Monday, February 3, 2020

Atlantis: The Lost Empire - James Garner Blogathon

Back in November, I wrote a series of posts about Disney villains called Disnovember about my favorite villain songs, deaths, and the like.  Only a few villains made more than one list, but there was one bad guy that showed up on three lists: Best villain death, best villain portrayal, and best overall villain and that was none other than Lyle Tiberius Rourke.  As the commander of the expedition to Atlantis, Rourke led two hundred men into the ocean depths with a cool and collected demeanor, even remaining calm when attacked by a giant mechanical leviathan. That composure didn’t falter, even in the second half of the film when his true nature as a plunderer came through and he was exposed as the film’s villain.

Rourke was played perfectly James Garner, being both the friendly commander watching over his crew and the back-stabbing thief throwing his second-in-command overboard.  I’m not too familiar with his work outside of the Rockford Files and Maverick (both of which I haven’t seen much of), but I only knew him as a good guy, so during his heel-turn after finding Atlantis’s treasure, I was pretty shocked.  After that point, his portrayal gets an almost excited energy, though I’d imagine it would be hard not to have that if you were about to become a millionaire.
Even at the very end, when he’s killing his lieutenant Audrey and trying to do the same to the hero Milo, Garner starts to have some real fun in the role, spouting off some of his best lines in the film.  In my best villain portrayal list, I state that his final lines in the movie are my absolute favorite – “I consider myself an even-tempered man. It takes a lot to get under my skin, but congratulations, you just won the solid-gold kewpie doll.” 


His death is one of my favorites as he effectively suffers two of them. Sliced by the magic-infused glass encasing the treasure of Atlantis, his body is transformers into crystal. Even still, he survives the transformation, only to be shattered to pieces by the rotor of his hot air balloon.  Heck, if Atlantis was a musical, I bet his signature song would have been my favorite as well.
Overall, I placed Rourke as my number 1 Disney villain and it’s in no small part that James Garner brought him up that high.  The slow hinting of Rourke’s ulterior motives, his willingness to abandon his former colleagues underground, to attack Atlantis’s king which led to his death, and then to turn against his most trusted partner is a thrill to watch.
"I love it when I win," indeed.
This post was written as part of the Realweegiemidget Reviews's James Garner Blogathon. Makes sure to visit the site and read the rest of the entries here.

6 comments:

  1. Nice Article!! I somehow missed this one. I have to search it out. Thanks.

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  2. It was a shocker for me when Rourke's true villainous nature was revealed. I was watching with my daughter back in those days when we were both younger and rented movies from Blockbuster. To this day she will still tease me about my reaction.

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    1. I was really surprised too! Especially when it looked like all of the crew were going to turn in Milo as well. Glad they changed their minds.

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  3. Great choice for the James Garner Blogathon! When I discovered, on the participant list, that you would be talking about this movie, I knew I had to read your article, especially since Atlantis: The Lost Empire is my favorite Disney movie! As a fan of this movie, I would like to point out that Rourke's lieutenant is Helga, not Audrey. Audrey was the official mechanic on the expedition. If you want to learn more about James Garner's films, you can check out my review of 'Promise'! Here's the link:

    https://18cinemalane.wordpress.com/2020/02/05/take-3-hallmark-hall-of-fames-promise-review/

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  4. Man, how did I miss that?! I'll correct it, thank you!

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  5. Hi there, thanks for joining with this movie. It was great to learn of this role as its lovely to know the actor behind the voice.

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