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Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return(2001-2003)
A young adventurer named Milo Thatch joins an intrepid group of explorers to find the mysterious lost continent of Atlantis.
For more about Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return and the Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return Blu-ray release, see Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on June 1, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: John Mahoney, Corey Burton, Phil Morris, Jacqueline Obradors, Cree Summer, Don Novello
Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
This Blu-ray release includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return Blu-ray Review
"Commander, there were not supposed to be people down here. This changes everything..."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, June 1, 2013
Disney is well aware of the appeal and reach of its catalog, down to the best and worst films in its canon. Titles like Cinderella and Peter Pan arrive separately and to great fanfare, while other titles shuffle onto shelves en masse, sans the red-carpet treatment afforded their Platinum and Diamond Edition brethren. In August 2012, it was The Aristocats, The Rescuers, The Rescuers Down Under, Pocahontas, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, The Tigger Movie and Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, all released on the same day. Earlier this year, in March, it was The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, Mulan, Mulan II, Brother Bear and Brother Bear 2. And now animation fans can add six more movies to their Blu-ray collection with Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Atlantis 2: Milo's Return, Lilo & Stitch, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, The Emperor's New Groove and Kronk's New Groove.
But something is amiss this go around. Once again, the original films and their direct-to-video sequels are paired on single BD-50 discs. This time, though, only Atlantis and Milo's Return include special features on the Blu-ray disc itself. Extras for Lilo & Stitch and The Emperor's New Groove (and their sequels) are relegated to the bonus DVD copies in each 2-Movie set. Moreover, video and audio are vastly improved, but the transfers suffer from a number of (admittedly minor) issues. Combined with the displaced extras, it's hard to miss Disney's diminishing standards. Packing a 2-Movie Collection on a single disc is becoming more and more important to the studio; more important than delivering the fullest, most intuitive experience.
And the films? The theatrically released features are as divisive as ever. Some will find them decidedly desperate and unimaginative; a pale imitation of the Disney Renaissance greats. Others, like myself, will find a few flawed but fun, and one -- Lilo & Stitch -- a bonafide classic, seeing the trio as a not-so-distant spiritual extension to those same Renaissance classics. The direct-to-video sequels, though, aren't nearly as polished or entertaining on the whole, making the 2-Movie Collections hit or miss pairings primed to placate longtime fans and underwhelm the unconverted.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire - 3.5/5
Post-Renaissance Disney Animation by way of Jules Verne, The Dirty Dozen, comic book artist Mike Mignola and Roland Emmerich's Stargate? I'll bite. Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a dark but dazzling period adventure that tells the tale of a ragtag band of early 20th century explorers -- Smithsonian linguist Milo Thatch (voiced by Michael J. Fox), military man Commander Rourke (James Garner), no-nonsense femme fatale Helga Sinclair (Claudia Christian), Italian demolitions expert Vinny (Don Novello), medic Joshua Sweet (Phil Morris), rotund French geologist Mole (Corey Burton), tough as nails mechanic Audrey (Jacqueline Obradors), aging communications specialist Mrs. Packard (Florence Stanley) and jack-of-all-trades mess cook, Cookie (Jim Varney) -- assembled by millionaire Preston B. Whitmore (John Mahoney) to find the lost city of Atlantis. Diving deep into the seas, the team soon discovers the location of city, but nothing proceeds according to plan. Soon Milo and his colleagues come face to face with Atlantis' survivors, among them Princess Kida (Cree Summer) and her father Kashekim (Leonard Nimoy), and are forced to contend with an unexpected enemy.
For an animated feature populated by such conventional explorers and experts, Atlantis departs from Disney convention time and time again, from the look of the underwater city to the film's comicbook-inspired design, lack of musical numbers and talking creatures, geopolitical themes and commentary, and, of course, the mystical elements and magic-infused tech that drives the third act toward its gripping endgame. By focusing on the story, directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise deliver something more akin to The Iron Giant than Aladdin, a decision that cost the film at the box office but allowed it to become something of a niche classic in Disney's canon. Fox and his fellow voice actors are as carefully assembled as Whitmore's team -- even if the movie could do with less baseline comedy and more complex group dynamics -- and the animation is often gorgeous, despite the relative simplicity of its stark light and shadow, character designs and visual aesthetic. It's far from perfect, mind you. It frequently panders to its audience, particularly in regards to dialogue, and goes to great lengths to cram in a villain, where a straight-forward man-vs-nature struggle would have more than sufficed. Still, there's a lot to love about Atlantis, so long as you're willing to forgive and forget its missteps.
Atlantis: Milo's Return - 1/5
Brace for impact. Atlantis: Milo's Return isn't just one of the worst direct-to-video Disney sequels to date, it isn't even really a sequel, and certainly isn't any good. Conceived as part of Team Atlantis, an abandoned television series that fortunately never came to pass, the "sequel" is actually three extended shorts that feel suspiciously like lost episodes of Scooby-Doo. And not classic Doo either. The animation is dreadfully mediocre, the voice acting is phoned in, the script is 20,000 leagues beneath average, and almost nothing warrants applause. (Perhaps the return of original voice actors Summer, Mahoney, Novello, Morris, Burton and Stanley, but little else.) It's no wonder Michael J. Fox declined to return, and no wonder Team Atlantis sank to the bottom of development hell. Milo's Return is a glorified special feature at best, an unwelcome intruder into the kingdom of Atlantis at its worst.
Glutton for punishment? Perhaps a quick overview of the stories will convince you to save yourself the time and misery. In the first part of the piecemeal sequel, Queen Kida (Summer) and her new husband Milo (James Arnold Taylor), now the King of Atlantis, reunite with their old friends to battle a Kraken... which someone has unleashed... but not Liam Neeson, because that joke would be too easy. With that problem solved, it's on to pseudo-episode two. Next, those meddling Atlantean kids travel to Arizona to investigate an ancient site haunted by g-g-g-ghosts! Zoinks. Finally, Milo and company have to face Odin himself (W. Morgan Sheppard), or rather Erik Hellstrom, a Whitmore nemesis who gets his hands on a powerful spear that may have come from Atlantis. Three mysteries, three baddies, three supernatural conundrums, each solved in rapid succession. Still curious? Have at. Just don't say I didn't warn you...
Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return Blu-ray, Video Quality
Atlantis: The Lost Empire - 3.5/5
First things first. Atlantis: The Lost Empire's remastered 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation bests its long-outdated DVD counterparts in every conceivable way. The short version of this review is that fans owe it to themselves to upgrade, no matter what problems plague Disney's 2-Movie Collection release. However, that doesn't mean there aren't a few issues to discuss. Aliasing, inherent and otherwise, is a (thankfully mild) frequent offender, and minor macroblocking, banding and ringing appear throughout. Some of the anomalies no doubt trace back to the source and the integration of CG and hand-drawn elements. I'm willing to give those a pass. Other eyesores, though, don't appear to be the result of a dated source, and in fact suggest the overuse of artificial sharpening. No one issue is a deal breaker, and there are just too many positives to rattle off to declare the presentation an out-and-out disappointment. Colors are often restrained but always lovely. Black levels are rich and inky. Primaries boast real power. Contrast is filmic and consistent. Detail is exacting, and the animator's line art is crisp and refined. And every nuance and touch that went into the film has been preserved. All in all, I'm not about to hail Disney a conquering hero on this one, but as someone with affection for Atlantis, I'm still pleased.
Click here for full review and additional Atlantis: The Lost Empire screenshots.
Atlantis: Milo's Return - 2/5
It's hard to tell where the sequel's horrid TV animation stops and its 1080p/AVC-encoded monstrosity begins, but one thing is abundantly clear: the Blu-ray presentation looks dismally similar to a DVD, so much so that I found myself laughing out loud in disbelief. The entire image is soft, aliasing is out in force, artifacting and color banding abound, animation mistakes and CG glitchiness leads to numerous oddities, and next to nothing impresses. It does represent a slight uptick from its DVD counterpart; the resolution and bitrate alone ensure some measure of improvement. But not much, and not enough to elicit anything other than criticism. Granted, I doubt Disney could do much to polish this one. I would have made the decision to relegate the sequel to a DVD and a DVD alone, though, and I don't think it would have bothered anyone. But who knows? If you're a Milo's Return apologist, by all means take to the forum and say your peace. As for me, I'm going to go back to pretending it doesn't exist.
Click here for full review and additional Atlantis: Milo's Return screenshots.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Atlantis: The Lost Empire - 4.5/5
The high point of Atlantis: The Lost Empire -- and, really, the entire two-movie disc -- is Disney's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, which lends heft, presence, immersion and authority to a mix that benefits from everything the lossless experience has to offer. Dialogue is clean, clear and capably prioritized, and effects and James Newton Howard's score are never short-changed or under-supported. LFE output is strong and assertive, with deep, earthy dooms and hard-hitting thooms. Explosions, eruptions and rending metal sound particularly good, and the rear speakers only help. The soundfield is enveloping and well-managed, surrounding the listener believably without resorting to gimmicks or overbearing directional bells and whistles. Cross-channel pans are smooth, directionality is accurate, and dynamics are excellent. I'm a happy man.
Atlantis: Milo's Return - 3/5
The sequel's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track isn't quite as bad as its video presentation, subjectively or objectively. But it isn't remarkable in the least either. Dialogue is clear, so there's that. Low-end support lags, rear speaker activity leaves something to be desired, and the soundfield is unsurprisingly two-dimensional. But the lossless mix is a reasonably competent presentation of the sequel's made-for-TV (then abandoned) sound design, and the fact that it's available in lossless form at all is a miracle. There aren't any glaring technical issues per se, just be ready to forget you're listening to a DTS-HD MA track. I'm not sure anyone would be able to tell the difference between it and a comparable Dolby Digital mix without consulting the on-screen tech specs.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The 2-Movie Collection release of Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return is a 3-disc set. However, in what has now become Disney's practice, the feature films are housed on a single BD-50, with two standard DVDs -- one for each movie -- rounding out the set. It's far from perfect; some will deem it convenient, others an irritation.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Imagine Milo's Return never came to be. Erased it from your memory? Good... onward. Atlantis weathered the worst of Disney Animation's early 21st century storms and has retained its dignity, which is more than can be said for other Disney animated features released between 2000 and 2009. With plenty of style, character and charm, it's a terrifically entertaining adventure, even if it's admittedly as divisive a classic as ever. Imperfect as it may be, though, Disney's Blu-ray release deserves both praise and caution. Praise for the upgrade it offers over DVD, for its lossless audio track, and for its solid selection of supplemental content. Caution for its video transfer, which has its share of issues, and for the god-awful sequel that shares its BD-50. All told, Atlantis is a worthwhile addition to any Disney fan's shelves, despite some red flags I wish the studio had addressed before the film's Blu-ray debut.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Amazon Blu-ray Deals of the Week: Stargate Atlantis and Selected ... - December 8, 2013
Amazon's Blu-ray-related Deals of the Week affect selected movie and TV sets from MGM/Fox and Walt Disney Home Entertainment. The eighteen sale items include Stargate Atlantis, Frankenweenie, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Rocketeer, and Wreck-It Ralph. Through ...
• Exclusive Giveaway: Atlantis, Lilo & Stitch, and The Emperor's Ne... - June 6, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Walt Disney Home Entertainment are offering nine members the opportunity to win one of three 2-Movie Collection releases of their choice: Atlantis, Lilo & Stitch or The Emperor's New Groove. All three classic Disney animated features and their direct-to-video ...
• The Emperor's New Groove, Lilo & Stich, Atlantis 2-Movie Collecti... - March 23, 2013
Walt Disney Home Entertainment has officially announced the Blu-ray release of three additional Disney Animation 2-Movie Collections: Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo's Return, Lilo & Stitch / Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch and The Emperor's New ...
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