Atlantis review (non-spoiler)
Here's the same post I put at the WBC board. I know you all said that you don't trust reviewers, so be gentle...
seeing Atlantis. The movie was, as expected, another fairly serious departure for Disney (the first being TENG). But did the departure work? Well, mostly.
I won't go into the plot here, since I'm sure most of you have the basic idea (plus I don't do reviews that way). But it really all boils down to a treasure hunt with lots of action sequences. In fact, it seemed similar, in a way, to Tomb Raider (which also opened this week). Fortunately, unlike the reportedly hokey plot of Tomb Raider, Atlantis fares pretty well, with only small doses of new-agey spirituality and the usual Disney sentimentalism. There were plot holes--several of them--but they're not quite severe enough to derail the film.
The tone is exactly right. Surprisingly, there's a damn high body count for this flick, though most of it is glossed over. Atlantis itself elicits a good deal of wonder. The treasure hunt and mystery are serious enough without going overboard with an inflated sense of importance, as Pocahontas did. And yes, there's plenty of Disney humor, both in dialogue and animation, to go around (much more so than Pocahontas, again), but it never seems tacked on or superfluous.
The characters are a fun lot, though not nearly as memorable as the cast of TENG. Yes, it's a multiethnic bunch of of any number of war movies, but Disney gets decent enough mileage out of most of them. Jim Varney's last performance (before his death) as Cookie is a hoot, so he went out on a good note. Michael J. Fox does a great job as Milo Thatch, as his natural voice is just perfect for his character. Elmyra/Max/Cree Summers does a good enough job as Princess Kida, though it's nothing special. James Garner is his usual great self as Commander Rourke.
The visuals? The git at Entertainment Weekly is officially an idiot. Atlantis looked absolutely great, as Disney certainly didn't slouch in bringing Atlantis to life. Though both cel and CGI. All of the machinery looks good and animates well, as do the Atlantian contraptions. The CGI doesn't look quite as well blended with the cel stuff as they lack the accentuated border lines of most cartoons, though it certainly blends a heck of a lot better than the stuff in Titan A.E.
The problem is that this isn't quite the "adult" movie we've been hoping for from Disney, simply because the movie isn't quite sophisticated enough. It's certainly more sophisticated than the usual Disney fare, not to mention the average brainless action movie. (I'd be willing to bet it's more sophisticated than Tomb Raider, too.) Nevertheless, it's still lightweight fare that doesn't get quite complex or deep enough for my tastes.
Even so, I enjoyed it and thought it was a nice chage of pace from the usual fairy tales we get from Disney. I'll probably see it again. I'm just praying it does decent box office... I have to friends that are usually big Disney fans, and they don't want to see this one.
You read it... you can't un-read it!