Atlantis: The Lost Empire – SF Debris

Disney figures a film about a once mighty empire that winds up destroying itself due to its own hubris would make a good movie. Has never heard of irony.

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  1. This is a pet peeve of mine: when inventing your own alphabet, unless you are intending it to be a direct cipher of English, do not include C or X. They are completely worthless. C is either a K or an S; X is either a Z or a K-S cluster. Marc Okrand is a professional linguist; he should have known better than to include them in his con-script. At least he had the common sense to include separate symbols for CH, SH, and TH, which are individual sounds and should not be treated as clusters.

    • KingofNewAnglia

      Mark Okrand did not create the alphabet, John Emerson did.

      • I did a little more reading, and according to a post on, the C, X, and a few others were actually added later specifically to make it more of an English cipher for the sake of the kids. That makes me feel better. It’s still an annoying trend in beginner conlangs, but at least it doesn’t apply to this one case.

  2. Overall, I liked the movie. As much as I liked Lion King, really, though I know that’s a minority view. I think Chuck’s way too hard on Milo. Like he said, nobody could have expected shining a light upward at random would have triggered the fireflies of doom to attack.

  3. Funny, I thought you of all people would have made the Stargate connection with this film. After all, who is Milo if not Daniel from the Stargate movie, only more incompetent?

    • I posted the following on the SFdebris forum right after the review came out on his site:

      Surprised that there’s no mention of how Milo is almost a total carbon copy (albeit cartoonified) of Daniel Jackson:
      – Lanky academic with a dorky haircut and glasses, possessing a linguistic bent.
      – Has seemingly ridiculous theories about an ancient civilization for which he is constantly mocked that will ultimately turn out to be true.
      – Recruited into a military-esque program by an old timer with inside knowledge, although our character is the first to interpret that knowledge in a way that successfully gets results.
      – Helps lead an expedition to a mythical far off land, in which most of the expedition is killed.
      – Falls in love with an exotic beauty who happens to be the daughter of the local head honcho, and ultimately stays behind for her.

      Did I miss anything?

      • He’s introduced following a flashback giving a failed presentation.

      • Well, if I remember right, both spend the trip being mocked by their teams before eventually earning their respect. Oh, and the very act of making the trip leaves the teams stranded and reliant on Milo/Daniel to make it back home.

        • Except that Milo doesn’t really do anything to earn anyone’s respect. He is the only character to make serious mistakes and his handful of victories are all pointless.

          He ignores the leviathan for no real reason, if he actually took the warnings about the leviathan serious more lives could have been saved.

          He misreads the journal, leading the expedition towards danger (it is played for laughs, but it really doesn’t help his record)

          And he handles the fireflies very poorly, agitating them more and setting more things ablaze.

          Meanwhile his achievements were:

          Fixing the drill that the mechanic could conceivably fix just the same in a couple of minutes.

          Speaking the dead Atlantean language… which turns out to be useless since the Atlanteans already know how to speak English in the most hideous interpretation of “root language” I ever saw in film.

          And figures out how to turn on the Atlantean technology… which anyone in the expedition could have done by matching the shapes.

          And in the end the military guy figures out the location of the source of their energy without needing help from Milo, making him effectively useless. Heck, not even his love of Kiva saves the day, as she does her thing regardless of him loving her or not.

          Compared to him, Daniel Jackson is a veritable action hero.

  4. This is actually one of my favorite Disney movies. It helps that I grew up with it ^^

  5. Devil's Advocate

    isn’t it becoming more and more likely that there was a real Atlantis in some form? like with all the lost cities we’ve found that match Plato’s story not just in physical characteristics but their culture?

    • mmm, yes and no. there was certainly a lot of geological activity going on in the bronze age era aegean, which is why many believe that the Odyssey is so full of island that can float or move or vanish. its because in real life those islands got submerged and new ones popped up, or coasts would rapidly change. the most likely candidate for any kind of real life Atlantis is an island known then as Thera and now called Santorini. At some point around 3000BC (give or take a few hundred years, its hard to tell at that kind of age) the volcano on the island exploded. Not erupted, exploded. Completely annihilated itself and took a large chunk of the island with it. Would have wreaked havoc on anywhere that have a coastline in the aegean (there’s egyptian records about freakishly huge storms that seem to line up with the event, though like I said its hard to pun down exact dates from that early in history.) there is one theory that suggests this cataclysm would have severely crippled the Minoan civilisation; a wealthy and influential civilisation that was based on an island (crete, just to the south of santorini.) personally I thinks that trying to make the facts fit the conclusion a little too conveniently but if they’re right then there’s your atlantis stand-in.
      however as the video points out, plato made atlantis up as a morality point. its like tolkein using the shire and mordor as stand-ins for the green countryside he remembered from childhood and the industrialised wastelands he was seeing more of as an adult. so there is no ‘real’ atlantis but there might possibly be a few real life examples that plato drew from to make his tale more believable

      • aaaaand santorini just got mentioned in the video. whoops, should have listened ahead a bit more. ah well, hope I provided a bit more information if anyone was interested

      • Basically yes, Atlantis is a myth but it more then half was based on real life incident even including many minor details like animals or geology. Furthermore Plato supposedly get the story from Egipcjanin priest what relate to something what you already mention. I may add that Santorini super volcano explosion (or tsunami to be specific) didn’t just hit Crete destroying almost whole they feet. There are archaeological proves that Tera has large town (Akrotiri) what couldn’t by sustain without trade and unbelievably large number of weight instruments finds. Because of Tera localization it is quite possibile that it was main trade center in the region, specifically because smal isle subarend by circle of land what was original geology of this isle (basically collapsed volcanic cone) give good protection from the storms on middle of open sea what make traveling easier.

        • While powerful, the Santorini eruption was no where near powerful enough to be considered a super volcano. Volcanoes ruin the neighborhood, super volcanoes ruin the continent.

  6. I remember watching this movie. My opinion was ‘Meh. but alteast it looks pretty.’
    After looking at all the effort put into it especially with the language and the design and stuff, I feel a little bad for not liking it more.

  7. Devil's Advocate

    also, I always thought that the Ancient Greeks rationalized Atlantis sinking as the gods punishing them and from that perspective, it’s still on them

    and I also thought the scene where Milo admits to his screw ups and then going after Kita was his character development

  8. TragicGuineaPig

    Ah, good Chairface Chippendale reference.

    14:41 – You might say that story was “PRECCCIOUSSS!”

  9. I thought the movie was decent, and then I watched Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.

    That took the story of Atlantis (with some 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) and ran with it for 39 episodes. There goes the problem of being too short. The main characters, while younger, are more relatable and likeable. The concept is by Miyazaki which elevates it more. There is a bit of Gainax-ness in there near the end but not much.

    But to top it off it has one of the better villains I’ve seen in it.
    In all, soooo much better than this Atlantis movie.

    There is enough in these two shows that mirrors each other that either it was a case of great minds thinking alike (and the same source material) or Disney may have been borrowing a bit from Nadia.

    • KingofNewAnglia

      I think it’s more great minds, since they both involve Atlantis and were inspired by the works of Jules Verne.

      I consider Nadia one of my favourite animes. The reason why it’s Gainax at the end is because it was directed and mainly written by Hideaki Anno before he created Neon Genesis Evangelion.

      I see both the Disney Atlantis and Nadia as equal personnally. I mean Nadia has eleven episodes of filler (Although maybe discounting Episode 30 and 31) back to back. This got to account for something.

  10. the reason the movie seems like its missing huge chunks is because it was a 39 episode tv series that disney stole the entire thing from that predates this by nearly a decade

  11. ManWithGoodTaste

    People are obsessed over Atlantis for the same reason we are obsessed with every amazing magical far-away place: we want to live THERE, instead of [insert the crappy town you happen to live in]. It does not matter if the place was ever real; we WANT it to be real.

    Before this review, I believed the only problems with this movie were:
    – Main character being IN YOUR FACE quirky loser underdog
    – A people forgetting their own writing within ONE LIFETIME
    – Bad guy being obviously the bad guy (a problem with MANY a Disney movie)
    But…….. I never noticed all those problems with the writing. I mean, Titan AE has a flawless script compared to this.

    And I cannot wait for Treasure Planet, that is a legitimately great movie. Maybe even better than the source material.


    • ManWithGoodTaste

      Do you really want a crossover of something that is well-written, and something written like crap? Gargoyles had great writing (ignoring season 3), while Atlantis had problems everywhere.

  13. I like this movie…and KIda is my favorite Disney Princess.

  14. 1. You implied Great Mouse Detective did poorly when it actually was a success and gave the animation department a fighting chance.

    2. You said all of the Disney Renaissance was a success despite the well-known failure of Rescuers Down Under.

    3. Many Disney films had smoking back in the past.

  15. It sounds like they should have just made a documentary about the making of the film, that sounded a lot more interesting. well done man.

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