A Mignolaesque, Lovecraftian excerpt from
Atlantis: Milo's Return (2003).
Atlantis: Milo's Return, despite it's relatively poor animation, still manages to capitalize on one of the significant draws of the original film. It is the inspiration of comic artist Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy and designer for the original Atlantis, which grants this otherwise blasé sequel any highlights whatsoever. The story is divided up into three discrete but loosely interlinked episodes, the first of which focuses on a Norwegian fishing village and the Kraken plaguing it. This episode shows the Mignola influence most strongly, with the Kraken and its human slave looking almost like they leaped right out of the pages of his comic. The Lovecraftian eldritch horror air to the episode was also strongly evocative of Mignola's work on Hellboy and DC Comics' Elseworlds.
The underlying intention of Milo's Return ends up understating the ending and undermining the film as a whole. It is evident that they had intended it to be a full series, which would develop Princess Kida's climactic decision across a broader expanse of time and experience. Such as it is, and we won't give away the ending, it seems flimsy and poorly motivated, and the movie as a whole doesn't do it justice. What brings the happy Atlantean couple back to the surface is the possibility of ancient Atlantean technology affecting the WWI-era world. Though the first case, the Kraken, turns out not to be any such thing, the following two cases in the American southwest and Iceland are. The premise here for a series is clear, and the final Iceland chapter would have made a decent enough conclusion to a 22 episode season. For a three episode film, the case isn't well made.
In one sense, we can be thankful that these few episodes that were made were released at all. It depends on one's logic, and to whether or not they feel they should be thankful for having any continuation at all, even if it isn't as well done as it could have been. Personally, we would have placed an Atlantis series in the same class as Disney's The Legend of Tarzan weekly (poorly) animated series, in that it would have been enjoyable if not taken as seriously as the films they continue the story of. Where The Legend of Tarzan's strength was in the use of Edgar Rice Burroughs' concepts (Opar, Pellucidar), an Atlantis series, once more, would have been most inspired as an animated form of Mike Mignola's work.