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The Heart of Atlantis is an alien A.I.
To be precise, the Heart is a intelligent power source. Similar to the WMG below, the Heart is an empathic power generator, and is capable of intelligent thought. If some speculation is correct, and the Heart is actually alien tech, then in the crashlanding on Earth its systems would have been heavily damaged, capable of only utilizing ancient emotions and thoughts as a power source. That is why it needs a host, preferably one of royal descent. Being royals in such a society, they would know things a commoner wouldn't, therefore the Heart uses them like an updating software, allowing the Heart to assess the situation and direct its power towards where it is needed.

The Heart of Atlantis is the Disney Multiverse counterpart to the Blue Lantern Power Battery
Remember Kida's words of "All will be well"?The sentience within the crystal is Adara, the Hope Entity. The power allows for healing and longevity within the Atlantean citizens, though at the occasional requirement for a royal family member to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and temporarily house Adara for a massive job before becoming part of the blue energy.

The Heart of Alantis is the Gaia Eywa.
It is a "life force." It gives help and protection to the Atlantians. When they die, they ascend to it (Kida gets her lost bracelet from there.) However, the man mentioned at the start of the film "You've doomed us all," tried to attack it,(they killed their mother and the city sunk because of it. She did have enough kindess to let them live, but let the culture die. The rest of the world turned away from Gaia, and she was forgotten with Atlantis and replaced by other things people worshipped.

The Heart of Atlantis only chooses women of the royal family as its vessels/sacrifices.
And only the males of the royal family are carved into stone. They are the protectors of the feminine power that the Heart of Atlantis is comprised of.

Milo is Daniel Jackson
The movie begins in the distant past.Flash forward to the 20th century. Milo/Daniel, a young, poor, orphaned linguist, has uncovered evidence of the existence of a great civilization in the past, which was previously thought to be just a myth. Despite his success in deciphering the ancient language, his ideas are rejected by peers. However, a mysterious woman steps in and offers him a chance to prove his theory.Once Milo/Daniel meets the benefactor that the woman is working for, and explains his ideas, he is invited to join an expedition to where no man has gone before — a rag-tag team led by a straight, no-nonsense military man. Once they arrive to the destination from which they can possibly never return, they discover an underdeveloped, dying society that has abandoned and forgotten their written language — and Milo/Daniel becomes a translator between the two cultures. After the team realizes that getting back home will be much more difficult than they initially thought, Milo/Daniel is unjustly blamed for getting them stuck there.However, He is aided by the local leader's beautiful daughter, with whom he falls in love. She leads him to the ancient inscriptions that reveal the history of their civilization.Milo/Daniel's team rallies the locals to fight in a heated battle, during which the protagonists find a way to destroy the villain's ship without also wiping the city in the process. After the villain is defeated, the expedition returns home — but Milo chooses to stay behind, to learn the ways of the natives and to live Happily Ever After with his newfound love.


Written language in Atlantis was near-exclusively restricted to scribes or royalty
And those scribes were blinded or killed when Atlantis sunk. How else do you explain the ability to read entirely disappearing within a generation?
  • Non-royal Atlanteans living normal lifespans and the king outlawing various forms of education?

The crystal took away the Atlanteans' ability to read
The king says to Milo that "In my arrogance I sought to use it [the crystal] as a weapon." The crystal was incredibly pissed off by that, and so it decided to take away the Atlanteans' warmongering abilities. One of the things it did to accomplish this was to take away the Atlanteans' ability to read so that they would no longer be able to operate their war-machines, but instead would have had to rebuild their civilization's traditions and things from the ground up. If you have a machine that catches fish, but you don't know how to use it anymore, and you can't read the instruction manual, then you're going to have to spend more time learning how to catch fish a different way so you don't starve is my thinking. By the time Milo got to Atlantis, the people had shifted their priorities, and the crystal let them relearn how to read because they were no longer a war-race.note 

Only the royal family was made to live until they were Really 700 Years Old after the Maebelmac.
The civilians continued to age at a relatively normal rate for people who have no infection or permanent injury and a slight boost to their "don't fall apart after the quality of your copied cells starts to degrade" ability, and the royal family (having a direct connection to the crystal instead of merely living under its influence) got a version of the last ability that was imperfect but turned Up to Eleven. Learning of this is part of why Milo isn't worried about an immortal old coot running around the surface and being Crazy Awesome for too long, Who Wants to Live Forever? and the easy removability of the crystals notwithstanding.
  • Plus children are shown, which would make Atlantis grossly overpopulated if people had extremely long, nigh immortal lifespans.

All the Atlanteans turn white because of their age.
The processes that turn hair white take the same amount of time with Atlanteans as they do with us. If all of them age at the rate Kida does, than a year is something like 400 or 500 years. Considering a lot of people go white at 50 or 60, all the Atlanteans could easily go white before their first "year".
  • Except their hair is shown to be white in the prologue.

The Heart of Atlantis uses the crystals to absorb and store memories the people of Atlantis don't currently need.
That's why the thousands of years of memories don't drive them crazy, and also why they aren't a population of super-geniuses.

The Heart of Atlantis was the source of the Atlanteans' splendid linguistic ability.
You can't speak languages simply because they descended from yours. Native speakers of Latin would not be able to speak French, for example. But as the Atlantean empire grew and absorbed other nations, the Heart of Atlantis "learned" their languages, which allowed the Atlanteans to speak them. When it was locked away, the Atlanteans lost their ability to read because it was tied up with the Crystal, but retained their gift of tongues.

The Atlantaeans forgetting the their language and how to operate their machinery is a side effect from their longevity.
This article states that one of the reasons immortality would suck is that your ability to remember would degenerate the longer you live due to the sheer amount of information you would possess. Considering the Atlanteans are over eight thousand years old and the crystals likely prevent mental decay they subconsciously forget most of their memories with a few exceptions (remembering their names and what happened on the day Atlantis fell, for example). Skills they needed on a daily basis like hunting and crafting were retained through repetition, essentially relearning the skills over and over again while writing and machine operation fell to the wayside as unnecessary. This is why the Atlanteans became Experts when flying their craft in the final battle as they experienced mild deja vu while piloting their fish-craft. Their daily routine is probably so similar until the expedition arrives it all mashes into a single set of memories (wake up, hunt, make baskets and clothes, etc.)
  • This does assume non-royalty have the same nigh-immortal lifespans as Kida and the king, which is likely not the case.

There were other civilizations around the world as advanced and powerful as Atlantis.
The reason the king attempted to use the crystal as a weapon of war. This was a time when highly advanced empires like Atlantis ruled the Earth, and were bitter enemies. The explosion that destroyed Atlantis would only set off a series of events that would eventually wipe out the rest of the empires.
  • One of those highly advanced empires was the city of R'lyeh, whose god didn't take kindly to the Atlanteans attack on his city and washed it away.

The Atlanteans forgetting how to read their own language is a side effect of them all being so old.
Think about it. The human brain can only remember so much. If you were over eight thousand years old and in a stagnant culture, if you didn't practice it, you would lose to ability to read.

The death of the crew was planned by the Commander.
Because there's no way hundreds of people would turn a blind eye to his evil shenanigans and he wouldn't share with all of them. So he planned for all the nonessential to die.
  • Rourke didn't know that he would be doing anything worse than grave-robbing, and was legitimately sad after his crew died. That said, he likely would have killed them all if they protested the mission anyway.
  • Alternatively, Rourke didn't know about it, and the REASON he went so far on the evil end was due to the Leviathan attack. Perhaps witnessing 95% of his comrades, who had went with him in dozens of previous explorations, perish at the hands of the mechanical monstrosity, while he is the Captain of the Ulysses, is enough to drive Rourke into madness. Out of grief and revenge, Rourke would likely be even more determined to see to it without question that the people responsible for this atrocity (ie. the Atlanteans) are destroyed.

Milo was crazy and imagined the whole thing.
It explains why he was the only one IN THE FREAKING WORLD who was able to read Atlantean, as well as him ending up with a woman as beautiful as Kida, a princess no less, whom he had only just met. He's not a great savior, he's a Paranoid Schizophrenic with a God Complex.
  • Nah.

The Heart of Atlantis was given to the Atlanteans by the Precursor Race from Treasure Planet.
The race that built Treasure Planet is possibly one of the most advanced cultures in the Disney Animated Canon, so they could have made the Heart of Atlantis and either lost it on Earth, or they could have given it to the Atlanteans for some reason.

The U.S. Goverment wanted the Heart of Atlantis to use as a weapon
The movie takes place in 1914 the year world war one broke out in Europe historically America wanted to stay out of the war but was building up weapons just in case and to covertly give to England.
  • Except in 1914 the U.S., had it not been isolationist, would have been as likely to enter the war on Germany's side as England's...
    • And the expedition was funded privately and had no connection to the US government. They probably would sell it to the highest bidder.

The Atlanteans created Godzilla.
Well, rather created a precursor to Godzilla. Maybe, just maybe, they had several dinosaurs who were exposed to the Heart of Atlantis and those creatures would later mutate and grow in size, developing the ability to shoot blue streams of energy and heal wounds in a short matter of time, much like the smaller crystals the Atlanteans wear, either over a long period of time or through some nuclear reaction.
  • Godzilla created by Atlanteans? That sounds familiar....
  • They must've also created Gamera.

The Heart of Atlantis wants to rule the world (again)
At the beginning and the end of the movie, we see the amazing power of the Heart — a vast, ancient, no-longer-human intelligence made up of the intellects of Atlantis' past rulers, of which Kida is merely the newest and smallest part. So why did it meekly allow itself to be crated for transport to the surface? Maybe it wanted to go. Imagine the unveiling to the generals in Washington (or Berlin) of the new superweapon... which promptly declares itself God-Emperor and takes the city (despite the surprised and very brief resistance of the natives) to be the capital of perhaps... Neo-Atlantis?

The Heart of Atlantis wants to punish the world
Related to the above theory. The Heart allows itself to be taken by Rourke despite its incredible power. That's because the Heart has decided that this is the best way to protect Atlantis. Human technology has advanced to the point where some crude WWI-era gliders can shoot down Golden Age-era Atlantean vehicles, and the average Gas Mask Mook is better-armed than the Atlantean royal guard. Atlantis is too small and weak to fight a war, and even if this crop of raiders are killed, someone else with even better technology could find Atlantis by shear chance. So, the Heart will allow itself to be captured and brought to Rourke's buyers. The immortal entity will then unleash its full power and destroy the civilization that spawned Rourke and his invaders, and possibly all other contemporary civilizations, ensuring Atlantis's survival (presumably, the Heart has a plan to get back in time). However, circumstances change. The Heart is rescued, Rourke is killed, and a volcano is set off. The Heart, seeing Milo and the other mercenaries efforts to save Atlantis, may have decided that the modern world wasn't irredeemably evil and was content with hiding again. Or, the Heart realized that the volcano was an extinction event for Atlantis, and divine vengeance would have to wait.

Gaetan "The Mole" Moliere is actually Pig Pen from Peanuts.
Think about it. Pig Pen Had no name (everyone calls him Pig Pen) and Peanuts is populated by mentally ill geniuses: Lucy Van Pelt the sociopathic quack doctor that nevertheless knows a bit too much about psychiatry and manipulation for a kid her age and fell in love with the music genius Schroeder; Linus van Pelt the super strong and coordinated boy that memorized the Bible with photographic memory but believes in The Great Pumpkin and carries the blanket that he can use to slice off tree branches, hit coins in mid air and use as a sling David vs Goliath Style; Schroeder the music genius (I don't remember his mental illness); Peppermint Patty the athletic sports prodigy with learning disabilities and our favorite man Chuck Brown, whose genius is mostly hidden by his depression, but he did get the beat up natural Christmas tree instead of the aluminum one, meaning he is smarter than he-or others-give him credit for. This calls for and Atlantis/Peanuts crossover.
  • The Peanuts started up in the 1950s-60s. Atlantis is set in 1914, around 40 yeas before. Mole could be related to Pig Pen, like a father or an uncle.

The Kraken is an Avatar of Cthulhu.
It looks less like an actual squid or octopus for that matter and looks more like something out of the mind of H.P. Lovecraft. Not to mention it has the ability to control people. Oh and the tentacles. Lots and lots of tentacles.
  • Or it could just be another one of his spawn.

Rufus is a descendant of the named mole rats who raised Moliere
.That theory came into my mind when I read the You Do Not Want To Know trope and found out Moliere was raised by naked mole rats.

Rourke killed Milo's grandfather.
They never say exactly how Milo's grandfather died, just that he "died a broken man". Plus, it's revealed that Rourke tore out a page from the Shepherd's Journal, so it's likely that Rourke and the grandfather got into a fight over it. It's been shown that Rourke can punch hard enough to cause internal bleeding if the victim is elderly, so maybe Rourke punched Milo's grandfather, and, if his esophagus wasn't damaged, just claimed he had a heart attack. And since this was 1901, nobody was going to perform an autopsy that would reveal otherwise. (My older brother came up with the theory, but, unfortunately, I don't remember all of the points he made.)
  • Possible ways to fill in this theory: Thaddeus Thatch would have had a hard time containing himself discovering what he'd always dreamed of, and we know Rourke is an excellent actor to get what he wants. Thaddeus going on about the Heart of Atlantis and pouring over the journal would have told Rourke enough to tell him everything. Rourke also mentions that Milo shouldn't be like his grandfather before taking the Heart. We don't know where Thaddeus dies, and Whitmore's comment of "dying a broken man" only says that he lost his ultimate dream. In an isolated part of the world like Iceland, after a long and hard expedition to find the journal, Rourke could've easily engineered some accident of misstep that took Thaddeus out of the picture.
  • Other points to consider:
    • Thaddeus left the journal with Whitmore, wrapped up for delivery to Milo, "incase anything should happen to him." This would suggest that Thaddeus suspected his life might be in danger. Otherwise, why would a dedicated archaeologist wrap up and give away the one and only map to Atlantis, instead of studying it and deciphering it so that he could actually find the lost city?
    • The movie implies that the only useful information gleaned from the journal was translated by Milo (except for a loose summary of the missing page, which Rourke understood before Milo ever saw it). Whitmore didn't seem to know the pertinent details of how to get to the city until Milo was able to translate the journal. This would suggest that Thaddeus wasn't in possession of the journal for very long, otherwise he likely would've translated much of the journal and already provided Whitmore with the directions to the city.
    • It's strongly implied that Milo never lets the journal out of his sight once he acquires it. This would mean that Rourke would've had to remove the missing page before Thaddeus wrapped it up to give it to Whitmore. If this is the case, then Thaddeus would likely have noticed that the most important page of the book had gone missing. If he suspected Rourke, he probably would've confronted him about it, explaining why Rourke would've killed the old man.
    • As previously mentioned, Rourke warns Milo (at gunpoint, no less), to not "be like his grandfather" when they are discussing stealing the crystal from the atlanteans. It's strongly implied that Thaddeus's refusal to sell out like Rourke had unfortunate consequences for him - i.e. resulted in his murder. The tone of the conversation also suggests that Rourke had this exact same argument with Thaddeus, about selling the crystal on the black market.

Mole was the one who took the L from the "Motor Pool" sign.
He's been established to be a prankster, so it sounds like something he would do.
  • "Ha, ha, we're all very amused."

The Heart of Atlantis is...
A experiment of the Incubators. It is the Atlanteans' power, and it could be that all the dead Atlanteans don't die, but get absorbed into the crystal and their collective conscience is it's alien thought process, and perhaps the altered perception of a witch or three. The little mini-crystals are their soul gems, they glow and they dimmed when the life force of the city left. But somehow different, as they are not a Soul Jar, as the old man gave Milo his, and the old billionaire obtained one when he didn't even go. Maybe Kyuubey was messing around over there. When the light turns red, someone witched out, and they need a Puella Magi of some sorts to be absorbed into it to kill it or something.
  • It's likely that it was the experiment of some other Incubator far back in human history, possibly an attempt at creating a perpetual-motion machine in a "cage" where absorbed souls exist in a kind of limbo, theoretically allowing them to generate energy forever. The process is contrary to how human souls are meant to be and the Incubators didn't understand that, but were aware that something wasn't working right. The individual crystals were an attempt to patch the flaw, siphoning small amounts of "fresh" energy from still-active souls to hopefully balance the "stagnant" energy generated by captured souls; as a result the Atlanteans received minor versions of a soul gem's benefits, i.e. enhanced physical abilities and healing. Inevitably Entropy crept in and the accumulating despair of the souls within the Heart weakened the crystal, essentially forming one massive composite witch. The Heart partially neutered the witch, preventing it from manifesting physically or forming a Barrier, but they were still capable of sinking Atlantis: The only way of ending the rampage is by having the equivalent of a Puella Magi absorbed into the Heart, using her wish to calm the souls within. Young girls are the best candidates to become Puella Magi, so when Kida's mother was forced to enter the Heart it absorbed her soul completely; Kida, being far younger (if not chronologically) and possessing a brighter soul (she's still spirited and curious even after thousands of years), was able to avoid losing herself. Of course, for the Incubators, this turned out to be a dead end and they returned to their standard method of harvesting energy.

Mr. Harcourt is Cogsworth.
Being turned back into humans caused the servants in Beauty and the Beast to become immortal. A few centuries after the events of that film, Cogsworth moved to America, where he changed his name and become the head of the museum. Why do I think this? Not only do they have the same voice actor, but they look and behave really similar as well.

Rourke is an Objectivist.
He calls himself a 'venture capitalist', is a Social Darwinist-style of sociopath, and sees nothing bad in killing off an entire civilization if he can make some extra money, weird that he doesn't work for Rapture.
  • Rourke is an extremely practical man clearly looking forward to the worldly benefits of having (and selling) the Heart of Atlantis. The closed-circuit society of Rapture would hold little attraction for him, especially given how accustomed he's likely become to constant travel after years of mercenary work. Rourke might make a good agent on the surface if Rapture wasn't too paranoid (and then too decrepit) to have them.

Atlantis is the last remnant of Beleriand.
Tolkien's basic arc of Middle Earth was that magic decreases as a function of time, transforming his wondrous world of Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Hobbits into our modern world over the course of thousands of years. And we know that Beleriand was destroyed thousands of years before the time period of Lord of the Rings, and sank beneath the waves. This is the catastrophic tsunami that we see at the beginning of the first Atlantis film. Atlantis was only saved from the rest of Beleriand's fate by the Heart of Atlantis and the queen joining together to save the city from the fury of the Valar. And through the Second Age, Third, Fourth, and all the intervening Ages from the War of Wrath to the First World War, Atlantis sat beneath what became the Atlantic Ocean, slowly crumbing. Whether the Atlanteans were Elves, Men, or a mix of both, I don't know.

Rourke was going to kill everyone if they left Atlantis with him.
Milo's friends did not only do the right thing by staying behind with him in Atlantis as Rourke's plan to steal the crystal was wrong but also their lives as well. In other words if the gang left with Rourke to sell the crystal Rourke out of greed would had killed them to take the credit and money for himself. For example despite Helga remaining loyal to Rourke he threw her off the balloon during the climax. It could be implied Rourke simply relayed on the gang just so he can get to Atlantis and steal the crystal. So basically he took advantage of the jobs Milo and everyone else did to get what he wanted. In other words by hiring Milo as a translator, Audrey as an engineer, Vinny as a dynamite expert and Mole as a digger they would get to their destination. If the gang betrayed Milo they would had all been killed and not earn their share of the money. Although Sweet was the first to turn against Rourke he along with Milo would had also died if the others left as it was implied Rourke not only decided to leave Milo behind to be 'part of the exhibit' but Sweet as well and Rourke even told him to put a 'bandage on his bleeding heart of his' after he punched the King.

The Heart of Atlantis is the Heart of the World. (Obvious, in hindsight.)
However, due to it being used as a weapon, as well as the nature of the Atlantean Crystals, it ended up developing a mind of its own. (It also does not like Keyblade Wielders. At all. Keyblade Wielders caused the war that sank Atlantis, and The Heart will not allow them to return, lest they destroy the kingdom it protects.)

Whitmore was dying.
Though he looked healthy and could dress quickly and walk quickly for an old man Whitmore was actually dying of old age. Even though he is not ailing he gave an hint he did not have long to live when he tells the picture of Milo's late grandfather he was 'Going into the afterlife with that conscience by thunder'. Plus when we see Milo's sad looking face after Whitmore says that it seems to imply Milo has discovered Whitmore is dying. This would explain why Whitmore wanted Milo to find Atlantis because he promised Milo's grandfather Atlantis would be discovered before he died. So once he knew he had not long to live Whitmore arranged for Milo to lead the expidention to Atlantis. Milo at the end of the film sent a crystal to Whitmore which can keep him alive a little while longer after discovering the crystals help keep people alive.

Milo's grandfather was thought of as crazy.
Before he died Milo's grandfather was treated like Belle's father Maurice by being deemed 'crazy' by the board of directors. Milo's boss even did a loony looking face implying Milo's late relative was thought of as a lunatic and that he should be locked up in an asylum and just like Belle Milo was also considered to be a funny person by the directors as well.

The route to Atlantis begins somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle.
Ships and planes disappearing in the Triangle are destroyed by the Leviathan.
  • Sort of makes sense poetically, but how on Earth would the Leviathan bring down an airplane? It seems to be confined to the ocean and its surface.

Rourke and Helga were romantically involved
Come on I can’t be the only one who got that sense. She only turned against him when he tossed her overboard.

The Heart of Atlantis is an Isu artifact.
Along with the rest of the Atlantean's magic artifacts. Likely a group of survivors from the Great Catastrophe found an Isu cache of some sort and immediately began using it to found their own civilization. Unfortunately for them, they eventually took things too far and probably set off the Precursor equivalent to a nuke and accidentally buried their own nation.

Commander Rourke is based on Michael Eisner
They're both very similar in the face/hair and when you boil down rourke's plan he's a greedy capitalist who wants to steal magic from the world and sell it.It certainly makes the fact that rourke is by far the tallest character in the movie funnier in hindsight.

The loss of literacy and use of most technology was intentional
Given the destruction of most of their civilisation as a direct result it would make sense if there was a strong anti intellectualism movement with the king banning it's use or teaching entirely. Centuries without using a skill could lead to the details being forgotten even if the Atlanteans did want to start using them again.

The crystal shards retain Rourke's consciousness
After getting transformed, not even being shattered saves Rourke's from punishment by the Heart of Atlantis. His shattered remains still contain his consciosness.

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