Atlantis - The Lost Empire
(DVD/Region: 2)


Starring: Michael J. Fox, James Garner, et al.
Kirk Wise Gary Trousdale

Walt Disney Home Video
Run Time: 95 minutes
Edition Details: Region 2 encoding (Europe, Middle East & Japan only), Animated, PAL

The biggest problem with the Atlantis: Lost Empire DVD is that it is pan 'n' scan, which is a major disappointment since unlike most animated movies, Atlantis has a theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. (Shrek, for instance was 1.85:1.) In English? It means that Atlantis has been formatted to fit your entire TV screen so that there are no black bars at the top and bottom to make the picture smaller.

If you say this represents no problem, then you really shouldn't be owning a DVD player - because it means that you are not seeing the whole movie because the sides of the picture have been lobbed off. Seeing movies in wide screen as they were meant to by their makers is one of the reasons why I own a DVD player and not having this option to view this movie like it was shown in cinemas (cinema screens are stretched more out horizontally than your TV screen) is a major letdown.

I'd bet that Disney probably cynically argued that people who'd want to see Atlantis would probably be an unsophisticated lot. Try explaining aspect ratio to your kids while they are bawling about why the image is squashed, they probably shrugged. A valid argument perhaps, but then they should have at least have given one a two-disc set - one with the pan 'n' scan version and the other in wide screen or something.

That said, the transfer is still pretty clear and the picture quality is simply stunning. While the pan 'n' scan transfer lets one have an, er, up close view of the artwork, proceedings do feel somewhat claustrophobic at times. There're some special features like a directors' commentary and some featurettes. But the disc seems schizophrenic since some of them are aimed at geeks and others at kids.

WORTH IT? Your kids may want it (it is a Disney movie after all), but to be honest I can't see them watching it endlessly the way they no doubt did The Lion King, Shrek and Bug's Life. There is a Two-Disc Collector's Edition that seems to be a better bet than this one.

RECOMMENDATION: Buy it if your kids have tired of Shrek (what are the odds?) and they are getting restless . . .




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