A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie contains some sophisticated subject matter -- even for a Disney production. In addition to the usual mysticism and magic that typify such releases, there's a fair amount of mythology, history, and references to cultural viewpoints that may or may not hold true in today's world. Consequently, it's important for kids to understand the historical basis for many of the legends and religious references the cartoon contains.
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What's the story?
In ATLANTIS: MILO'S RETURN, Milo and his friends set out from Atlantis to look into strange things happening around the world. Their globetrotting takes them from Iceland to the southwest U.S. deserts, and the team barely manages to stay a step ahead of tentacled monsters and evil spirits as they investigate archeological mysteries. Eventually, Kida discovers a link to her father and the vital Atlantean Crystal, and the key to raising Atlantis from the ocean depths.
Is it any good?
This sequel operates on several levels, with varying degrees of success. The movie is steeped in classical folklore from the Nordic gods to the biblical Leviathan, but the references lack context. Adding to the confusion are three separate adventures with one overriding theme of light conquering darkness (which may be interpreted a variety of ways) -- which makes for sophisticated viewing that may not be appropriate for the movie's intended audience. The movie makes up for its cluttered plot with old-fashioned, unrestrained action.
Younger children may squirm at the intense scenes with hypnosis, summoning of other-worldly spirits, destruction, and end-of-all-there-is Judgment Day talk. Older children may be puzzled at Kida's personal quest to justify the release of Atlantis magic that is in some way responsible for all of the madness -- while restoring her father's good name and faith in mankind. But nearly every child will delight in the thrill of the chase, the rush of action scenes, and the beaming smiles on every face of the final scene's closing shot.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the basis for the varying myths portrayed as reality here. If correctly addressed, the movie could serve as a springboard for a lifelong appreciation of learning about ancient and contemporary world history. Also, a thorough analysis of some of the motives driving the characters, (particularly the insidious antique collector Carnaby and the Atlantis princess Kida), may expose children to the depths of thought and responsibility they'll soon encounter as adults.
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