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Release Date: June 11th, 2013 Movie Release Year: 2001

Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return

Overview -

'Atlantis: The Lost Empire' - A young adventurer named Milo Thatch joins an intrepid group of explorers to find the mysterious lost continent of Atlantis. 'Atlantis: Milo's Return' - Milo and Kida reunite with their friends to investigate strange occurances around the world that seem to have links to the secrets of Atlantis.

Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Special Features:
Release Date:
June 11th, 2013

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


'Atlantis: The Lost Empire'

'Atlantis: The Lost Empire' never really caught on as one of Disney's classic movies. It didn't have the staged musical numbers or the cute talking animal sidekicks that had become Disney staples. It was a straightforward adventure movie. Even though it ended up pulling in close to $200 million at the box office, 'Atlantis' is still largely remembered as a third-rate – second-rate at best – Disney film.

Personally, I think the criticism lobbied against it might be a tad harsh. Sure it doesn't adhere to the Disney formula that made their movies in the mid-90s some of the most memorable animated movies of all time, but it does have its own sort of flair. There's something about its graphic novel-esque animation and the way it pinballs from action scene to action scene that reminds me of 'Titan AE,' an equally fun and adventurous animated film.

Milo (voiced by Michael J. Fox) is a down-on-his-luck scientific historian who is obsessed with his grandfather's idea that somewhere, out there beneath the ocean, is the lost city of Atlantis. Milo has figured out a way to get there (he thinks), which involves a book called "The Shepherd's Journal." He's soon contacted by an eccentric millionaire Preston Whitmore (voiced by John Mahoney) who knew his grandpa and has already found the journal. He offers Milo the chance of a lifetime.

To save time – this is a kid's movie after all – Whitmore has already assembled state-of-the-art equipment to go hunting for Atlantis. The design of the submarine is one of the many enjoyable aspects of the movie. It feels like it's ripped straight from a 1920s sci-fi novel.

The crew is your standard band of eclectic folks who are there, more or less, to each have their own moments of comedic relief. Gaetan "The Mole" Moliere (voiced by Corey Burton) is a weird little geologist who is obsessed with dirt; Commander Lyle Tiberius Rourke (voiced by James Garner) is the leader of the bunch who seems suspicious from the outset; Helga Katrina Sinclair (voiced by Claudia Christensen) is Rouke's foxy right-hand gal; Dr. Joshua Strongbear Sweet (voiced by Phil Morris) is a very large, very kind medic; Vinny Santorini (voiced by Don Novello) is the debonair foreigner with a knack for explosives; Audrey Rocio Ramirez (voiced by Jacqueline Obradors) is the team's young, fiery mechanic; and finally Mrs. Packard (voiced by Florence Stanley) is the chain-smoking grandma who also happens to be the communications officer.

I don't think it's a spoiler to reveal that, yes, they do indeed reach Atlantis. What's entertaining about the movie is the exciting action sequences it concocts on the way down to the lost city. The story? Well, it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. There's something about a mythical power in Atlantis, and that some nefarious people may want to steal it for their own use, but on the whole the movie's exposition is quite thin concerning what exactly everybody is fighting over. That's okay though, since Atlantis isn't trying to be anything more than an adventure-filled movie that even the kids can enjoy.

'Atlantis: The Lost Empire': 3.5 Stars

'Atlantis: Milo's Return'

If there was ever a Disney sequel that didn't need to be mentioned in any review this is the one. Boy, is 'Milo's Return' beyond awful. Perhaps it's because it's simply the pieced together leftovers of a doomed-from-the-beginning 'Atlantis'-themed cartoon that never got off the ground.

Everything that made the first movie interesting to watch – cool character design, eye-popping visuals, stunningly animated action sequences – are completely lost on this "movie." The only real reason for this thing existing is… well, I can't really think of a good reason. I doubt that it would even hold your child's attention long enough for you to get a few chores done around the house.

'Atlantis: Milo's Return': 0.5 Stars

Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

This is another 2-movie, 3-disc collection from Disney. Both of the movies are housed in HD on the Blu-ray, while the DVDs contain the standard definition versions. The DVDs are stacked in the same disc hub, while the Blu-ray has its own. There is an insert inside with a Disney Movie Rewards code. A standard Disney slipcover has been issued for this release, which is region-free.

Video Review


'Atlantis: The Lost Empire'

While most of 'Atlantis' looks quite stunning in high-definition, there are enough technical anomalies to bump the score down quite a bit. Presented in 1080p, 'Atlantis' features nicely defined, but unique animation. The line art is presented clearly here. Color fills are always stable, never flickering. Black areas appear, for the most part, to stay as dark as they possibly can.

The problems come when light sources in the middle of a darker background start fading. The result is some very noticeable banding that is present throughout the movie, since they spend most of their time wandering around the depths of the ocean. Some minor micro-blocking can be seen whenever the movie's early-years CGI work is on display, but that's more of an inherent problem with the source than anything. That incessant banding – along with some aliasing – is the real bother here. The biggest problem is that these anomalies aren't relegated to one or two scenes. They're pretty much visible throughout, which is a shame.

'Atlantis: The Lost Empire': 3.5 Stars

'Atlantis: Milo's Return'

Again, I'm not sure why we're talking about this movie anyway. These 2-movie packs would, in most cases, be so much better as single-movie releases. However, since 'Milo's Return' is there I guess it deserves a few words about its video transfer.

It's pretty bad. Much of that stems from the fact that the animation source is so terrible to begin with. I mean this is some ugly looking animation. A Saturday morning cartoon reject if I've ever seen one. The same banding problems are present here too, along with aliasing and ringing. If possible, they're even more intense this time around, proving for a very frustrating movie watching experience. That is assuming that the movie itself wasn't frustrating enough.

'Atlantis: Milo's Return': 2 Stars

Audio Review


'Atlantis: The Lost Empire'

Disney's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix doesn't disappoint here. The video might be so-so, but the audio tries its hardest to make up the difference. With as action-centric as 'Atlantis' is, it was imperative that it had an engaging lossless mix and that's just what Disney's done.

First up is the dialogue, which is always cleanly produced through the front and center speakers. Directionality works hand-in-hand, directing voices and sound effects to their proper place in the sound field. The fun really starts when the sub is attacked by the large mechanical monster. As it swims around the sub looking for a place to strike, you can hear its movements seamlessly gliding along the channels. As soon as its pinchers clamp down on the submarine, the LFE lets loose with deep thunderous roars as metal creaks, hulls burst, and water starts flooding in. Explosions are also a great source of surprisingly resonant low-end sonics.

I was very impressed by the way 'Atlantis' handled itself in the audio department. This might be one of the better second-tier Disney titles as far as sound quality goes.

'Atlantis: The Lost Empire': 4.5 Stars

'Atlantis: Milo's Return'

All around disappointment for this movie was inevitable. The audio mix here is a whole lot of blahness. Think of any cheap cartoon you've ever watched and you'll probably be able to surmise what this movie sounds like. It doesn't have near the heft in the LFE department. Voices sound a bit tinny, and aren't as clear as its predecessor. In other words, it's blatantly obvious that 'Milo's Return' was made with a twentieth of the budget that 'Atlantis' used, and so it's hard to expect any type of quality to come out of it.

'Atlantis: Milo's Return': 3 Stars

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary – Directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise are joined by producer Don Hahn as they talk about 'Atlantis,' its origins, its animation, its voice actors, etc. It's your basic animated movie commentary that touches on most facets of making a full-length animated Disney film.
  • The Making of 'Atlantis' (SD, 63 min.) – This is a 10-part documentary focused on a variety of different aspects of the filmmaking: "Tour Intro," "The Journey Begins," "Creating Mythology," "Finding the Story," "Designing 'Atlantis'," "Music and Sound," "Setting the Scene," "The Voices of 'Atlantis'," "Creating the Characters," "Digital Production," and "'Atlantis' Found."
  • 'The Lost Empire' Deleted Scenes (SD, 16 min.) – Three of the four deleted scenes are presented in unfinished storyboard fashion. A discard Viking-themed prologue, however, comes with almost completely finished animation.
  • 'Milo's Return' Deleted Scene (SD, 1 min.) – You don't want to watch what was deemed not good enough for this movie.
  • How to Speak Atlantean (SD, 2 min.) – A fake news reel about the language of the people of Atlantis.
  • Atlantis: Fact of Fiction (SD, 7 min.) – Did it exist? You decide.
  • 'Trailers' (SD, 6 min.) – Three separate trailers for the movie are included.

It had been a long while since I'd first seen 'Atlantis: The Lost Empire,' and I think I liked it more this time around. It's almost like an animated version of 'National Treasure.' Exciting, uniquely animated, and highly adventurous. 'Atlantis' isn't like any other Disney movie, but that's okay. It's certainly a movie that deserves revisiting. The video has its difficulties, but 'The Lost Empire's audio is superb. If you're a collector of Disney titles then you're getting this regardless. Although, I'd lightly recommend it to anyone who asks.