sell in Hollywood.
Plus, we talk about video game films and why they rarely work, being openly geek, the influence of anime on Disney and Western animation, Joss Whedon and his involvement with the film, SO MANY DEATHS, skinny Indiana Jones, stealing from “Stargate”, letting your kid choose your movie project, the secret origin of “Disney PG”, a Bollywood “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, #ReleaseTheMurphyCut, and “John Carter” comes up more than you’d expect!
It’s a ragtag found-family of pirates that make a heel turn and then make a face turn and have among their member a plucky young female mechanic!
Atlantis: The Lost Empire Scores
Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
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Listen to “Episode 16: Atlantis: The Lost Empire” on Spreaker.