Atlantis: Milo's Return also known as Atlantis 2: Milo's Return is a 2003 American animated science fiction film. It is a sequel to the film Atlantis: The Lost Empire and was the twentieth animated direct-to-video sequel produced by Disney, therefore it did not receive a theatrical release. It was released on DVD on May 20, 2003.
The film tells of the continuing adventures of Milo Thatch and his companions as they travel the globe investigating supernatural occurrences that may be linked to Atlantis. In the meantime, Kidagakash Nedakh, now Queen of Atlantis, contemplates how to best rule Atlantis while also exploring and understanding the surface world.
After the decline in Atlantean culture following the Great Flood, Kida (Kidagakash), now Queen, and married to Milo Thatch, is using the Heart of Atlantis to restore her city's former glory. Suddenly, Milo's comrades and Mr. Whitmore arrive in Atlantis; while their arrival is unexpected, the Atlanteans welcome their old friends. Unfortunately, they have come to inform them of mysterious forces causing trouble on the surface. They arrive in Norway and discover it is actually a creature known as the Kraken, which had been attacking shipping freighters and taking their cargo to a cliff-side village. At first they presume it to be an ancient Atlantean defense mechanism gone rogue (like the Leviathan from the previous film), but they discover that the town magistrate, Edgar Volgud, seems to be controlling the Kraken. They soon learn, though, that the Kraken itself is the master, having made a deal with Volgud. When they blow up the Kraken, the man disintegrates and restores the spirit of the village.
All the while, Kida is learning about the outside world and is adapting well. However, she still feels guilty, as there could still be other Atlantean war machines in the world causing problems, like the Leviathan. Their next mystery is in the Southwestern United States, involving coyote spirits opposing them. They later find a hidden city in Arizona contains a statue that greatly resembles Atlantean architecture. Unfortunately, a very sly shop owner, Ashton Carnaby, intends to pillage the place for its valuables, but the spirits then turn him into one of them. A Native American man, who was a medium to the spirits, trusts them with the knowledge of their sanctuary and informs Kida that she can choose Atlantis' destiny.
Returning home, the adventurers discover that one of Whitmore's old competitors, Erik Hellstrom, believing himself to be the Norse god Odin, stole one of his possessions, an ancient spear called the Gungnir, presumably an artifact of Atlantean origin. When they track him down in the frigid Nordic Mountains, he presumes Kida to be his long lost daughter and kidnaps her. His intentions are to end the world in Ragnarok. He creates a lava beast and then an ice beast to destroy the world, but well-placed explosives used by Vinny distract the monsters long enough for Kida to retrieve the spear and vanquish the beasts. During these escapades, Kida comes into a greater understanding of just how powerful the Atlantean Crystal is, and that she must choose between hiding it and sharing it with the rest of mankind.
Having retrieved the spear, Kida realizes her father was wrong to hide the Crystal from mankind. She combines the Spear with the Heart Crystal and lifts Atlantis to the surface. Two fishermen are shocked when they suddenly see an entire continent rise before them. In the end, we see Atlantis above the water for the first time in over nine-thousand years. Mr. Whitmore narrates that from then on, the world was a better place.
- James Arnold Taylor voiced King Milo James Thatch, Taylor replaces Michael J. Fox as the sequel doesn't have the theatrical release.
- Frank Welker voiced Obby and Mantell
- Clancy Brown voiced Edgar Volgud
- Jean Gilpin voiced Inger
- Kai Rune Larsen voiced a Seaman and a Gunnar
- Bill Fagerbakke voiced Sven
- Thomas F. Wilson voiced Ashton Carnaby
- Floyd Red Crow Westerman voiced Chakashi
- Jeff Bennett voiced Sam McKeane
- William Morgan Sheppard voiced Erik Hellstrom
Disney was originally in development of a more proper sequel to Atlantis: The Lost Empire called Shards of Chaos. However, the perceived box office disappointment of the first film resulted in the abandonment of the proposed sequel. At the same time, Disney was also in development of a television animated series called Team Atlantis, which was canceled as well. However, three episodes of the series had been partially completed. Instead of shelving the episodes entirely, they were combined with additional animation added to link the stories together and released as one film.
Greg Weisman, creator of the popular Disney animated series Gargoyles, served as the film's voice director. Other members from the Gargoyles series involved with the film include Victor Cook and Tad Stones as directors. Though the majority of the returning characters are once again voiced by their original voice actors, James Arnold Taylor replaced Michael J. Fox as Milo and Steve Barr replaced the late Jim Varney as Cookie. The film would be Florence Stanley's last as she passed away months after production ended.