Atlantis is an oddity, mainly because it never feels like you’re actually watching something produced by Disney.
For this animated outing, Disney decided to take the action/sci-fi route. After a brief history of how the island of Atlantis went missing, the film jumps to 1914 and introduces us to linguist Milo Thatch (voiced by Michael J. Fox) and his lifelong goal of discovering the lost city of Atlantis. After being turned down, yet again, for research funding for his expedition, Milo is summoned to the home of an eccentric millionaire named Whitmore who was good friends with Milo’s grandfather. Whitmore makes two very important contributions to Milo’s quest: a journal that may contain the secret to Atlantis’s location and ragtag team of explorers, scientists and mercenaries to join him in his search.
Milo is a likeable hero, despite portraying all the stereotypes of a science nerd to a T. Even Kida, the Atlantean princess-turned-love interest, tells Milo: “Judging from your diminished physique and large forehead, you are suited for nothing else.” Milo is not tragically flawed, like Beast, or delightfully charming and funny, like Prince Naveen to come, but from his first introduction, you’re left with the impression that he is a good guy with a dream he desperately wants to come true. And you can’t help but root for him. While the look and feel of the film may not be what audiences are used to from the company, rooting for an underdog hero is undeniably Disney.