MoviesWhy Disney's Atlantis Was An Underappreciated Gem

Why Disney’s Atlantis Was An Underappreciated Gem

If you ask anyone what their favorite Disney movie is, the vast majority will answer with one of the many animated classics: The Lion KingAladdin, Beauty and the Beast, or The Little Mermaid. And, of course, those movies are all great and deserve to be in the conversation. But, you know what movie is virtually never mentioned? Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

And, that’s why we’re here; that’s why you’re reading this right now. I’m here to convince you that Atlantis was an underrated animated gem that deserves more love.

While it may not have pulled in the same big numbers as the other Disney animated classics at the box office upon its initial run, it still managed to sell $186M worth of movie tickets on its estimated $120M budget.

The Cast Featured Some of Our Favorite Actors

atlantis characters

The biggest selling point for Atlantis: The Lost Empire is the draw of Michael J. Fox to its cast – who signed on to play the leading role of Milo Thatch. Right off the heels of the release of Back to the Future Part III, Michael J. Fox was a hot draw at the time. But he was just the base of the meal, here. The voice cast was loaded with a handful of fan-favorite actors that would take the film to the 5-course territory.

Star Trek‘s Leonard Nimoy—best known as Spock— for one, played the Atlantean King. Ernest, himself, aka Jim Varney voiced Cookie. Seasoned veteran actor James Garner voiced Rourke. And then there was Phil Morris (he was the hilarious lawyer from Seinfeld that any fan of the show would recognize).

The film was loaded with great vocal talents who were beloved by fans. If you were to tell me 30 years ago that Spock would star in an animated movie for Disney, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. But he did that, and we have Atlantis to thank for it.

It Was an Interesting Take on The City of Atlantis

Atlantis the lost empire animation

One thing I always appreciated about Disney’s Atlantis was that it didn’t give the city of Atlantis a heavenly design. Instead of large white pillars and gold accents, Disney gave us a more King’s Landing-esque design infused with advanced technology. And, as a kid, I thought it was super cool (admittedly, still do).

Something that was working in Disney’s favor for this film is that Plato’s Atlantis—the “real” Atlantis that the movie is based on—almost certainly never existed, meaning that writers and animators could really create their own Atlantis and implement their own creative ideas. This allowed the creative team to capture our imaginations with their own fun ideas of what a futuristic settlement from the past might look like.

The creators made the city of Atlantis feel like something that was somehow the past and the future simultaneously, which really contributed to the movie’s intrigue. While the city itself looked like something out of an ancient civilization, it was infused with technology and flying vehicles. Cool, right?

The Animation Was New

atlantis leviathon

Atlantis: The Lost Empire was one of the first Disney movies to make use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) extensively. The movie blended traditional animation with CGI to create a unique and visually stunning world that was unlike anything audiences had seen before. The attention to detail and the intricate character designs and settings were just the icing on the cake.

This new combination animation gave Atlantis a unique vibe that helped it stand out among other animated films released around its time.

Where to Watch Atlantis: The Lost Empire

If you’re looking to stream this classic adventure, there are a few different options available to you. Here’s how to stream Disney’s Atlantis online.


Disney+ is the official streaming platform for all things Disney, including Atlantis. If you’re not already a subscriber, you’ll need to sign up for a Disney+ account first. The service offers a free trial period, so you can test it out before committing to a subscription.

Once you’ve signed up for Disney+, you can search for Atlantis in the platform’s library. You can either search for it by name or browse through the “Animation” category to find it. Once you’ve located the film, you can click on it to start streaming.

Stream Atlantis: The Lost Empire Now

Amazon Prime Video

You can buy or rent Atlantis on Amazon Prime Video, starting at $3.99. To do so, simply navigate to the Prime Video section of the Amazon website or app. From there, you can search for Atlantis and choose whichever option you’re looking for.

Buy it on Amazon to Stream

iTunes and Google Play

Both iTunes and Google Play offer digital rentals and purchases of Disney’s Atlantis. To rent or purchase the film on either platform, simply search for it in the store and choose the rental or purchase option. Check your respective app store for more details.

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Bobby Bernstein
Bobby is the Co-Owner of Nerd Much?. He's the former Games Editor and current Shopping Editor at, former Editor in Chief of Den of Geek, and former bylines at HiConsumption, Slickdeals,, and more! He is also on Opencritic. He has been writing about nerdy stuff on the web for over 10 years. The best way to reach him is on Twitter.

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