This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Atlantis: Milo's Return
Written by Mel Odom
Tuesday, 20 May 2003
|Walt Disney Home Entertainment
||Corey Burton, John Mahoney, Phil Morris, Don Novello, Jacqueline Obradors, Cree Summer, James Arnold Taylor, Thomas F. Wilson
In 2001, Disney Studios brought out one of the best children’s animated
movies of the year. Although not in the ballpark with Disney’s joint
efforts with PIXAR, “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” certainly enjoyed
audience favor in theaters and as a two-disc collector’s edition.
“Atlantis: Milo’s Return” offers a second helping of the stalwart
heroes who first journeyed into the hidden depths of the sea to find
the legendary lost civilization of Atlantis. In the first movie, Milo
Thatch, the intrepid cartographer recruited by Mr. Preston Whitmore,
deciphered the clues hidden in an old journal to lead the team of
specialists on their quest. As a result, Milo found Atlantis,
encountered base villains, saved the day, and found his true love in
the Atlantean princess Kida. He also gained the friendship of Dr.
Sweet, Mole, Vinnie, Audrey, Packard and Cookie, who left him with his
love and swore to keep the secret of Atlantis forever.
Unfortunately, in the new film, problems outside Atlantis arise and
draw Milo and Kida from the fabulous underwater city they still labor
to reconstruct. Chapter 1 opens with a ship sailing across the ocean,
only to be attacked by a Kraken, the mythological sea creature capable
of drowning ships. The rumble of the ship’s engines throb through the
surround sound system’s subwoofer, while the slap of the waves against
the hull mix through the left and right front speakers as well as the
center speaker(s). As soon as the Kraken’s gigantic tentacles clear the
water and strike the ship, alarm klaxons ring out.
After the opening credits, the action quickly moves to Atlantis. Kida,
now queen of the realm, races around on a flyer, checking on the
progress her people make on repairing the ancient city, using the power
of the crystals they wear. The flyer motor revs through the left front
speaker, across the center speaker(s), and to the right. Kida speaks
with Milo only briefly before Preston Whitmore and the other members of
the original discovery team show up in airships.
In Chapter 2, Whitmore lays out the problem of the Kraken for Milo and
Kida. The sea creature resembles the mechanical thing that guards the
undersea path to Atlantis. Whitmore thinks that the newly sighted
Kraken could, in fact, be an Atlantean weapon. He asks Milo and Kida to
investigate. Kida makes the decision to go, stating that she wants to
understand more of her father’s reasons for locking Atlantis away from
the outside world.
Later, aboard a ship, Milo and Kida talk. A door opens and closes in
the left front speaker. Before they’re able to finish the conversation,
the Kraken attacks. Milo and Kida jump into their subpod and launch
into the ocean. The craft malfunctions and Milo and Kida are battered
before being propelled into the ocean. Out of control, with numerous
leaks in their hull, Milo and Kida sink like a stone. The water leaks
drip through the surround sound, placing the viewer in the center of
the impending catastrophe. As the remaining members of the team battle
the Kraken, the torpedoes speed through the water from left to right.
The explosions of the torpedoes roar through the subwoofer. After a
brief battle, the Kraken disappears and Milo and Kida are rescued.
Although the main ship is too heavily damaged to stay, Milo and his
group choose to remain in the water and try to find out what they can
about the mysterious monster.
In Chapter 3, Milo and the others end up in a small village on the
mainland near the area where the Kraken sightings have taken place. The
village is a dreary place, filled with fog and sadness. The village
leader, an old, evil-looking man named Edgar, tries to chase Milo and
his friends away. Trekking to the inn to investigate the possibility of
obtaining lodging, the adventurers talk to the woman innkeeper and find
out there’s a legend that Edgar made a deal with the devil to live
forever — however, Edgar forgot to ask for the permanent youth along
Later in Chapter 3, Milo and his friends follow Edgar through the foggy
night. The sound of footsteps echoes the movement of Edgar’s lantern
across the screen, coming from the left front speaker, through the
center speaker(s), and on to the right front speaker. When Edgar
discovers that Milo and the others know his secret, Edgar threatens the
In Chapter 4, Mole finds the secret passageway Edgar has used to reach
the Kraken. A battle ensues in the large cavern, filling the subwoofer
with the sounds of explosions. A short time later, Milo and the others
set out in the surviving subpods in pursuit of the creature. The
subpods’ rotors buzz through the surround sound system, matching the
movement on the screen from left to right. Again, the torpedo
explosions hammer the subwoofer.
In Chapter 5, sand coyotes have magically appeared in the small city of
Saguaro City. The squeal of the microphone in this scene, running from
left front speaker to right front speaker, sets up the urgency of the
moment. Later, with the group in Arizona, Milo and friends are pursued
by the sand coyotes whose howls echo all around them and the viewer
through the surround sound system.
Solving the mystery of the sand coyotes throughout Chapters 6 and 7
leads directly to the search for the Norse Spear of Destiny during the
final third of the movie.
The special features on the disc are few. The one scene deleted from
the movie gives an entirely new spin on the closing act of the first
adventure that would have been fun. The game included on the disc and
meant to be played on the PC is simple and quick, something all young
gamers will probably enjoy.
Although maintaining much of the sense of wonder and fun generated by
the original movie, “Atlantis: Milo’s Return” remains a far cry from
that first effort. Michael J. Fox has not returned as the voice of
Milo, though most of the other original voice cast has, and there seems
to be little if any mix of computer graphic work in this
The episodic nature of the movie, basically three adventures rolled up
into one continuous effort, appears to be a compilation of three
proposed television series cartoons. All three plots revolve around the
power of Atlantis, whether it can be used for good or evil, and all
cause Kida to ask herself if she should allow her people to continue
using their crystal to power their city.
Where “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” is a definite must-buy based on
story, production, added extras, and voice talents, “Atlantis: Milo’s
Return” is a decent effort. Only film buffs wanting to fill a
collection or parents wanting to meet entertainment needs for their
children will probably want to pick this DVD up as a keeper. The disc
is a great rental for an evening’s entertainment with the family,
|English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound; English DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound; French Language Track
|1.66:1 — Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions
||Search For The Spear of Destiny Game; Deleted Scene; Closed Captioned
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||42-inch Toshiba HD Projection TV