Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

(In French, on Blu-Ray, August 2015) Disney’s Atlantis never measured up against the heavyweight animated features for which the studio is best known, but even today there’s a lot to like in this proto-steampunk (or rather; “Jules Verne-inspired”) adventure looking for a lost continent.  Protagonist Milo is a likable nerdy hero, and there’s quite a bit of plotting going on as he discovers the true nature of those who are helping him.  The visuals are impressive (partly thanks to Mike Mignola’s design), and the integration between traditional cell-based animation and the computer-assisted animation used to bring the machinery to live has seldom been better-executed.  The film has a few laughs, a few serious moments, a generally controlled tone (which wasn’t a given for Disney animated features at the time) It aims a bit older (and a bit more male) than usual for Disney, with no musical numbers and some striking images along the waythe .  (I’m still pleasantly surprised at the surprisingly noirish way that Helga Katrina Sinclair character is introduced)  Some of the plotting is awfully convenient, something that limits its appeal to adult audiences.  Still, the adventure is briskly-paced, and rather interesting –especially as a change of pace from other Disney features.

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