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Everything's hotter under the water in Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Much of the movie's success can be attributed to the richness of its research and development, which include many historically accurate touches (people kvetching about supernatural weapons being sold to "the Kaiser") as well as a functional Atlantean language devised by Marc Okrand, the linguist responsible (to blame?) for such Star Trek languages as Klingon and Vulcan. Speaking of Star Trek, a rather raspy Leonard Nimoy turns up here as the morose King of Atlantis, with the late Jim Varney balancing him out in a saucy performance as Cookie, purveyor of "the four basic food groups: beans, bacon, whiskey and lard."

Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire is full of Jules Verne-style designs and Victorian charm.
Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire is full of Jules Verne-style designs and Victorian charm.

There's range to Atlantis, and insight, and verve, and that's why it works. It only seems extravagant to heap such praise on a cartoon until one considers this pivotal line from Preston Whitmore: "Our lives are remembered by the gifts we leave our children." If only more billionaires felt that way and more studios produced such fine entertainment.

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