The legendary lost city of Atlantis is one of the most frequently revisited elements of the ancient lore that has fascinated humans for centuries. The idea of a city that could exist beneath the depths of the ocean is thrilling to imagine, so it’s no surprise that Hollywood filmmakers have returned there for inspiration time and time again.
The City Buried in Water has made its way into numerous films throughout cinematic history, including some very recognizable properties. But some of these films are better than others at taking the viewer on a magnificent underwater journey to the lost city.
ten Atlantis: Milo’s Return (Rating: 5.1)
The direct-to-video sequel to Atlantis: The Lost Empire, released in 2001, disappointed fans of the original, as did many Disney sequels. Several of the original cast members did not return for the second film, and the city of Atlantis was not presented with as much reverence as it was in the first original film.
The film took the form of three loosely connected separate segments in a feature film, originally intended to be three first episodes of a Atlantis TV series that never aired. Overall, the film had very little impact, being mostly overlooked by moviegoers.
9 Warlords Of The Deep (Rating: 5.6)
British cinema Warlords of the Deep premiered in 1978 and followed the adventures of a professor and his son as they attempt to prove the existence of Atlantis. However, when they finally begin to find clues to its existence, they are attacked by sea monsters and betrayed by their crew. Eventually, the protagonists reach the legendary city.
There’s not much about this film that has stuck in the public eye since its release. However, it is remarkable to include a pre-Cheers John Ratzenberger in his cast as one of the mutineers. In addition to Cheers, Razenberg is known to have appeared in every Pixar movie to date. His appearance in Warlords of the Deep remains one of the few things to note about this almost forgotten film.
8 Voyage 2: The Mysterious Island (Score: 5.8)
The sequel to the 2008 reboot of Journey to the Center of the Earth saw Dwayne Johnson step into the shoes of Brendan Fraser at the helm of the franchise. Joined by Vanessa Anne Hudgens and Josh Hutcherson, Johnson’s character searched for the land of Atlantis as it emerged from the ocean for the first time in 70 years.
Despite average to negative reviews, Trip 2 proved to be a financial success and was even planned to have two sequels, the first of which would see the main characters travel to the moon. However, years passed and nothing else from the franchise materialized.
seven Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (Rating: 6.3)
The third part of Hotel Transylvania The franchise saw the monsters, led by Adam Sandler’s Drac, cruise to the city of Atlantis, which is apparently a monster vacation destination. Their arrival there reveals that the town has been turned into a casino, a surprisingly different take on the legend than other depictions.
Although the film received rather lukewarm reviews, it made enough money to get a fourth film approved by Sony Pictures Animation, which should mark the end of the franchise. Perhaps the Atlantis Casino will make another appearance in the sequel.
6 Ice Age: Continental Drift (rating: 6.5)
The fourth Ice Age The film saw Manny and the gang embark on a journey to reunite with their loved ones after the titular geological event separated them. However, this B-story edition of the franchise featuring Scrat the Squirrel is where Atlantis comes in.
In the world of Ice Age, Atlantis is called “Scratlantis”, a land filled with millions of acorns that Scrat so desperately seeks. However, the prehistoric squirrel’s greed gets the better of him and he ends up accidentally sinking the town under the ocean in his haste to reassemble his career, leaving him empty-handed as always.
5 Cocoon (Score: 6.7)
Directed by Ron Howard Cocoon is a science fiction film released in 1985. The comedy-drama depicts the city of Atlantis as an alien outpost that was abandoned after sinking under the ocean. The film follows aliens left behind in their desperate attempt to return home, while exploring the concept of ageism in society.
Cocoon won two Oscars for the year of its release, one of which was Best Visual Effects for a team that included Ralph McQuarrie, the man responsible for much of the star wars franchise aesthetic. The film was highly praised by critics and fans alike, and even got a sequel three years later, making the ’80s film a prime candidate for a reboot.
4 Atlantis: The Lost Empire (Rating: 6.9)
by Disney Atlantis: The Lost Empire is one of the company’s less acclaimed anime adventures, but beloved by its faithful. It depicts an expedition to discover the lost empire of Atlantis, which many believe never existed. However, when the crew finally arrives on this earth, some of them become too greedy for their own good and attempt to harness the city’s power for themselves.
This 2001 film had an impressive cast, with Michael J. Fox in the lead role of Professor Milo James Thatch, John Mahony of fraser fame and Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock of star trek, complementing the voice talent. The film was not as successful as Disney’s other ventures, but remains one of the best cinematic portrayals of the lost city of Atlantis of all time.
3 Aquaman (Rating: 6.9)
Aquaman follows the titular superhero, played by Jason Momoa, as he reluctantly struggles to win the throne of Atlantis from his half-brother, Orm. In this film, Atlantis is depicted as a thriving metropolis filled with humanoid citizens who can breathe underwater, as well as sentient (and drum-playing) underwater creatures.
Aquaman came as a surprise to many superhero fans in 2018. After the box office disappointment of Justice League the previous year, few expected the previously less popular Aquaman to fare much better in his first solo DCEU film. However, the film exceeded expectations, becoming DC’s highest-grossing film to date, and it is considered one of Jason Momoa’s best films.
2 Journey to the Center of the Earth (Rating: 7.0)
The version of Journey to the Center of the Earth released in 1959 is a stellar adaptation of Jules Verne’s original novel, sparking remakes for the rest of the century, and even into the next. Featuring stars such as James Mason, Pat Boone, Diane Baker and many more, the film set a standard for Verne adaptations.
In a twist on the original legend, the variant of the lost city of Atlantis depicted in this film sits at the very center of the earth (according to the film’s name). The main group of adventurers gather in and around this sunken city for the film’s third act, in which they must survive the attack of a giant lizard, a thrilling conclusion to a classic movie.
1 20,000 leagues under the sea (rating: 7.2)
by Disney 20000 Leagues Under the Sea film released in 1954 is also an adaptation of a novel by Jules Verne. Starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason and Paul Lukas, the film depicts adventures beneath the ocean waves, only one of which encounters the city of Atlantis.
The film was a major hit in its day, praised for its special effects, cast, and faithful adaptation of the source material. It remains in the public eye even to this day, with a spin-off origin series around Captain Nemo currently in production.
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