a critiQal film review Atlantis: Milo’s Return (2002)

Plot: With the rebuilding of Atlantis well under way, Queen Kida (Summer) and Milo (Taylor) are paid a surprise visit by some old friends: Whitmore (Mahoney), Audrey (Obradors), Vinny (Novello), Mole (Burton) and Sweet (Morris). They warn of mysterious occurrences on the surface world that seem to relate to lost Atlantean artifacts. Kida and Milo decide to journey with them and see if they can help. With everything from a Kraken to an ice giant ahead of them, will they be able to survive?

Reviewed
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  • ...this straight-to-video sequel, strangely, has lots of parallels to the classic cartoon "Scooby-Doo" - but not many to Atlantis.

Disney seems to be getting quicker at making sequels. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) just came out a few years ago, and here is Atlantis: Milo’s Return, the direct-to-DVD sequel already! (Don’t think that’s fast enough? The sequel to last year’s Lilo & Stitch (2002), Stitch! The Movie (2003), is coming this summer!) With the slew of direct-to-DVD sequels Disney has been popping out lately, one question is raised: are they any good, or is it just a money-making scheme by Disney?

A major flaw with most of these Disney sequels is the voice changes, and the same is true for Atlantis: Milo’s Return. Milo, now being voiced by James Taylor (no, not that James Taylor) instead of Michael J. Fox, is the big change. It’s a bit annoying, since the viewer remembers Michael J. Fox’s voice coming from Milo in the original (“Carrots? I didn’t even eat carrots..”), and this guy just seems to be a cheap imitation.

Surprisingly enough, that voice is the only noticeable change. All of the other characters seem to be the same voices, which does help increase the relationship to the first film for the viewer, and helps override the annoyance with Milo’s new voice.

The plot is a bit of a disappointment. It seems more like three episodes of “Scooby Doo, Where Are You!” (TV) with the Atlantean gang, rather then a continuation of the first film. The three pieces, right down to the foggy village and the creepy old guy (in the first segment) are so reminiscent of “Scooby Doo, Where Are You!” (TV), the viewer may keep waiting for the creepy old guy to spout the famous line: “I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids and that dog” (or something along those lines). Rather then Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy with Scooby, it’s Milo, Kida, Audrey and Mole with a lava dog. Seeing the similarities yet?

Atlantis: Milo’s Return seems like three episodes so much, the viewer may be at a loss to see how they all tie together in the end. When the film does finally wrap up, it seems a little too pat and perfect, and not very believable with the storyline. Sure, it does wrap up Kida’s indecisiveness about what to do with the crystal of Atlantis, but that’s about it. Atlantis: Milo’s Return doesn’t really explain the power behind the Kraken or the Sand Coyotes. They just seem to be little episodes along the way. The gang gets through them, then forgets about them as another mystery begins to unravel.

The animation, compared to Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), is lacking tremendously. While the average person can’t draw this well, it’s definitely not up to the standard most feature Disney films are judged by, by far. It’s a bit disappointing, but also expected with straight-to-DVD videos like Milo’s Return.

All in all, it’s nice to see the Atlantis gang back together again, but it’s hard to relate this film to the first. It’s fun to see the Atlantean gang in “Scooby Doo, Where Are You!” (TV)-like adventures, but it varies so much from the first film, it’s hard to call it a sequel.

It’s got the same characters (although Milo is voiced by someone other than Michael J. Fox this time around), but they should have called it Milo’s Further Adventures or something like that. Milo’s Return seems to imply more of a continuation of the first film, which it definitely isn’t.

If you like renting the “Scooby Doo, Where Are You!” (TV) series, you’ll get a kick out of Atlantis: Milo’s Return. Otherwise, this direct-to-video sequel isn’t worth it.

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