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Fridge / Atlantis: The Lost Empire

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As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Fridge Brilliance

  • Milo tells Mr. Whitmore that he would stake everything he owns that the Shepherd's Journal is the real thing. When you learn Mr. Whitmore had Milo's stuff in storage before he even agreed to find Atlantis, it turns out this is true. If Milo had Refused the Call, he would've returned to an empty home where his stuff was packed away.
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  • Why are the fireflies near the bridge more aggressive than the ones in Atlantis? Because the fireflies in Atlantis are in closer approximation to the crystal, making them significantly more benign.
  • Multiple Leviathans are seen flying about in the opening scene, but what in the pre-Bronze Age world would Atlantis need such massive war machines to fight against? How about the Kraken, seen in the sequel? Which would mean that the blast we see was Atlantis's attempt to destroy the thing? Maybe there were more than one. Or if one of the theories on the WMG page is to be believed, they were at war with R'lyeh.
  • Kida's full name, Kidagakash, isn't that hard to pronounce. But Milo, an expert linguist who is fluent in Atlantean, gets his tongue tied trying to pronounce it. It's not his fault; he's just Distracted by the Sexy to the point where foreign languages, which normally come naturally to him, start to trip him up.
    • Plus, only a few minutes before that Kida had called Milo's pronunciations "boorish [and] provincial." Even if he could fluently speak Atlantean out loud normally—which we see he can't, when he meets Kida, likely because he (and everyone else) assumed there were no surviving native speakers and therefore would be no real need or opportunity to practice—he's just had a girl he clearly has an instant crush on tell him that he's butchering her native language (an especially painful blow to a dedicated linguist, even without the crush). So he's second-guessing his pronunciation, which he might ordinarily be confident in.
  • The king of Atlantis appears to be blind. When Atlantis was sinking, he told Kida to close her eyes and look away, but kept looking at the crystal as it got brighter. It's likely the flash that it produced making the shield that saved the rest of the city was responsible for taking his sight.
    • borders on Tearjerker when you realise that he did that so he would see his wife for one last time before she was lost in the crystal.
    • Confirmed by Word of God, who thought they didn't make this apparent enough.
  • At first, one wonders how the King of Atlantis knew that Rourke had a weapon on him if he was blind. But then later, you learn the king had long ago tried to harness the crystal as a weapon. He knew Rourke brought weapons because in his position, he would've brought them too. Crosses into Fridge Horror once it dawns on you that Rourke is the king's Shadow Archetype to some extent.
    • Additionally, the king is blind, not deaf. When Rourke speaks to him, Kashekim can tell from the tone of these strangers' leader that he's proud and likely of a military background, so Rourke's claim that they're peaceful explorers and men of science isn't plausible. No wise person, least of all a military leader, would venture all this way to Atlantis unarmed.
    • And of course - Kashekim himself was a warmonger at one point. He probably sees himself in Rourke.
  • Fridge-Awesome: Milo leading the people of Atlantis to retrieve crystal!Kida from Rourke takes on a touch of epic when one thinks back to the beginning of the journey. Back then, Milo's incompetence with the truck (and innocently playing with the horn) is meant to establish how out of place he is with the surface world. As opposed to that scene, Milo re-teaching the Atlanteans on how to use their own flying machines not only shows him in his element, but also foreshadows his ultimate fate in remaining in Atlantis where he takes to it like a fish to water.
    • Heck, his knowing how to turn on and drive an Atlantean flying machine (which resembles fish) is until itself a Stealth Pun for the saying "like a fish to water".
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  • It seems as though Milo's friends are Karma Houdinis for not only going along with Rourke's plan (at first) and getting the King of Atlantis killed in the process. But there's a potential reason why the Atlanteans don't even begrudge them at the end of the day. It was one thing to turn on Rourke and side with Milo. It was another thing to do so knowing they would eventually die there alongside the doomed Atlanteans. And assuming they all understand English, it's possible Vinnie's speech about where they drew the line could've easily helped paint Milo's crew as flawed people willing to make up for what they did. Add that they fought Rourke's crew alongside the Atlanteans, and no doubt the Atalanteans would be understandably quick to forgive them.
  • The King's internal injury would probably not have been fatal - except, of course, that the crystal that powers all the smaller stones' healing power has been taken.
    • His death is meant to signify what's at stake for the rest of the Atlanteans if the crystal isn't returned.
  • Atlantis is in ruins, as Kida often brings up. Just compare the preserved safe area that was protected from the wave in the prologue to the city during the remainder of the story. Atlantis is still so flooded, Milo and Kida have to swim through uninhabitable parts. It begs the question as to why no one tried to repair the buildings. It's not a stretch to think that after the Crystal was sealed in the chamber, the power keeping the city functioning weakened to the point where they could no longer operate the technology to make big repairs and were forced to abandon large parts of the city as they flooded or collapsed over the years.
  • When Milo gives his "it's all about money, huh?" chastisement, all of his friends are in the middle of leaving him behind in Atlantis to die with the Atlanteans, and are subsequently convinced to instead do the right thing because of his speech. They're seen actively changing their minds and walking over to stand with Milo. Except for Sweet. As seen, only moments later, Sweet has been inside the palace tending to the dying king, not among the other mercenaries even though he had originally been part of their plan. The crew is clearly only seconds from driving away before being convinced by Milo, so it can be assumed that they fully intended to leave Sweet behind too. Which can only mean that Sweet had a Heel–Face Turn even before Milo's speech, most likely right when Rourke punched the king and he immediately tried to help him, saying, "This was not part of the plan." All it took was hurting one defenseless old man to make him forget all about the countless riches he could have had, his nature as a doctor prevailing over all. And that's awesome.
  • It seems strange that the Atlanteans can speak just about every language under the sun and then some, but can't read their own. However, when a human learns their primary language, it's spoken first, and reading comes later. The king notes that Atlantis was at war with other countries, implying that other languages had developed even before Atlantis sank. Among the crystals' blessings seems to be a preservation of mind, given that 8000 years would take its toll on a human mind. Taking into account the arguments on reading a couple sections down, it's possible that the crystals have preserved their knowledge of spoken language, but lack of using the written language has caused those skills to atrophy.
  • When the toddler Kida loses her toy at the beginning of the movie, as they flee the incoming destruction, her mother says not to go back to get it because there's no time. She kneels on the ground, calmly and slowly explains this to her daughter, and takes several more seconds than it would have taken for Kida to actually dash back and grab her toy. She prioritizes reassuring her daughter because she knows this may be goodbye.
  • In regards to Rourke having the missing page from the Shepherd's Journal the whole time, listen to what he says when he first meets Milo: "See you've got the journal there. Nice pictures." He not only read the journal, but saw that missing page. He must've had it since Iceland.
  • Sweet telling Milo that "when you hit bottom, the only place left to go is up" isn't appropriate only in the sense of inspiring determination. It also means that there's still a chance to stop the bad guys; because Milo set the camp on fire and had the whole crew dropped down a chasm (as Sweet replies to Milo's sarcastic question if he forgot to mention any more of his mistakes), they got trapped in the bowels of a dormant volcano and discovered that the only possible escape route is to blow a hole at the top of the volcano. There's literally no way but up, and only by using the hot air balloon (which was already seen among the models of the expedition's vehicles) could the container holding the crystallized Kida be transported that way. Realizing this and remembering that they have access to Atlantean aircrafts, which he and Kida have already discovered how to active with the help of crystals, Milo is granted a rough plan on how to stop Rourke.
    • It's never clarified how Rourke originally planned to return to the surface with the Crystal (trying to use the only remaining escape pod of the Ulysses while the Leviathan is still out there would be suicide), but by having him left with literally no way but up, Milo's blunder of angering the fireflies may not have been completely disastrous in the end if it meant there was a way to stop Rourke.
  • Why did the crew say that there is nothing but ruins right in front of Mr. Whitmore who is going through pictures of them riding Atlantean war machines? They aren't saying that to him. They are likely rehearsing their cover story for the press and the archaeological world while trusting him with the truth!

Fridge Horror

  • A blink-and-you'll-miss-it example. As the sub is filling with water, Audrey slams the door on at least two fellow engineers. Without that engine door closed, more of the sub would have been flooded, and more lives would be lost. Either way, those engineers died knowing that Audrey had left them behind to die, greater good or not.
  • Or the fact that the Atlantis they found was only a small portion of the whole continent, or even the original capital.
  • Most of the Atlanteans are most likely hundreds of years old, and it's heavily implied that this long age is granted to them via the giant crystal under their city. It's certainly proven that the crystal is all that keeps them alive. Now, if Rourke had succeeded in stealing it, what exactly would have happened? Everyone would have aged to dust? Or would everyone have just fallen over dead?
    • Maybe they'd just start aging normally from that point? Still Fridge Horror since because they normally live for a very long time, they're not prepared to have children at a population sustaining rate for their new lifespans, including at best a 40 year window for the women.
    • It's never stated or implied Atlanteans of non-royal blood have the same aging process as royalty. Children are seen in Atlantis, so they're clearly still having children at a population sustaining rate. It makes sense for only the royalty to age extremely slowly, since the crystal needs them and if the commoners are still having children without eventually passing on, Atlantis would be grossly overpopulated.
      • Furthermore, during Kida’s argument with her father, she says that the Atlanteans don’t remember a time from before the city was in ruins, so it’s likely the average Atlantean doesn’t live as long as she and her father did.
  • Milo's surface life is effectively ended before he leaves on the mission: his books are in storage, his clothes are packed, and his resignation has been sent. It's implied he has little to no relationships, so that's fine, too. But he never sees his cat again. Either Audrey or Whitmore adopts the cat, since it's sitting on her lap in the last scene in Whitmore's house.
  • Before he dies, the King of Atlantis gravely warns Rourke and his crew about taking the (very angry) God crystal. We find out why when Rourke gets cut by a crystal shard. Had Kida/the Crystal reached the surface, countless others might have suffered this fate.
  • The king says that the reason the city sank was because he tried to weaponize the crystal. How it would work is never shown, but whatever it did caused a mushroom cloud and a tsunami. Now consider that this movie takes place in 1914 and the first World War had just begun...
    • Helga subtly Lampshades this when talking about the crystal's unequaled power. "I can think of a few countries who'd pay anything to find out..."
    • And on that note, think about how the Crystal reacts when it senses evil or danger, as well as the uncalculated amount of power it possesses. Given the King's warning, and how Crystal!Kida just seems to allow herself to be captured, what if she was planning to obliterate the crew, along with a good chunk of the western coast, once they reached the surface?
    • Another one involving the crystal. Just who, or what, were the Atlanteans fighting that the King felt it necessary to try and weaponize the Heart of Atlantis to begin with?! If the King was considering that, then whoever they were fighting must've been bad.
      • Alternately, the Atlanteans were the bad ones in that equation, with the conflict being a war of conquest. Aside from making Atlantis' destruction an almost literal example of Laser-Guided Karma, it would also explain the King's weary, apathetic attitude: In addition to thousands of years of ennui, there's the knowledge that his ambition destroyed most of his people, took his wife from their family, and condemned their daughter and remaining subjects to an extremely drawn-out extinction in what amounts to a small tank in the ocean.
  • The Leviathan is still functional somewhere out there deep in the ocean, and it's also implied from the beginning of the film that it might not be the only one out there. If Milo and the Atlanteans can't figure out a way to control it, it would be a nightmare for seafarers or deep sea explorers everywhere, both during the film's time period and in its future.
    • Not to mention, also think about what we saw in the opening flashback. There are multiple counts of this monstrosity. This gives us many questions: Are there other Leviathans operational elsewhere? Why is there a need for so many advanced weapons in an age where the greatest known armies can only throw spears and rocks at best? Why would the king need to weaponise the crystal? Are there other similarly advanced civilisations we don't know about at that time?
  • A minor one, but the king mentions that once Kida would have slain the trespassers on sight. How does he know?
  • At the end, every named member of the crew (and Whitmore) has an Atlantean crystal necklace with them. The crystal necklaces are what slows down the aging process for the Atlanteans, so does that mean they're now effectively immortal (at least, compared to normal humans)? And unlike Milo, most of them still have family on the surface...
    • Even assuming that the extended lifespans aren't limited to Atlantean royalty, the Heart of Atlantis apparently doesn't have much of a range: When Rourke took it out of the city, the King died from a wound he probably would have otherwise survived. The distance between Atlantis and the surface is probably far too big for the smaller crystals to draw any power from the Heart, so all the crew (and Whitmore) have are sparkly mementos with a really neat story. Even if you take the sequel movie as canon, if they really don't want the effects of the crystals, they can just take them off.
  • Even though it’s very horrible, it’s probably a good thing that the Leviathan killed most of the the Ulysses crew. The survivors are all on Rourke’s payroll, and just a couple dozen bad guys almost brought doom to Atlantis and Milo and his friends barely managed to stop them. If more crew had survived and they were all on Rourke’s payroll, Atlantis would’ve been completely overwhelmed.
  • In the first hours of the expedition, Milo tells Rourke not to worry about the Leviathan mentioned in the Shepherd's Journal, as it's "more likely a carving, or a sculpture, to frighten the superstitious." Boy oh boy was he wrong.
  • Sweet showing Milo a saw was how limbs were amputated back in 1914. In those days the only treatment of infected limbs like gangrene was amputation.

Fridge Logic

  • Generally knowledge becomes lost because those who had it die out without passing it on. The Atlanteans are effectively immortal. What, everyone forgot how to read? Why?
    • Wrath of the Gods?
    • Probably out of fear of the same knowledge and technology that destroyed their civilizations. Likely the King suppressed all forms of knowledge for fear that some upstart could discover the secret of the Heart of Atlantis and cause yet another disaster. Therefore, the Atlantis that we see is losing all knowledge of its own cultural identity, its people are kept blissfully ignorant of their own cultural identity, and very likely have forgotten, or never even learnt, how to read in the nearly 9000 years since the flood.
    • The royal Atlanteans are effectively immortal, aging extremely slowly and having extremely long lifespans, presumably because the crystal needs them, but the commoners are never stated or implied to be the same. Besides, Atlantis would be grossly overpopulated if that were the case, since Atlantean children are shown. Also, Kida was very young when Atlantis sank, so it's possible she never learned to read while the rest of Atlantis forgot over generations, and it's no stretch the king made decrees which Kida was too young to remember.
  • How could Rourke have known which page of the Shepard's Journal, that contains the exact details of the "Heart of Atlantis", to tear out if Milo's the one that can read Atlantean?
    • Illustrations on the page?
      • Agreed. That page had a great big shiny star-diamond thing on it that took up almost half the illustration. It's not hard to figure that's the most important moneymaker in the quest.
    • Milo didn't learn Atlantean in a vacuum — his grandfather, Rourke's old companion from the Iceland expedition, taught it to him. There's every possibility the elder Thatcher inadvertently told Rourke of the importance of that section of the journal.
  • When Milo slides off the blackboard at the beginning to take care of the boiler, the chalk stays on. But when he slides off the second time, he indeed does clean it off.
  • So the movie needs a group of heroes for the finale, but is it not out of character that the mercenaries are suddenly squeamish about making the biggest payday of their lives? How is killing people not part and parcel of a mercenary expedition like this? Did they not ever expect to kill anyone as mercenaries?
    • Probably because it involves mass genocide instead of open combat or grave robbery of a long dead civilization.
    • Even most mercenary companies, who accept that they will be killing enemy soldiers just to get rich, generally recognize that it's not right to strand non-combatants in a situation that will inevitably kill them. Even Evil Has Standards / Everyone Has Standards is pretty common for a reason.
    • Not to mention that when they are received by the Atlanteans, Helga says that there weren't supposed to be people in Atlantis and that that changes everything for the operation. She even looks a bit unpleased when Rourke just says it will all remain the same.
    • Given Vinny's Kirk Summation to Rourke, and Milo's attitude when he calls Rourke a mercenary, it's entirely possible that's just an insult. The majority of the group seems to be glorified thieves rather than actual guns for hire.
  • Kida mentions to her father that the previous kings would weep if they could see how Atlantis has fallen, and later she falls to her knees to pray to their stones around the Crystal. But, Kida's 8500 - 8800 years old and she looks like she's in her late teens - early twenties - how old is her dad? And how old were "the kings of our past" - how long has Atlantis been around?!?!
    • King Kashekim is apparently about 27,000 years old, according to official material, and there's eight or so carved faces around the crystal. Assuming they're all previous kings, and lived as long as Kashekim... Something tells me that after Atlantis surfaces in the sequel, the history of the evolution of man is going to need a little reworking...
    • There's nothing that says the other kings had the same longevity. Some of them must pre-date the crystal itself at the very least. Others may have died in battle, Atlantis being notoriously belligerent. There's just not enough details to assume that Atlantis itself is hundreds of thousands of years old.
  • Why did the Crystal even need a person to fuse with? Especially the second time, when fusing with Kida only made the situation worse by making the Crystal able to be captured (it didn't even fight back or anything). And why did the Crystal give back Kida at the end, when it didn't give back her mother? Why didn't it give back her mother?
    • Her mother was connected to it for too long. The king said that if "Kida remains bonded to the crystal for too long, she will be lost to it... Forever." So presumably her mom was just bonded to it for a bit too long when it sank the city and the crystal just absorbed her.
    • That, and with Kida, all it needed to do was turn on the shield. With her mother, it had to turn on the shield, sink the city, create an air bubble in the upper mantle, AND generate an endless supply of fresh, drinkable water. Logically, the latter would require a lot more power than just activating the guardians for the shield.