Hey! Hallie here!
Coming right out of the disaster that was the ‘Mulan’ remake, I happened to revisit one of my favorite underrated Disney films also available on Disney+. Of course I mean ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’. Between it’s hilarious side-characters, it’s underdog hero, it’s awesome female lead, and it’s amazing visuals, there’s not much not to love in this movie. There’s also one glaringly obvious thing many notice when they watch the movie. Much of it already feels like a live action film. The action within the movie feels much more like a modern action movie than a Disney animated feature, and the characters are written more like real people than most of the movies Disney came out with during this time. So what’s stopping them from actually making this a live action film? I honestly don’t know. Rumors that Disney has been working on a live action adaptation have been floating around for years. Sometimes the creatives behind ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’ have gotten involved in the conversation, some hopeful and others…not so much. Regardless, this movie could really use a remake. Let’s go through the reasons why.
Kida: I’m not just putting Kida up here because she’s amazing. She is, but there’s something that a remake of this movie really could do for her. It could give her more of a personality. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kida. However, if I’m being honest here, we don’t get a whole lot of her throughout the movie. At the beginning of the movie we see her as a small child while Atlantis is being attacked. Then she appears again half-way through to meet Milo. She goes with Milo to figure out a few things about her past, the two of them get caught by the main villains, and then Kida basically becomes the Heart of Atlantis. For the entire rest of the movie she is a silent blue deity. She’s powerful, sure, but none of her personality comes through. By the time the movie ends, Kida has spent half of her time on screen as an object for the heroes and villains to play keep-away with. Not to mention, she was only in about half of the movie to begin with. What we do see of Kida’s personality is engaging and we need more of it. A live-action remake could provide that. The longer screen time a live action remake provides gives the audience more than enough time to get to know Kida a whole lot more than we did in the original.
The Side Characters: ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’ has a really entertaining cast of side characters. The movie wouldn’t be nearly as good without Sweet, Audrey, Vinny, Mole, Wilhelmina, and Cookie. On top of that, a lot of these characters are POC representation we could desperately use in live action movies right now. All of these characters are briefly explored to an extent, especially Audrey, Vinny, and Sweet, who at one point explain why they took the job to go to Atlantis in the first place. I would love to learn more about these characters, although Sweet might warn against trying to learn about Mole’s past. Still, I laughed the loudest and enjoyed myself the most when these characters were on screen. It was unfortunate the original movie didn’t have enough time to focus on these characters more. The live action remake would have more time to do just that.
Helga: Helga had all the makings of an amazing Disney villain. She was intimidating, intelligent, and absolutely untrustworthy. So why she didn’t completely turn on Rourke earlier in the movie is absolutely beyond me. She puts up a good fight against him when he inevitably turns on her, but she ultimately dies. Although she does make sure it won’t be long before he follows by shooting down his blimp with her last breath. Still, her character promised much more than what the movie actually gave us. A live action movie could make Helga the villain she deserves to be. Who needs the stereotypical greedy, old man when you can have a much more capable woman betraying him and proving herself the bigger threat? Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen a thousand villains like Rourke. Even when the movie was made he wasn’t intimidating anymore. Helga is a completely different story.
Atlantis: The world of Atlantis is beautiful. A lot of it was also animated with CG effects. With improved visual effects, especially when it comes to live action movies, a redo of Atlantis with newer technology would be absolutely stunning. There’s much of the world that could be more practical, such as the more foresty or rocky areas. Also, there’s an entire village we only briefly see Kida and Milo exploring that could absolutely be made into a colorful practical set. But when it comes to the water effects and the glowing blue ruins, todays visual effects could turn the movie into something breathtaking. I also really want to see the final conflict redone. Blimps, flying fish vehicles, and the Heart of Atlantis all inside a dormant volcano? That sounds like the most fun I’d have in the theater for the next decade.
This movie is really excellent, but there’s so much more to explore in the world of ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’. This movie is still criminally underrated. Even with the accessibility Disney+ gave it, the movie still flies under the radar. Everyone has seen ‘Mulan’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The amount of people that have seen ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’ or ‘Treasure Planet’ is significantly slimmer. Instead of redoing beloved movies that are already as close to perfection as you can get, Disney needs to take some of these movies, the ones that weren’t as well received when they were released, and make them better. Find what went wrong and grow a new audience around a previously failed franchise. Both Disney fans and people who are frankly tired of all the remakes will thank you.
Don’t do anything fun until I get back!