Atlantis Planet is a 2005 American traditionally animated action-adventure film created by Walt Disney Feature Animation—the second fantasy science fiction film in Disney's animated features canon and the 46th overall. Written by Tab Murphy, Brian Pimental, Jeanne Rosenberg, and Alicia Kirk, directed by Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, Ron Clements, and John Musker, and produced by Don Hahn, the film features an ensemble cast with the voices of Pete Dickson, Alexander Gould, Michael J. Fox, Patrick Stewart, Christian Bale, Sinbad, Michelle Rodriguez, Brendon Baerg, Nicky Jones, Andrea Bowen, Emma Thompson, Paul Walker, Grace Park, Anthony Ghannam and Christopher McDonald. The film serves as a sequel to 2001's Atlantis: The Lost Empire and a midquel to 1943's Bambi as it tells the story of a young cat named Ronald who gains possession of a sacred book and Bambi as he gains an ancient talisman, which he [Ronald] believes will guide them, Bambi's father The Great Prince, his friends and a crew of adventurers to a planet containing the lost city of Atlantis.
Development of the film began after production had finished on Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) and later after Treasure Planet (2002). Atlantis Planet was notable for adopting the distinctive visual style of comic book creator Mike Mignola and Halo: Combat Evolved lead artist Marcus Lehto. At the time of its release, the film had made extremely greater use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) than any of Disney's previous animated features; it remains one of the few to have been shot in anamorphic format. Linguist Marc Okrand created a space language specifically for use in Atlantis Planet, while James Newton Howard and Bruce Broughton provided the score. The film was released the same year as the release of Disney's first fully CGI film Chicken Little. It was the last traditionally animated Disney film until 2009's The Princess and the Frog.
Atlantis Planet premiered at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California on June 12, 2005, and went into general release on June 24. Released by Walt Disney Pictures, Atlantis Planet performed modestly at the box office. Budgeted at $140 million, the film grossed over $286 million worldwide, $100 million of which was earned in North America. Due to the film's poorer-than-expected box-office performance, Disney canceled a direct-to-DVD sequel and a laser tag Go Kart attraction at its Magic Kingdom Park and also a Atlantis themed science center in Orlando, Florida. Atlantis Planet was nominated for a number of awards, including two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Film Soundtrack and eight Annie Awards, and won five including the 2006 Golden Reel Awards for Best Sound Editing. The film was released on DVD and VHS on February 7, 2006; the Blu-ray released on June 11, 2013. Atlantis Planet is considered to be a cult favorite, due in part to Mignola and Letho's unique artistic influences and it's unique take on the planetarium solar system.
The film begins with a narration by King Milo James Thatch (Michael J. Fox) telling how Atlantis returned to the surface of the Earth, and that a new legacy for Atlantis was created with a world called Atlantis Planet. The film later stars in 1919 with a large tidal wave, triggered by a distant explosion, which threatens to drown the island of Atlantis. In the midst of an evacuation from the capital city, the Queen of Atlantis, Kida (Cree Summer) is caught by a strange, hypnotic blue light and lifted up into the "Heart of Atlantis", a powerful crystal protecting the city. The crystal consumes her and creates a dome barrier that protects the city's innermost district. She leaves behind a young daughter, Princess Kika (Michelle Rodriguez), and husband, King Milo, as the island warps to the world known as Atlantis Planet.
Ninety Two years later in 2001, Ronald Dante (Pete Dickson)—a black and white tab cat, cartographer and linguist at the American Museum of Natural History who is marginalized for his research on Atlantis Planet—believes that he has found the location of The Nova Map, a small ancient talisman based on The Triangle of Light from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider with a holographic projector, showing a map to the lost planet and The Star-Shepherd's Journal, an ancient manuscript allegedly containing directions to the lost island on the world. After his mother is killed by hunters Bambi (Alexander Gould) stumbles upon his father, the Great Prince of the Forest (Patrick Stewart), who takes him back to his den. The Great Prince asks Friend Owl (Keith Ferguson) to find a doe to raise Bambi, since his duties are to his herd, but Owl informs him that because of the harsh winters the does can barely feed themselves, let alone any extra mouths. The Great Prince has no choice but to look after Bambi until the spring.
Months later, the Great Prince allows Bambi to accompany his friends, Thumper (Brendon Baerg), and Flower (Nicky Jones), to see the Groundhog, whose shadow will foretell if winter will end soon. Bambi lies to them about how close he and his father are, while the Great Prince keeps the truth of his mother's death from him.
At the ground hog ceremony, Bambi meets up with his crush Faline (Andrea Bowen). The Groundhog (Brian Pimental) is coaxed out of his hole, only to be scared back in again by Ronno (Anthony Ghannam), an older fawn than Bambi. Ronno tries to impress Faline with his stories of hunters near the woods, and the whistles they use to imitate deer, but Bambi and Faline don't believe his tall tale. Bambi and Ronno immediately dislike each other, but Bambi is intimidated by Ronno, afraid to stand up for himself, and is relieved when he leaves with his mother.
The other animals leave as well, and Bambi falls asleep waiting for his father to come get him. But after many hours of waiting, Bambi dreams of his mother and finds the Nova Map, and also hears her voice calling him into a meadow. It turns out to be an ambush by human hunters, the same ones Ronno warned him about. The Great Prince comes to his rescue and orders Bambi to run, but the fawn is too scared to obey. Both manage to escape and Bambi is yelled at for almost getting himself killed. It's then that Bambi realizes the hunters killed his mother, and the Great Prince confirms it. While Bambi sleeps, the Great Prince tells Friend Owl that spring is ending and he should have no problem finding a doe now. Meanwhile, Ronald gets in trouble at school after hijacking the back to school ceremony to preform a concert, posing as his favourite singer Powerline.
In the days following, the Great Prince confines Bambi to the den where he'll be safe, not trusting him to be out by himself anymore. When he leaves Bambi confesses to Thumper and Flower the estranged relationship he and his father share, and tells them he wishes he could impress him. They decide to help Bambi learn how to be brave by sneaking out, and while doing so get into an altercation with a porcupine. It ends with quills rammed into Bambi's backside and his father almost catching him outside of the den. Ronno and Faline, hearing the commotion, investigate. Bambi gets into another fight with Ronno when he sees him bothering Faline. Ronno chases him through the forest until Bambi leaps to safety over a large ravine. The Great Prince, having seen the whole thing, is both angry at Bambi and impressed by his feat. Ronno (jealous of the young prince) tries to leap after him, but falls into the chasm, thwarted for now. At the Great Prince's den, he and Bambi meet a mysterious woman, Natasha Mirage (Grace Park). For Ronald, after his proposal to search for the Journal is rejected by the museum board, now protagonist, Helga Sinclair (Claudia Christian), introduces him and Bambi to Winston J. Whitmore (Christopher McDonald) an eccentric millionaire. Whitmore has already funded a successful effort to retrieve the Journal as repayment of a debt to Ronald's uncle and Bambi's mother, and recruits Ronald and Bambi to lead an expedition to Atlantis Planet as soon as he deciphers it. The Great Prince is forced to call off finding a doe for Bambi after he reads his mother's will that he take care of their son if anything happened to her.
Whitmore commissions a ship called RLS Saga, on a mission to find Atlantis Planet. The ship is commanded by the cat-like, sharp-witted Captain Amelia (Emma Thompson) along with her disciplined First Mate, Mr. Hark (Roscoe Lee Browne). Ronald and Bambi bring along their friends; Faline, Thumper, Flower, Riley (Sinbad), a dark mutt and Ronald's only friend. Ronno joins the team, hoping to taught Bambi even more (but does very little). Both Ronald and Bambi form an unexpected friendship during the trip. During an encounter with a supernova, Ronald falls overboard but is saved by Bambi. The supernova then devolves into a black hole, where Hark drifts overboard and is lost, for which Bambi blames himself for failing to secure the lifelines. As the ship reaches Atlantis Planet, the part-two of the expedition departs with a team of specialists led by Commander Brock (Christian Bale), who also led the Journal recovery expedition. The crew includes Sean Kind (Paul Walker), a field medic; Mark "Hero" Parr (Ralph Waite); a loyal and heroic Golden Retriever; SC (James Arnold Taylor); an American Bulldog demolitions expert; Lindsey (Sally Field); a Himalayan cat technician; Bob (Robert Hays), an American engineer; D'oh (Scott Caan), a second mess cook; and Ton (Tom Kenny), a scientist and geologist. They set out in the Ulysses, a massive submarine, but are soon attacked by the monstrous Cyber-Leviathan, a robotic lobster-like creature that guards Atlantis' entrance. The Ulysses is destroyed, but Ronald, Bambi, Brock, and part of the crew escape and make their way to an underground cavern described in the Journal as the entrance to Atlantis.
After traveling through a network of caves and a dormant volcano, the team reaches Atlantis. They are greeted by Kika — who, despite her age, resembles a woman in her early 10s — and discover that the space Atlantean language is the basis of many existing languages which allows the Atlanteans to understand English. The Great Prince and Bambi start to get closer than ever while traveling around Atlantis. He helps Bambi to overcome any obstacles in his path, as well as his fears, and Bambi helps him to loosen up and have fun. Kika enlists Ronald and Bambi's aid in deciphering the space Atlantean written language, long forgotten by the natives. By swimming deep within the city's submerged ruins and translating underwater murals, Ronald helps Kika uncover the nature of the Heart of Atlantis: it supplies the Atlanteans with power and longevity through the crystals worn around their necks. He is surprised this is not mentioned in the Journal, but upon examination realizes a page is missing.
Returning to the surface with Kika and The Great Prince, Ronald and Bambi discover Brock has the missing page. Brock and the crew betray Ronald, intending to bring the Crystal back to Earth and sell it. It's soon learn that Brock was the one responsible for Mr. Hark's death. Brock mortally wounds Milo while trying to extract information about the crystal's location, but finds its location for himself hidden beneath the King's throne room. The crystal detects a threat and merges with Kika. Brock and the mercenaries lock Kika in a crate and prepare to leave the city. Knowing that when the crystal is gone the Atlanteans will die, Ronald berates his friends for betraying their consciences and ultimately convinces them to leave Brock and remain in Atlantis. Milo explains to Ronald and Bambi that the crystal has developed a consciousness; it will find a royal host when Atlantis is in danger. He admits that the original King of Atlantis tried to use it as a weapon, but the crystal's powers were too great to control, thus leading to the tidal wave that destroyed the city. This led to his decision to hide it as a precaution to ensure history would not repeat itself, and prevent Kika from meeting the same fate as her mother. He warns Ronald and Bambi that if Kika remains bonded to the Heart of Atlantis, she will be lost to it forever. As he dies, he gives his crystal to Ronald, telling him to save Kika and Atlantis. Encouraged by Kind, Ronald and Bambi rally the crew and the Atlanteans to stop Brock.
In a battle inside the volcano, Natasha and the other mercenaries are defeated including Brock, who is killed when Ronald stabs his arm with a crystal shard (which gradually turns him to crystal), and then collides with his air ship's propellers. However, the planet is set to explode upon the strong explosion from the air ship's crash. Ronald, Bambi and the others fly the crystal back to Atlantis. With lava flowing towards the city, Kika (in her crystal form) rises into the air and creates a protective shield. The island soon warps back to Earth, escaping the destruction of the planet. Bambi, Faline, Ronno, Thumper, Flower and the surviving crew members return to their rightful homes and The Great Prince decides to raise Bambi after all. Back home in the forest, sometime later, Thumper shares his version of the adventure with the rest of his friends, while an now teenage Bambi (whose antlers have just grown in) enjoys the tall tale with Faline. Ronno appears before everyone vowing one day to battle Bambi in the future, until he's bitten on the nose by a snapping turtle and runs off screaming for help. The gang is unfazed by Ronno's threat (unaware that he will indeed return in their future), and Bambi leaves to meet up with his father, and share a tender moment as the Great Prince shows Bambi the field where he first met his mother. Now teenage Ronald, having fallen in love with Kika, stays in Atlantis to help her rebuild the lost empire.
- Pete Dickson as Ronald Sammi Dante, a black and white tab cat, linguist and cartographer who was recruited to decipher The Shepherd's Journal while directing an expedition to Atlantis Planet. James Baxter and Glen Keane served as the supervising animators for Ronald.
- Alexander Gould as Bambi, the young prince of the forest. His mother dies, and he has to be with his father. Andrew Collins served as the supervising animator for Bambi.
- Michael J. Fox as King Milo Thatch, a linguist and cartographer and the new king of Atlantis. John Pomeroy served as the supervising animator for Milo.
- Patrick Stewart as the Great Prince of the Forest. He is Bambi's father, and due to the death of Bambi's mother, The Great Prince is forced to be the fawn's guardian. Pieter Lommerse served as the supervising animator for the Great Prince.
- Christian Bale as Commander James Rourke Brock, the leader of the band of mercenaries who are hired for the Atlantean expedition. Russ Edmonds served as the supervising animator for Brock.
- Sinbad as Riley. He is a dark mutt and a close friend of Ronald and their pet owner and Ronald's step-mother Kim. Sinbad previously worked with Michael J. Fox in Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco.
- Michelle Rodriguez as Kikanakash "Kika" Nedakh Thatch, a young female fox who Ronald falls for. She resembles a young version of Vixey from The Fox and the Hound (1981).
- Andrea Bowen as Faline. She is Bambi's romantic interest and is part of a love triangle between Bambi and his future rival, Ronno.
- Brendon Baerg as Thumper. He and Flower are Bambi's friends who help him be brave to impress his father. Ian Harrowell served as the supervising animator for Thumper.
- Nicky Jones as Flower. He and Thumper are Bambi's friends who help him be brave to impress his father. Ian Harrowell served as the supervising animator for Flower.
- David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Delbert Doppler, an alien doctor who slightly resembles a dog. He appeared in Treasure Planet (another Disney sci-fi film directed by Ron Clements and John Musker).
- Emma Thompson as Captain Amelia, the captain of the RLS Saga; Amelia slightly resembles a cat. She also appeared in Treasure Planet.
- Paul Walker as Sean Kind, an American medic. Pieter Lommerse and Ian Harrowell served as the supervising animators for Kind.
- Grace Park as Lieutenant Natasha Leroy Mirage, Brock's second-in-command.
- Anthony Ghannam as Ronno, Bambi's rival. He is the deer that Bambi fights in the original Bambi film. Bernard Derriman and Mark Henn served as the supervising animators for Ronno.
- Christopher McDonald as Winston J. Whitmore, a pure white terrier dog and an old friend of Ronald's uncle and Bambi's mother.
- Hugh Laurie as Mark "Hero" Parr, a Golden Retrevier and former US Marine.
- James Arnold Taylor as SC, an American Bulldog demolitions expert. SC is short for Second Chance.
- Sally Field as Lindsey, a Himalayan cat technician.
- Robert Hays as Robert "Bob" Santiago, an American Engineer.
- Claudia Christian as Corporal Helga Katrina Sinclair, Rourke's former second-in-command. Christian described her character as "sensual" and "striking". She was relieved when she finally saw what her character looked like, joking, "I'd hate to, you know, go through all this and find out my character is a toad."
- Scott Caan as Jarvis Copper "D'oh" Barker, a Texas-style cook. Walker and Caan previously starred together in 1999's Varsity Blues and would later again in Into the Blue.
- Tom Kenny as Tony "Ton" Braff, a scientist and geologist who works alongside Mole.
- Keith Ferguson as Friend Owl, who is told by The Great Prince to find a new mother for Bambi.
- Makenna Cowgill, Emma Rose Lima, and Ariel Winter as Thumper's sisters. They annoy Thumper, who tries to hide from them.
- Carolyn Hennesy as Bambi's mother. She was shot by a hunter, and because of her death Bambi must be looked after by his father.
- Tracy Pollan as Kim Ralph, Ronald and Riley's pet owner and Ronald's step-mother.
- Jim Broadbent as Max Dominic, a cook assigned to the RLS Saga.
- Jacqueline Obradors as Audrey Rocio Ramirez, a teenage female Puerto Rican mechanic and the youngest member of the expedition. Obradors said her character made her "feel like a little kid again" and she always hoped her sessions would last longer.
- Don Novello as Vincenzo "Vinny" Santorini, an Italian demolitions expert.
- Phil Morris as Doctor Joshua Strongbear Sweet, a medic of African American and Native American descent. Sweet's supervising animator, Ron Husband, indicated that one of the challenges was animating Sweet in sync with Morris' rapid line delivery while keeping him believable. Morris stated that this character was extreme, with "no middle ground"; he mentioned, "When he was happy, he was really happy, and when he's solemn, he's real solemn."
- Blake Clark as Jebidiah Allerdyce "Cookie" Farnsworth, a Western-style chuckwagon chef. Jim Varney passed away due to lung cancer in February 2000. Clark was a close friend of Varney. He was later cast as Slinky Dog in Toy Story 3.
- Corey Burton as Gaëtan "Mole" Molière, a French geologist who acts like a mole. Burton mentioned that finding his performance as Mole was by allowing the character to "leap out" of him while making funny voices. To get into character during his recording sessions, he stated that he would "throw myself into the scene and feel like I'm in this make-believe world".
- Cree Summer as Queen Kidagakash "Kida" Nedakh, the Princess of Atlantis until she is taken away from Kika by the Heart of Atlantis during the Great Flood.
- Brian Pimental as The Groundhog and Porcupine. The Groundhog, timid, comes out of his hole to determine if winter will end. The Porcupine is grumpy and overprotective of his log.
- Tony Jay as Nigel M. Hardcore, a board member of the Natural History Institution who dismisses Ronald's belief in the existence of Atlantis Planet. Jay previously worked with Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise in other Disney films including Beauty and the Beast as Monsieur D'Arque, the amoral asylum superintendent, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame as Judge Claude Frollo. He previously worked with Ron Clements and John Musker in Treasure Planet as the narrator.
- David Ogden Stiers as Mr. Goldking, Ronald's school class' language teacher. Stiers previously worked in other Disney films including Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Atlantis: Lost Empire and again in Lilo & Stitch.
The idea of Atlantis Planet was inspired and conceived in December 1996 by Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise and Don Hahn, when they went to visit Disney directors Ron Clements, and John Musker who were currently working Hercules after production on The Hunchback of Notre Dame had finished. Clements told Trousdale, Wise and Hahn about he and Musker's plan to make a sci-fi adaption of Treasure Island called Treasure Planet. He also said that the concept for the film (which was called "Treasure Island in Space" at the time) was originally pitched in 1985 during the meeting wherein he and John Musker also pitched The Little Mermaid. Trousdale made a joke saying "Why not combined both our movie ideas together, in the future?". Clements, Musker, Wise and Hahn all laughted together, but later thought it would be nice to work together after Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet were done.
In October 2001, after the release of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the producer and directors wanted to team up with the Treasure Planet team for another film with a space/underwater Adventureland setting. After Treasure Planet was completed, Ron Clements and John Musker officially joined up with Trousdale, Wise and Hahn to help work on Atlantis Planet. The crew set out to make a film which would fully explore Atlantis at the center of a planet's core. While primarily utilizing the Internet to research the mythology of Atlantis, the filmmakers became interested in the clairvoyant readings of Edgar Cayce and decided to incorporate some of his ideas—notably that of a mother-crystal which provides power, healing, and longevity to the Atlanteans—into the story. The crew watched both Atlantis and Treasure Planet to find a way to merge both films into one. They later visited the Telus Science Centre in Edmonton, Alberta as it was called Odyssium back then to study on the solar system for the part one of the adventure and later traveled to Mount Hood National Forest to set up the underwater part of the expedition. They later re-visited the museums and old army installations to study the technology of the early 20th century (the film's time period) like with the first Atlantis film. The crew wore T-shirts which read "ATLANTIS IN SPACE—more explosions, lots of adventure" due the film's plan as an action-adventure.
- Main article: [Atlantean language]
Marc Okrand, who developed the Klingon language for the Star Trek films and the Atlantean language for Atlantis: The Lost Empire, was hired to devise the space Atlantean language for Atlantis Planet. Guided by the directors' initial concept for it to be a "mother-language", Okrand employed an Indo-European word stock with its own grammatical structure. He would change the words if they began to sound too much like an actual, spoken language. John Emerson designed the written component, making hundreds of random sketches of individual letters from among which the directors chose the best to represent the space Atlantean alphabet. The written language was boustrophedon: designed to be read left-to-right on the first line, then right-to-left on the second, continuing in a zigzag pattern to simulate the flow of water.
- "The Atlantean [A] is a shape developed by John Emerson. It is a miniature map of the city of Atlantis (i.e., the outside of the swirl is the cave, the inside shape is the silhouette of the city, and the dot is the location of the crystal). It's a treasure map."
- ―Kirk Wise, director
Alicia Kirk, Brian Pimental, and Jeanne Rosenberg were hired to help write the story and script for the film when they were planning on working on a direct-to-DVD midquel for Bambi (1943) titled Bambi and the Great Prince with Pimental serving as the director. The directors and producers all thought about making Atlantis Planet into a crossover/sequel/midquel to Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Bambi and later agreed.
The initial draft was 295 pages, much longer than a typical Disney film script (which usually runs 90 pages). When the first two acts were timed at 220 minutes, the directors cut characters and sequences and focused more on Ronald and Bambi. Murphy said that he, Clements and Musker combined the map from Treasure Planet and the Shepherd's Journal to created the 21st centuries Star-Shepherd's Journal for Ronald and created the Nova Map for Bambi because they needed two maps for the characters to follow throughout their journey. A revised version of the script eliminated the trials encountered by the explorers as they navigated the underground cave networks to Atlantis. This gave the film a faster pace, because Atlantis Planet and Atlantis itself are discovered later in the story. Originally, Ronno was supposed to join Brock later in the film and he and Bambi would duel with each other, but the directors felt like Ronno would end up dying alongside Brock instead. Tab Murphy came in to help re-write the script so Ronno would help alongside Ronald and Bambi, but would still retain his selfish, cowardly self.
|The directors often described the Atlanteans using Egypt as an example. When Napoleon wandered into Egypt, the people had lost track of their once-great civilization. They were surrounded by artifacts of their former greatness but somehow unaware of what they meant.
—Don Hahn, executive producer
The character of Ronald Dante was based on Jim Hawkins from Treasure Planet and Milo Thatch, because the directors wanted him to be Milo's legacy and related him to an explorer so he would discover his inner talent for exploration. Bambi's character in the film is much more distinctly personalized. In this film which fills in the gap between the death of his mother and when he was next shown as an adult, Bambi finds himself faced with a number of challenges. First, there is the death of his mother and his consequential move to live with his father, the Great Prince of the Forest. His father is reluctant to learn to be a father. In addition, Bambi begins to develop feelings for Faline, and comes into conflict with the older fawn Ronno (the same deer he would later fight over Faline with as an adult). Whereas in the first Bambi film he follows life wherever it led him, in this film he is more assertive in order to bond with and impress his father. Kirk Wise said it gave Bambi more knowledge on life and would help him learn on the journey and to prove to himself and others, most of all his father, demonstrating that he deserves to be prince and can live up to his father's name. Don Hahn pointed out in the first Atlantis film was that the absence of musical numbers presented a challenge for a team accustomed to animating musicals, as solely action scenes would have to carry the film. Wise said it gave the team an opportunity for more on-screen character development: "We had more screen time available to do a scene like where Milo and the explorers are camping out and learning about one another's histories. An entire sequence is devoted to having dinner and going to bed. That is not typically something we would have the luxury of doing."
Hahn stated that the first animated sequence completed during production was the film's prologue. The original version featured a group of Russian scientists led by an explorer using The Star-Shepherd's Journal to find Atlantis on Atlantis Planet and a fairly war party using The Nova Map to get to Atlantis Planet. Both traveling parties then caught in a battle between the Leviathan and Cyber-Leviathan. Both traveling parties and the Leviathan are swiftly dispatched by the Cyber-Leviathan with the Russian lab on Earth being destroyed and The Star-Shepherd's Journal being tossed into the ocean on Earth with The Nova Map in the process. Near the end of production, story supervisor Jon Sanford told the directors and producers that he felt this prologue was the same as the orignall prologue from the first Atlantis as it did not give viewers enough emotional involvement with the Atlanteans. He also added it would confuse viewers on how Atlantis ended up on Atlantis Planet without knowing. Despite knowing that the Leviathan prologue was finished and it would cost additional time and money to alter the scene, the directors and producers agreed with Sanford. Trousdale went home and completed the storyboards later that evening. The opening was replaced by a narration by Milo Thatch and a sequence depicting the teleportation of Atlantis, which introduced the film from the perspective of the Atlanteans and Princess Kika. The Leviathan prologue is included as an extra feature on the DVD release.
Principal animation for the film began in 2003. At the peak of its production, 400 animators, artists and technicians were working on Atlantis Planet at all three Disney animation studios: Burbank, California, Orlando, Florida, and Paris, France. The film was one of the few Disney animated features produced and shot in 70mm anamorphic format. The directors felt that a widescreen image was crucial, as a nostalgic reference to old action-adventure films presented in the CinemaScope format (2.35:1), noting Raiders of the Lost Ark as an inspiration. Because switching to the format would require animation desks and equipment designed for widescreen to be purchased, Disney executives were at first reluctant about the idea. The production team found a simple solution by drawing within a smaller frame on the same paper and equipment used for standard aspect ratio (1.66:1) Disney-animated films. Layout supervisor Ed Ghertner wrote a guide to the widescreen format for use by the layout artists and mentioned that one advantage of widescreen was that he could keep characters in scenes longer because of additional space to walk within the frame. Wise drew further inspiration for the format from filmmakers David Lean and Akira Kurosawa.
Layout supervisor Ed Ghertner wrote a guide to the widescreen format for use by the layout artists and mentioned that one advantage of widescreen was that he could keep characters in scenes longer because of additional space to walk within the frame. Wise drew further inspiration for the format from filmmakers David Lean and Akira Kurosawa.
The film's visual style was strongly based upon that of Mike Mignola, the comic book artist behind Hellboy. Mignola was one of five production designers (along with John Howard, Matt Codd, Jim Martin, and Ricardo Delgado) hired by the Disney studio for the film. Accordingly, he provided style guides, preliminary character and background designs, and story ideas. His visual styles work was used for the Ronald scenes in the first and later half of the film. "Mignola's graphic, angular style was a key influence on the 'look' of the characters," stated Wise. Mignola was surprised when first contacted by the studio to work on Atlantis.
- "I remember watching a rough cut of the film and these characters have these big, square, weird hands. I said to the guy next to me, "Those are cool hands." And he says to me, "Yeah, they're your hands. We had a whole meeting about how to do your hands." It was so weird I couldn't wrap my brain around it."
- ―Mike Mignola
The film's space and Atlantis Planet visual style was based upon that of Marcus Lehto, lead artist of Halo: Combat Evolved. Lehto was contacted by the studio to assist with the animation of the film with Mignola.
- ""When I first looked at the design of Atlantis Planet, and it had a forest under water. And Atlantis itself had deers with tattoos! It was weird to me. I asked to the guy next to me "It's that a forest under water?" And he replies "Yeah. It's your forest. We had a meeting on how to do your forest." It drove me whack.""
- ―Marcus Lehto
The final pull-out scene of the movie, immediately before the end-title card, was described by the directors as the most difficult scene in the history of Disney animation. They said that the pullout attempt on their prior films, The Hunchback of Notre Dame & Hercules, "struggled" and "lacked depth"; however, after making advances in the process of multiplaning, they tried the technique again in Atlantis. The scene begins with one 16-inch piece of paper showing a close-up of Ronald and Kika. As the camera pulls away from them to reveal the newly restored Atlantis, it reaches the equivalent of an 18,000-inch piece of paper composed of many individual pieces of paper (24 inches or smaller). Each piece was carefully drawn and combined with animated vehicles simultaneously flying across the scene to make the viewer see a complete, integrated image.
The background-paintings used for the Bambi scenes in the film were painted with "Corel Photo Paint", but some of the original oil-painting backgrounds from the 1942 original Bambi film were scanned with a computer, and parts of these scans were reused in the new backgrounds. Like how Walt Disney did with the animals in first Bambi, the animators visited the Los Angeles Zoo to study the animals to make them be more realistic and expressive.
At the time of its release, Atlantis Planet was notable for using lots of computer-generated imagery (CGI) than any other Disney-animated feature. To increase productivity, the directors and producers had the digital artists work with the traditional animators throughout the production. Several important scenes required heavy use of digital animation: the Cyber-Leviathan, the Ulysses submarine, sub-pods, Hunter Killer tanks, the RLS Saga, the Supernova, the Heart of Atlantis, and the Stone Giants. During production, after Matt Codd and Jim Martin designed the Ulysses on paper, Greg Aronowitz was hired to build a scale model of the submarine, to be used as a reference for drawing the 3D Ulysses. The final film included 362 digital-effects shots, and computer programs were used to seamlessly join the 2D and 3D artwork. Like in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, one scene that took advantage of this was the "sub-drop" scene, where the 3D Ulysses was dropped from its docking bay of the RLS Saga into the water. As the camera floated toward it, a 2D Ronald and Bambi were drawn to appear inside, tracking the camera. The crew noted that it was challenging to keep the audience from noticing the difference between the 2D and 3D drawings when they were merged. The digital production also gave the directors a unique "virtual camera" for complicated shots within the film. With the ability to operate in the z-plane, this camera moved through a digital wire-frame set; the background and details were later hand-drawn over the wire frames. This was used in the opening flight scene through Atlantis and the submarine chase through the undersea cavern with the Cyber-Leviathan in pursuit.
Music and sound
Since Atlantis: The Lost Empire lacked pop songs, the crew operated under a rule they call the "60/20" audio law, which meant that the film should contain about 60% of score and 20% of songs. Ron Clements and John Musker allowed the Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise to re-use Treasure Planet 's two moderately successful pop singles ("I'm Still Here" and "Always Know Where You Are" from The Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik) for the film. The directors also re-used the only song ("Where the Dream Takes You" written by Diane Warren and performed by Mýa) from the first Atlantis film.
The directors and producers re-hired James Newton Howard to compose the score for the film. Howard previously worked with Trousdale and Wise on the score for Atlantis: The Lost Empire and with Clements and Musker on Treasure Planet. Like with Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Howard decided to have different musical themes for the cultures of the surface world and Atlantis. In the case of Atlantis, Howard chose an Indonesian orchestral sound incorporating chimes, bells, and gongs. The directors told Howard that the film would have a number of key scenes without dialogue; the score would need to convey emotionally what the viewer was seeing on screen. Bruce Broughton was brought in and tasked with doing a re-make of the original score from the 1942 Bambi film.
Gary Rydstrom and his team at Skywalker Sound were hired for the film's sound production. Like Howard, Rydstrom employed different sounds for the two cultures. Focusing on the machine and mechanical sounds of the early industrial era for the explorers, he felt that the Atlanteans should have a "more organic" sound utilizing ceramics and pottery. The sound made by the Atlantean flying-fish vehicles posed a particular challenge. Rydstrom revealed that he was sitting at the side of a highway recording one day when a semi-truck drove by at high speed. When the recording was sped up on his computer he felt it sounded very organic, and that is what is heard within the film. Rydstrom created the harmonic chiming of the Heart of Atlantis by rubbing his finger along the edge of a champagne flute, and the sound of sub-pods moving through water with a water pick.
Atlantis Planet was among Disney's second attempts to utilize internet marketing. The film was promoted through Kellogg's, which created a website with mini-games and a movie-based video game give-away for UPC labels from specially marked packages of Atlantis breakfast cereal. McDonald's (which has an exclusive licensing agreement on all Disney releases) promoted the film with Happy Meal toys, food packaging and in-store decor. The McDonald's advertising campaign involved television, radio, and print advertisements beginning on the film's release date. Hasbro also released a line-up of Atlantis Planet action figures and toys.
- Main article: Atlantis Planet (soundtrack)
The soundtrack to Atlantis Planet was released on May 30, 2005. It consists primarily of James Newton Howard and Bruce Broughton's score and seventeen songs, by artists including; Martina McBride, Alison Krauss, Anthony Callea and includes "Where the Dream Takes You", written by Diane Warren and performed by Mýa, and "I'm Still Here" written and performed by The Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik. It was also available in a limited edition of 20,000 numbered copies with a unique 3D album cover insert depicting the RLS Saga from the film. Concerning the promotional edition, Filmtracks said, "Outside of about five minutes of superior additional material (including the massive opening, "Atlantis Destroyed"), the complete presentation is mostly redundant. Still, Atlantis is an accomplished work for its genre."
Four video games based on the film were released. Atlantis Planet: Star Breaker, was developed by Zombie Studios and published by Buena Vista Games, a subsidiary of Disney Interactive. It was released on May 14, 2005 for the Microsoft Windows platform and was a first-person shooter game, the first of two games based on the film developed by Zombie Studios and released for UPC labels from Kellogg's products for promotion. Atlantis Planet: Into the Black was the second game developed by Zombie Studios and published by Disney Interactive, and was released May 21, 2005 for the Microsoft Windows platform. Atlantis Planet: X-Sports, a vehicular combat game video game developed by Insomniac Games and Naughty Dog and published by Disney Interactive. It was released on June 6, 2005 for the PlayStation 2.
Atlantis Planet is an action game developed by Eurocom for the PlayStation 2 console which was released July 8, 2005. The player controls Ronald, Bambi, Faline, Ronno, and Thumper and Flower as they traverse Atlantis, unlocking its secrets. Some features in the game unlock others (such as a movie) by finding items hidden throughout the game. The game was met with average to mixed reviews upon release. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 73.83% and 73 out of 100.
Before the film's release, reporters speculated that it would have a difficult run due to strong competition with Warner Bros'. Batman Begins (another film starring Christian Bale) and Paramount's Star Fox (a wholly CGI film). On June 8, 2005, Burger King and Cineplex hosted a movie poll showing which film would be a success. The poll showed that Star Fox would be more successful than Atlantis due in take of the transition from traditional animation to CGI animation. Regarding the market's shift from traditional animation and competition with CGI films, Ron Clements said, "Any traditional animation film director, including myself, can't help but feel a different twinge. I think it always comes down to story and character, and one form won't replace the other. But now I think that time has come to an end". Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly noted that a friendship between a bird and fox (most likely Star Fox) was more likely to attract the teenage demographic rather than a friendship between a cat and a deer, and called Atlantis Planet a "marketing and creative cross-friendship gamble".
Atlantis Planet had its world premiere at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California on June 12, 2005 and a release in Argentina on June 17; it opened in all cinemas in North America on June 24. At the premiere, Destination: Atlantis was on display, featuring behind-the-scenes props from the film and information on the legend of Atlantis with video games, displays, laser tag, and other attractions. The Aquarium of the Pacific also loaned a variety of fish for display within the attraction. With a budget of $140 million, the film opened at #2 behind Star Fox earning $31.4 million on its debut week in 3,010 theaters. The film's international release began September 16 in Australia and other markets followed suit. During its 25-week theatrical run, Atlantis Planet grossed over $286 million worldwide ($100 million from the United States and Canada). Responding to its disappointing box-office performance, Thomas Schumacher, president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, said, "It seemed like a good idea at the time to not do a sweet fairy tale, but we missed." With the success of Pixar, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner decided that public tastes had changed, and that it was time to get out of hand-drawn animation together, ending with The Magic School Bus and Atlantis Planet.
Atlantis Planet received mixed reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 59% of 130 professional critics have given Atlantis Planet a positive review, with a rating average of 5.5 out of 10. The site's consensus is that "Atlantis provides a fast-paced spectacle, but stints on such things as character development and a coherent plot". Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 27 reviews from mainstream critics; this was considered "mixed or average reviews". CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend revealed the average grade cinema-goers gave Atlantis Planet was an A on an A+-to-F scale.
While critics had mixed reactions to the film in general, some praised it for its visuals, action-adventure elements, and its attempt to appeal to an older audience. The film was criticized for it's 155 minute length deeming it to be the longest full-length Disney animated film. However, praise went to Dickson and Gould's performance together as Ronald and Bambi. Roger Ebert gave Atlantis Planet three stars out of four. He praised the animation's "clean bright visual look" and the "classic energy of the comic book style", crediting this to the work of Mike Mignola. Ebert gave particular praise to the story and the final battle scene and wrote, "The story of Atlantis is rousing in an old pulp science fiction sort of way, but the climactic scene transcends the rest, and stands by itself as one of the great animated action sequences." IGN gave the film a 7 out of 10 saying "while it's not as unique as the first Bambi and Atlantis movies, it's animation style and a friendship between a cat and deer make it worth watching". Plus, IGN also ranked Ronald and Bambi's friendship #10 on its Top 25 list of amazing Disney friendships. Rita Kempley of The Washington Post praised the film's cast, characters, animal relationships and combined animation, but strongly criticized it's use of blood. Wesley Morris of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote positively of the film's approach for an older audience: "But just beneath the surface, Atlantis brims with adult possibility."
Other critics felt that the film was mediocre in regards to its story and characters, and that it failed to deliver as a non-musical to Disney's traditional audience. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C+ rating, writing that the movie had "gee-whiz formulaic character" and was "the essence of craft without dream". Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times noted the storyline and characterizations were "old-fashioned" and the film had the retrograde look of a Saturday-morning cartoon, but these deficiencies were offset by its "brisk action" and frantic pace.
|78th Academy Awards||Best Animated Feature||Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise||Nominated|
|Best Original Soundtrack||James Newton Howard, Jim Weidman and Various Artists||Nominated|
|34th Annie Awards||Individual Achievement in Directing||Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Producing||Don Hahn, Ron Clements and John Musker||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Storyboarding||Chris Ure||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Production Design||David Goetz||Won|
|Individual Achievement in Effects Animation||Marlon West||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Voice Acting – Female||Andrea Bowen||Won|
|Individual Achievement in Voice Acting – Male||Michael J. Fox||Won|
|Individual Achievement for Music Score||James Newton Howard||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature||Gray Trousdale and Kirk Wise||Won|
|2006 DVD Exclusive Awards||Original Retrospective Documentary||Michael Pellerin||Nominated|
|2006 Motion Picture Sound Editors||Best Sound Editing - Animated Feature||Nominated|
|2006 Golden Reel Award||Best Sound Editing – Animated Feature Film||Gary Rydstrom, Michael Silvers, Mary Helen Leasman, John K. Carr, Shannon Mills, Ken Fischer, David C. Hughes, and Susan Sanford||Won|
|2006 Political Film Society||Political Film Society Award for Democracy||Nominated|
|Political Film Society Award for Human Rights||Nominated|
|Political Film Society Award for Peace||Nominated|
|World Soundtrack Awards||Best Original Song for Film||Diane Warren and James Newton Howard||Nominated|
|Young Artist Awards||Best Feature Family Film – Drama||Walt Disney Feature Animation||Nominated|
|2006 Saturn Awards||Best Home Video Release||Nominated|
|2006 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America||Best Script||Tab Murphy and Brian Pimental||Nominated|
Atlantis Planet was released on DVD and VHS on February 7, 2006. During the first month of its home release, the film sold 2.6 million DVDs and 1.5 million VHSs in its first week in the United States and was on top of DVD sales for one week and number one on the VHS sales for one week. As major studios continue to phase out VHS, this was officially the last Disney animated movie to be released on VHS. Sales and rentals of the DVD and VHS would eventually accumulate $235 million in revenue by mid-2006.
Both a single-disc DVD edition and a two-disc collector's edition (with bonus features) were released. The single-disc DVD gave the viewer the option of viewing the film either in its original theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio or a modified 1.33:1 ratio (utilizing pan and scan). Bonus features available on the DVD version included audio and visual commentary from the film team, a virtual tour of the CGI models, an Atlantean-language tutorial, an encyclopedia on the myth of Atlantis, and the deleted Leviathan battle prologue scene. The two-disc collector's edition DVD contained all the single-disc features and a disc with supplemental material detailing all aspects of the film's production. The collector's-edition film could only be viewed in its original theatrical ratio, and also featured an optional DTS 5.1 track. Both DVD versions, however, contained a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and were THX certified.
Disney digitally remastered and released Atlantis Planet on Blu-ray on June 11, 2013.
Atlantis Planet was meant to provide a springboard for a direct-to-DVD sequel entitled Shards of Chaos, produced at DisneyToon Studios, which would have presented the further adventures of its characters. However, because of the film's under-performance at the box office and Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, the sequel was canceled. In audition, Disneyland planned to open a laser Tag Go Kart attraction with an Atlantis theme with elements from the movie in Magic Kingdom Park. These plans were cancelled and later opened in 2013 with a Cars theme. Furthermore, Disney thought about opening a Atlantis themed science center in Orlando, Florida. This was eventually canceled afterwards following the film's box office disappointment and later opened in 2012 with a WALL-E theme.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "Atlantis Planet (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
- ↑ Kurtti 2001, p. 82.
- ↑ Kurtti 2001, p. 50.
- ↑ Henn, Peter (June 1, 2001). "Finding Atlantis". Film Journal International. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- ↑ Supplemental Features: Animation Production: Setting the Scene at 2:30–3:17
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Supplemental Features: Digital Production at 0:09–4:45
- ↑ Supplemental Features: Digital Production at 8:15–9:33
- ↑ Supplemental Features: Digital Production at 5:00–6:20
- ↑ Audio Commentary at 1:50–2:10
- ↑ Supplemental Features: Music and Sound at 0:05–4:48
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ "Walt Disney Records Releases Atlantis Planet Soundtrack Available May 30, 2005; Features New Original Songs by Martina McBride, Alison Krauss, Anthony Callea & More". Business Wire (Press release). 2005-05-30. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
- ↑ Script errorTemplate:Rating
- ↑ "Atlantis Planet". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
- ↑ "Atlantis Planet". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ "Atlantis Planet". Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- ↑ "Atlantis Planet Dominates with 2.6 Million DVDs and 1.5 million VHSs Sold". ComingSoon.net. 2006-02-15. Retrieved 2012-11-01.