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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Atlantis 2: Milo's Return
Atlantis 2: Milo's Return
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG // May 20, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 14, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Disney's direct-to-video animated fare has never been particularly well-regarded. Operating with lower budgets and less time, a few of these features have turned out well, but most seem like rushed attempts to capitalize on well-known theatrical features from the studio rather than start up new franchises with original characters.

In the case of "Atlantis II: Milo's Return", the studio has managed to attract most of the original talent back, including Cree Summer, John Mahoney and Jacqueline Obradors. Michael J. Fox, who voiced adventurer Milo in the first film, is voiced by James Taylor. "Milo's Return" opens right after the first film, with Milo (Taylor) and Kida (Summer) happily living in Atlantis. Soon enough, they're joined by Milo's friends from the first picture, Audrey (Jacqueline Obradors), Preston Whitmore (John Mahoney), Moliere (Corey Burton), Vinny (Don Novello, once again providing the laughs with great delivery), Packard (Florence Stanley), Dr. Sweet (Phil Morris), and Cookie (Steven Barr). The team of adventurers share tales of a sea creature, which Kida thinks could be an ancient construction built to protect Atlantis. Upon further investigation, they think it may have ties to a creepy village.

The second and third stories are more of the same, only in different locations. In the second story, the gang travels to the American Southwest to investigate a series of sand coyote attacks. The third piece revolves around a missing spear and a snow creature. The fact that most of the voice talent returned certainly worked in favor of "Milo's Return", as they did quite a bit with less-than-engaging material. Although Taylor wasn't as good as Michael J. Fox as Milo, he provided an adequate replacement.

The stories were decent enough. Although I found them to be predictable, unoriginal and fairly bland, kids should find the twists and turns mildly involving. The addition of a little dinosaur creature is clearly meant to appeal to kids, and the action of this feature feels more toned-down.

Unfortunately, the animation is also a considerable dropoff in comparison to the original feature. Characters look considerably less detailed than they did in the original, while movements also aren't as smooth or realistic. While the differences in budget would make this understandable, aspects of the animation here (especially the little dinosaur thing) barely reached the level of Saturday Morning fare. While "Milo's Return" had some positive aspects, it was mediocre overall - while not the worst of Disney's direct-to-video animated fare, it wasn't memorable, either.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Atlantis: Milo's Return" is presented by Disney in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation capably presented the so-so animation. Sharpness and detail were rather good, although some lines appeared rather jagged (although that could have been an element of the animation). Some light edge enhancement appeared, but no compression artifacts were spotted. The show's somewhat vivid color palette was presented well, with decent saturation and no concerns.

SOUND: "Atlantis: Milo's Return" is presented by Disney in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 on this release. Given that the first film featured the work of extraordinary sound designer Gary Rydstrom ("Saving Private Ryan", "Toy Story", "Finding Nemo"), I really wasn't expecting much from the audio experience of this smaller sequel. However, the sequel's sound design was rather enjoyable, with a fair amount of surround effects and satisfactory dynamic range.

EXTRAS: The DVD's only supplements are a deleted scene, an interactive game and Disney's usual handful of trailers for other titles.

Final Thoughts: "Milo's Return" passed along quickly enough, but I didn't find these three adventures compelling and the animation was barely Saturday morning level. Maybe worth a rental for those who were fans of the first film, but I wouldn't recommend a purchase (especially at the high $29.99 price).

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