Disney+ is a whole ‘lotta nostalgia on one streaming service. While the platform has yet to provide enough exciting original content, it’s valuable for revisiting the company’s old classics and new favorites. There’s plenty of options. Today, we wanted to recommend two Disney animated movies that still don’t quite get their due, Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet.
A Trip to Atlantis
Released in 2001, Atlantis was a respectable and modest hit for Disney, but not exactly beloved by critics and audiences. It’s a Disney movie with such a great sense of adventure, though, similar to Treasure Planet. The movie presents an exciting new world with lavish visuals, charismatic characters, and most of the finest ingredients required for an adventure movie.
A Hunt for Knowledge
Even before Milo (voiced by Michael J. Fox) and his crew go on the underwater mission to discover a lost city, there’s mystery, excitement, and atmosphere. Something about those rainy nights at the beginning set up the underwater adventure nicely. The opening also sets up a great concept for a Disney movie: an adventure about the value of knowledge. It’s a Disney movie with a fantastic moral that champions the curious and damns the ignorant.
The Rest of the Journey
The animation remains timeless, in part because of the dazzling designs. Mike Mignola, who’s the artist known as the creator Hellboy, worked on the movie, and it still shows. Mignola’s fingerprints are all over the characters and world with a comic book style. Look at the villain (voiced by James Garner), a big military man who looks straight out of a comic book with his huge jaw and fists. Both the characters and the world offer up splendid eye candy. Atlantis: The Lost Empire has shades of Dances with Wolves and Avatar that don’t completely holdup, especially at the end, but overall, it’s a Disney thrill ride with heart and adventure, like the next movie we’re recommending.
The History of Treasure Planet
Treasure Planet is unfortunately famous for being a box-office bomb for Disney. It was a massive production and the most expensive animated film ever at the time. Helmed by Disney veterans, Ron Clements and John Musker (Moana), the picture cost $140 million or more to produce. Worldwide, Treasure Planet made just a hair short of $110 million. Still, the money remains on screen in a beautiful blend of hand-drawn and computer animation. It’s a mix of old and new school animation, which is perfect for the sci-fi take on Treasure Island.
An Epic Sci-Fi Movie
Like Atlantis, Treasure Planet is another Disney movie with such a huge sense of scale. With the environments and the camera moves, the scope is gigantic. Both Clements and Musker wanted to push the envelope and finally move the camera like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron in animation. Their inspiration shows in some thrilling set pieces with perfect pacing and clarity.
Why Treasure Planet Holds Up
Treasure Planet maybe isn’t one of the great Disney classics, but it’s one of their better offerings. Visually, it’s a dream, but the movie soars highest with the relationship between Jim Hawkins (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and John Silver (Brian Murphy). It’s a great father-son relationship with heart, betrayal, and a bittersweet ending. Their moments of bond and embrace carry real emotion. When Hawkins and Silver are on-screen together, Treasure Planet is one emotional piece of visually dazzling science-fiction.
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