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Atlantis: The Lost Empire Review


Excellent
The song-and-dance numbers are out. The cheery sidekicks are nowhere to be seen. The predictable villains in black are nonexistent. This summer, Disney comes out with both guns blazing, literally, in its newest animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire, an imaginative and eye-popping mix of action, adventure, and sweeping vision landscapes filled with gorgeous computer enhanced animation.

Continuing on its recent arc of solid storylines in its animation and quality visuals, Atlantis is successful in both being a wide-eyed roller-coaster ride for kids and is interesting enough to keep adults from passing out from boredom. The film follows the adventures of Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox), a bookworm/boiler room attendant/linguistics expert who probably hasn't had a date in years. Milo's grandfather was an explorer looking for Atlantis who knew where to discover the location of the lost city -- in a hidden journal. With the help of eccentric billionaire Preston Whitmore (John Mahoney), the lost journal is recovered, providing new clues to Atlantis's whereabouts. Milo then joins a group of rag-tag explorers -- including a 200-person Navy, enough surplus to take over a small county, and no cute sidekicks -- in the search for the city of Atlantis.

Continue reading: Atlantis: The Lost Empire Review

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review


Grim
Disney's animation studio just about hit rock bottom in 1996, following its worst film ever, Pocahontas, with another weak entry, a difficult adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel.

It's typical of 1990s Disney: unlikely hero (Tom Hulce, as Quisimodo), who falls for a ravishing beauty (Demi Moore, as a gypsy gal), while goofy sidekicks (three stone gargoyles) crack jokes. Every five minutes, someone bursts into song. And yet none of this is kid-friendly, and little of it will be of interest to adults.

Continue reading: The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review

Brother Bear Review


OK
Brother Bear is the very Disney tale of a young bear-hating man named Kenai (voiced by Joaquin Phoenix) transformed into a bear and embarking on a journey with an orphaned cub. It's beautiful look at, but minor and sort of inert. I don't deny Disney the right to make a minor cartoon now and then (part of the industry's problem is the expectation that every cartoon should be a $200+ million blockbuster), but Brother Bear is oddly thin. Even the gorgeous visuals fade from your head as you leave the theater.

It goes down pleasantly enough as you watch. In fact, Brother Bear is rife with wonderful details. A prologue establishes only that the story takes place "a long time ago"; this allows the artists a certain freedom in their creation of a vaguely North American environment. There are rustling trees, blocks of ice, and swirls of light, all with an unfussy natural flow, not to mention gorgeous colors (it's not for nothing that the frame switches to a wider aspect ratio once the lead character turns into a bear).

Continue reading: Brother Bear Review

Tarzan (1999) Review


Good
Tarzan the Ape Man gets the Disney treatment this year. For some classic characters (Snow White, Bambi), the transition has been a positive one. For others (Pocahontas), it's been a disaster. Thankfully, Tarzan is among the former group.

The last time we saw Tarzan, he was saving a Lost City in the worst film of 1998 (shockingly titled Tarzan and the Lost City). The story is a bit more traditional this time, with Tarzan adopted by gorillas after his human parents are killed by a leopard. When he grows up, a group of British explorers stumble upon him, and after the "You Tarzan, me Jane" exchange, the British bad guy, Clayton, decides he's going to take all the gorillas back to Britain for sale. Adventure ensues, along with a love story and singing.

Continue reading: Tarzan (1999) Review

Atlantis: The Lost Empire Review


Excellent
The song-and-dance numbers are out. The cheery sidekicks are nowhere to be seen. The predictable villains in black are nonexistent. This summer, Disney comes out with both guns blazing, literally, in its newest animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire, an imaginative and eye-popping mix of action, adventure, and sweeping vision landscapes filled with gorgeous computer enhanced animation.

Continuing on its recent arc of solid storylines in its animation and quality visuals, Atlantis is successful in both being a wide-eyed roller-coaster ride for kids and is interesting enough to keep adults from passing out from boredom. The film follows the adventures of Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox), a bookworm/boiler room attendant/linguistics expert who probably hasn't had a date in years. Milo's grandfather was an explorer looking for Atlantis who knew where to discover the location of the lost city -- in a hidden journal. With the help of eccentric billionaire Preston Whitmore (John Mahoney), the lost journal is recovered, providing new clues to Atlantis's whereabouts. Milo then joins a group of rag-tag explorers -- including a 200-person Navy, enough surplus to take over a small county, and no cute sidekicks -- in the search for the city of Atlantis.

Continue reading: Atlantis: The Lost Empire Review

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review


Grim
Disney's animation studio just about hit rock bottom in 1996, following its worst film ever, Pocahontas, with another weak entry, a difficult adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel.

It's typical of 1990s Disney: unlikely hero (Tom Hulce, as Quisimodo), who falls for a ravishing beauty (Demi Moore, as a gypsy gal), while goofy sidekicks (three stone gargoyles) crack jokes. Every five minutes, someone bursts into song. And yet none of this is kid-friendly, and little of it will be of interest to adults.

Continue reading: The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review

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