Atlantis: The Lost Empire

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Gary Trousdale, dir. Tab Murphy, Joss Whedon, script. Bryce Zabel, Jackie Zabel, story. Walt Disney Productions (prod.) / Buena Vista Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures (dist.), 2001. Michael J. Fox, Jim Varney; Corey Burton, Claudia Christian, James Garne, John Mahoney, Phil Morris, Leonard Nimoy, Don Novello, Jacqueline Obradors, Florence Stanley, David Ogden Stiers, Cree Summer, featured players. (From IMDb.)

Illustrates A. C. Clarke's "Third Law" that technology pushed far enough beyond our own is indistinguishable from magic: the power source and much of the technology of Atlantis seems magical and is imaged in ways hard to distinguish from Disney magic. Note esp. robots of awesome protective power that look rather like the Iron Giant (a k a Iron Man)—see Iron Giant—projecting a force-field dome, the power source associated with masks that commemorate dead kings and look totemic, and the flowing of power imaged in ways similar to the rejuvenation of the cybernetic wasteland that climaxes the Disney film Tron. A little surprisingly for a DisneyCorp film, Atlantis condemns at least extreme capitalist exploitation of technology and/or peoples and pictures Atlantis as a eutopia that took a wrong turn, but still a eutopia in terms of sensible, balanced uses of technology and power. (RDE, 17/06/01)