YMMV: Atlantis: The Lost Empire

  • Complete Monster: Commander Lyle Tiberius Rourke is a tomb-robbing mercenary (or, as he insists, "adventure capitalist") solely in the Atlantis operation for profit. The leader of the expedition sent to find Atlantis, Rourke maintains a gruff, militaristic indifference to the lives of those lost to the Leviathan and upon seeing the Heart of Atlantis, plans to confiscate it and sell it for double the money he'd receive. Knowing full well this will kill every Atlantean, when he's confronted on this Rourke threatens to shoot Princess Kida and shortly thereafter murders her father, never dropping his friendly fašade. Rourke was concerned for little else but himself and the potential profit he could reap from Atlantis, to the point where he tosses Helga off a blimp to her death for a minor benefit to his escape, and was greedy enough in the end to make his entire party turn against him.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Ms. Packard, with her Dull Surprise, Unfazed Everyman attitude, Deadpan Snarker tendencies, and grizzled matriarchal appearance, is amazingly similar to the waitress from The Emperor's New Groove, which came out a year earlier. It's hard to believe the two characters were developed independently.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: James Newton Howard provides as usual. In particular, the music during the submarine launch is especially epic.
  • Cult Classic: As with Treasure Planet, this film is becoming one.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
  • Evil Is Sexy: Helga.
    • Even Rourke has a few fans. Yes, really.
  • Genius Bonus: Pay attention to the fish in Whitmore's mansion. They're coelacanths, an ancient and mysterious "missing link"-esque creature... which were believed extinct until 1938. The movie's set in 1914. Presumably, Whitmore's just that awesome an explorer.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Whitmore. At the very least, he has magnificent organisational skills.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Rourke crosses it and keeps on going when he punches the elderly King of Atlantis so hard it causes internal bleeding, eventually leading to his death. Dr. Sweet drops out without hesitation when he sees this happen and while the other main crew members don't, Audrey and Vinny at least are shown to be disconcerted and repulsed.
  • Sequelitis: A running theme in the Disney Animated Canon, as this film does indeed have a sequel. The sequel consists of three poorly-animated episodes of an aborted TV show strung together into a nonexistent narrative. Don't talk about it.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus seems to be that it has a lot of good points, but a lot of bad ones too with each kind of balancing the other out.
  • Theiss Titillation Theory: Kida's Atlantean clothing bares much skin. Okay, so that's an Atlantean thing. Helga, on the other hand, wears some things with straps. Often, there is only one firmly on a shoulder at at time...
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Lots of effort is devoted early on to establishing this huge herd of interesting supporting cast members, who then spend the rest of the movie tripping over each other for screen time to the point where it feels like all of them got shortchanged. If the proposed TV series had materialized (see "Sequelitis" above), they would have each finally gotten a chance to shine.
  • Vindicated by History: The film was neither a huge financial or critical hit, and perhaps received one of the most lukewarm receptions of any Disney film at the time. Many questioned Disney on its choice to pursue an action-oriented animated film, one that was designed for an older audience in mind and resorted to the extensive use of CGI when traditional animation had begun to lose favor at Disney. However, these days it is becoming a significant cult classic with more and more viewers taking a closer look at the film's merits. Those who enjoy it tend to appreciate its comic book style animation and its many adventurous elements, while many in its supporting cast have grown to be fan favorites among some, especially Audrey, Kida and Vinny in particular.