Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Atlantis: The Lost Empire Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Entertaining but intense adventure for tweens and up.
  • PG
  • 2001
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 22 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The movie is intended to entertain rather than educate. The myth of Atlantis is sure to be intriguing to kids, but some clarification might be needed in terms of its true place in history.

Positive Messages

Though Milo is trying to save a culture that's been living in peace for centuries, his colleagues have no problem destroying the city and its inhabitants for the sake of material gain. There are examples of both multicultural teamwork and greedy, violent behavior.

Positive Role Models

While Milo is a positive character who's doing his best to preserve a culture, Rourke starts out as a strong leader but in the end is shown to be a ruthless mercenary who cares very little about human worth. The explorers hire Milo under the pretext that they're finding Atlantis for adventure's sake, but they're really in it for the money, which causes them to betray Milo and the people of Atlantis.

Violence & Scariness

Edgier and darker than much Disney fare. There are apocalyptic scenes of mass destruction and large weapon caches, which include dynamite, nitroglycerin, machine guns, various hand guns, grenades, torpedoes, and more. All of these weapons are used at various points of the movie. Hundreds of shipmates are killed when they suffer an attack by a giant monster. Rourke punches the village elder and ultimately causes his death. Lots of explosions, a fight with an ax, a bad guy is chopped up by a blade, and there's an attempt to commit genocide.

Sexy Stuff

Revealing clothes worn by some female characters make the males bashful. Talk by an older woman of sleeping in the nude.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mr. Whitmore drinks two martinis in succession after doing yoga. A character chain smokes. Joke about whiskey.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is scarier and more intense than much Disney animated fare, with larger-than-life scenes of mass destruction (by crushing tidal wave, sea monsters, molten lava, and more). There are also lots of dive-bombing planes and guns, a huge robot monster, fire, and the deaths of hundreds of anonymous sailors. Characters are mean to each other, and some betray each other. Major characters are in peril, and some are killed. One character is a chain-smoker, and there are jokes about whiskey and sleeping in the nude.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDragonsketcher1912 November 24, 2014

Why wouldn't you watch this?!?!

I honestly don't understand what people's problems are with this movie! The characters are interesting and memorable, it's got a good, is somewha... Continue reading
Adult Written bymovie-watcher girl August 23, 2014

Pretty Good

The animation makes the movie look like a cartoon rather than a Disney film. And there are no songs. There is massive destruction, a lot of shooting and stuff... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byGinnyOnFire April 27, 2020

This is amazing and people who say otherwise burn.

What is it with people saying Kida's clothes are too revealing? A) Men in this film are often shirtless and there's a scene where Milo's just in... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byashleytales August 8, 2012

Nothing wrong with it

When I saw this movie, I saw the candle lit in the honor of the deaths and was CONFUSED. I had no idea that people died. I wasn't even sure why they did th... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this action-packed animated adventure, scholar and linguist Milo Thatch (voiced by Michael J. Fox) dreams of finding the lost city of Atlantis, which had been his grandfather's quest. A wealthy friend of his grandfather's offers to fund an expedition, and Milo sets off on a submarine led by Commander Lyle T. Rourke (James Garner). The expedition culminates in a ferocious battle with the monstrous Leviathan, which destroys the ship and kills most of the crew. The survivors face obstacles but finally make it to Atlantis, where they meet Princess Kida (Cree Summer). She wants to make friends with the strangers, but her father wants them killed so that no one else will find Atlantis. Can Milo find a way to save what's become his real home?

Is it any good?

Disney departs from its traditional animation formula with this nonmusical, intense action adventure about the search for the legendary city that mysteriously disappeared in ancient times. Fox appealingly provides Milo's voice, and the movie does a good job of showing a diverse group of characters working well together -- plus, there are both male and female good guys and bad guys.

But parents should know that this is a decidedly different Disney animated feature -- it's rated PG for violence, and it earns that rating. There are many intense action scenes, the characters are mean to each other, and some are killed. One character chain smokes, and there are jokes about whiskey and sleeping in the nude.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the action violence in this movie compares to other animated movies. Does it seem more intense? What if it was live action?

  • An anachronism is something appearing in a time different from the one it belongs to (i.e. a phone showing up in a movie set in ancient Greece). Are there anachronisms in this movie? Does that bother you?

  • Kids might want to learn more about the legends of Atlantis and read about the Greek Island of Santorini, which may be the source for some of them.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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Themes & Topics

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