The world created in Atlantis was unique and well-thought out. Let’s take a quick look at the world created.
Backgrounds and Inspiration
The background painters of Atlantis manage to create a vibrant and rich backdrop for the movie. They utilize color theory and the psychology of color to set a mood with each scene. They paid close attention to creating a full and deep world in the architecture and murals.
When creating the world of Atlantis, the artists went on location to places like New Mexico’s caves to gather inspiration and get a “feel” for how they wanted the underground portions of the movie to feel.
A lot of thought was put into the creation of the world and cultures of Atlantis. Lead animators didn’t want a stereotypical Greco-Roman world, but a unique and rich culture that could reflect the Atlantean heritage and origin.
They used inspiration from different Asian civilizations and Mayan architecture to develop a primitive-yet-advanced society that is identifiable and unique. (If you have the opportunity to study ancient Asian civilizations, you’ll quickly realize the only thing “primitive” about them is they are in the past. The achievements of Indian, Cambodian, Chinese, and many other civilizations is incredible. And to think they accomplished so much without power tools? Wow!)
From there, Mike Mignola did concept sketches that were then fleshed out and used to create the final architectural style.
Creating the World
The creators of the movie wanted to visit and explore the world of Atlantis. A world described in Plato’s writing, and visited in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. With that idea in mind, they researched and learned and gathered as much material as they could. Choosing the era of the turn of the century, adding in steampunk elements that harken back to Verne’s writings.
Straying from the traditional Disney film motif, they created an ensemble cast and held back on making musical numbers.
The most interesting thing about this movie really is the world-building. They spared no expenses, even going so far as to create a language. (Which I touch on in Part One)
They first created the idea for Atlantis in 1996, and after Hunchback of Notre Dame was released in 1998, they began to work on it. Three years later, in 2001, Atlantis: The Lost Empire was released.
While doing more research into the movie, I found it interesting that it received poor reviews from critics and some people view the movie as a trainwreck. Looking at the film artistically — the style of the animation, the cinematography, and the world-building — I believe this film is a work of art.
What do you think? Do you agree with the critics? Why or why not?
What about the world of Atlantis do you find striking?
This movie influenced me creatively as a child. Did it influence you? In what ways?