The idea that Disney had lost it's "magic" scared me.
As much as I enjoyed their last animated film, THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE, it didn't really have much of said Disney magic. It was just a really funny movie.
So when I started seeing more and more about Atlantis: The Lost Empire, I was a little worried. It seemed to be a straight up action-adventure flick. Could Disney handle that?
I didn't get to find out.
Despite it's PG rating, which I believe is only the second time a Disney animated film doesn't get a "G", the other being The Black Cauldron, and it's lack of a musical number, Atlantis definitely still has the old Disney magic. Plenty of it.
I guess in reality that Disney magic refers to the tried and true formula that most of the best Disney films have in common: the under-dog hero or heroine that comes of age, the misfit cast of characters, the sleaze-ball bad guy, and of course, and probably most importantly, that feel-good feeling only a good Disney flick can give you.
The one that makes grumpy old men like me feel all warm and fuzzy and makes me wanna see the movie again, and again.
Atlantis has a great cast of voices.
Michael J. Fox is the hero, Milo Thatch. His youthful enthusiasm is perfect here. It's such a shame about what he's going through in real life, but hey, he'd actually do fine to stay behind the scenes and do more voice overs. I didn't see it, but Stuart Little, in which he voiced the title character, did quite well.
Cree Summer supplies the voice for Kira an Atlantean princess. I liked Kira's look and her attitude. Her father, the Atlantean King is voiced by the regal sounding Leonard Nimoy.
Old timer James Garner plays a big military bully, while John Mahoney of TV's Frasier plays a rich old eccentric.
He's very funny.
There are others in the film too of course, but I'll only mention one more.
Playing the incredibly-sexy-for-a-Disney flick, Helga Sinclair, is Claudia Christian.
Yeah, yeah, she's just a cartoon character, but probably the hottest one since Jessica Rabbit.
While I feel this movie should be a great success for Disney, it may not be.
Yes, the story and characters maybe great, but in an age when more and more animated movies rely solely on computers, and even live action movies depend on them way too much as well, traditional animation might not be as appealing as it used to be.
Sure, they will always have their fans, but an ever growing population needs to be convinced they are watching something real, and traditional animation just doesn't do that.
A Disney movie is always about the suspension of disbelief and imagination.
Because when it comes to movies, imagination should be the greatest special effect of all…