If you'll let me get this off my chest first, I promise I'll be more coherent later in this entry: Disney's Atlantis is similar in its retelling to Fushigi no Umi no Nadia (Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water) which appeared on Japan's NHK in 1990. Suspiciously similar, when you consider Disney's track record of creative "leveraging" of foreign conceptualizations. OK, done now.
Atlantis is, taken on its own merits, a great little film: immersive, detailed, engaging, well-voiced, and creative in animation. As usual, the character development is first-rate, and the storyline coherent and hyperactive, and I am happy to recommend it and to include it in my small pantheon of worthwhile American animation.
For you linguists out there, you might be pleased to know that Mark Okrand (of Klingon language fame) developed the Atlantean script, which is featured prominently in the film.
At this point, I have to digress; as it's one of my personal failings that my mind wanders the first time I see a film in the theatre, I have yet to see the Atlantis a second time so that I could pick up the nuances of the story and animation.
As a culture, we have become so accustomed to making choices (often to the extreme that we become victims of too much choice) that we have forgotten the importance of being chosen. In fact, the last time I even saw a reference to being chosen, it was a generation ago, on a bumper sticker in a church parking lot which read "Awana" -- which I took to mean "appointed workers are not ashamed". Even today, there's a disturbing revisionist trend in neo-pagans and New Agers to feel that one chooses, or has the right to choose, a totem animal. One does no such thing; in no culture possessing a totemic structure that I know of do the humans have any choice in their affiliation, but rather take deliberate and often dangerous actions to open themselves up, to attract the attention of a totem, and they become affiliated with the one, if any, that responds. Sometimes it's no surprise. Sometimes it is.
How did I get to this point ? Perhaps thinking of the requisite hard work in their respective fields that Joseph Sweet, Moliere, Vinny, and Milo did to be hand-chosen for the expedition to Atlantis; perhaps a corner of a frequent musing that love itself is a dispensation: wham, this is for you, take it or leave it. Hmm, what's that ? You don't think you deserve this love ? Tough. It's not karma, dipstick. You get what you get, and deserve don't enter into it. Sign for it or hit the road.