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Atlantis: Milo's Return Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 May 2003

Atlantis: Milo's Return

Walt Disney Home Entertainment
MPAA rating: G
starring: Corey Burton, John Mahoney, Phil Morris, Don Novello, Jacqueline Obradors, Cree Summer, James Arnold Taylor, Thomas F. Wilson
release year: 2003
film rating: Three Stars
sound/picture: Three Stars
reviewed by: Mel Odom

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 with immortality.

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 innkeeper.

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 straight-to-DVD release.

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, though.

more details
sound format:
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound; English DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound; French Language Track
aspect ratio(s):
1.66:1 — Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions
special features: Search For The Spear of Destiny Game; Deleted Scene; Closed Captioned
comments: email us here...
reference system
DVD player: Pioneer DV-C302D
receiver: RCA RT2280
main speakers: RCA RT2280
center speaker: RCA RT2280
rear speakers: RCA RT2280
subwoofer: RCA RT2280
monitor: 42-inch Toshiba HD Projection TV

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