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The Atlantis documentary of horror

A Review

Thorwald C. Franke
© January 2021

NB: The documentary is available only in its German translation.
Citations have been taken from the German translation, which is quite literal, so the English version of this review translated these citations back into English which may not fully correspond to the original English wording.

In 2006, the eight-part documentary "Quest for Atlantis: Startling New Secrets" was released with a total length of 1 h 29 min. It was produced by NBC News Productions for the Sci Fi Channel. The program is moderated by Natalie Morales and a male voice off-screen. The German version was released on February 09, 2008 under the title "Die Suche nach Atlantis: Verblüffende neue Erkenntnisse" on the channel Premiere 1. The German dubbed translation is very literal.

This documentary is the nightmare of an Atlantis documentary. Here the search for Atlantis is systematically ridiculed and discredited. This is done in the following way.

First of all, a complete misperception of Plato's Atlantis is created. Atlantis is presented as a wonderland in excessive exaggeration, in order to be able to declare it all the easier as a myth and allegory. Atlantis is called the perfection on earth, a place of beauty. The Atlanteans were supposedly immensely rich and were envied by all. The civilization of Atlantis was greater than Rome, Egypt or Greece, it is said. It is also pointed out that the Atlantis story comes from the eastern Mediterranean, where many myths and legends would have originated. The subtext is: Then Atlantis is also only a myth and a legend. Moreover, Atlantis is confused with the place of origin of mankind. From Plato it is only said that he also worked with allegories, without explaining this in more detail. So the impression arises that then also Atlantis could be only an allegory. Finally the eternally wrong assertion is presented that the search for Atlantis practically began only with Ignatius Donnelly. On the basis of this completely false picture of Atlantis, this documentary then unfolds.

The docu focuses on two expeditions to Atlantis by supposedly "leading experts": an expedition by the esoteric Cayce Foundation near Bimini led by Greg Little, and Robert Sarmast's expedition east of Cyprus. Sarmast is an amateur explorer who believes in an Atlantis around 12,000 BC. The potpourri is enriched by Michael Tsarion, who believes that the Atlanteans were aliens whose destructive "bloodline" still flows in the veins of aristocrats, capitalists and Freemasons. Or by Zecharia Sitchin, who also believes in aliens. Or by Alex Chionetti, who looks for Atlantis in the Antarctica, misinterprets the Piri Reis map, and believes in an earth axis shift. Very briefly Erich von Däniken is also shown.

In other words, the typical Atlantis searcher is an esoteric, he believes in extraterrestrials, and he has completely questionable ideas. Only for fractions of a second Santorini is also mentioned. This means that serious attempts to interpret the Atlantis story realistically are faded out. There is no mention of the Minoan culture, no mention of the Egyptian culture, and no mention of the time of the Sea Peoples Wars. There is also not a second of historical-critical thinking, because the date of 9000 years before Solon's and Plato's time is not questioned.

The documentary does not hesitate to present the Atlantis searchers as ridiculous: Only stones are found on Bimini that may be anchor stones, but in no case old enough to point to Atlantis. Robert Sarmast doesn't get beyond a computer model of the seafloor, and at the end of the documentary is still looking for more backers. Alex Chionetti supposedly has reports from a Norwegian expedition about buildings in Antarctica, but when asked where these buildings are, he only answers that he cannot reveal that ... Repeatedly the financing of the expeditions is discussed: Only finds bring funding, i.e. a whiff of money-making is in the air. The researchers are also attributed false ambition (which they partly actually have): They want to write history, everyone wants to be the first, and so on.

Also the language style of the documentary openly makes fun of the Atlantis searchers. For example, it says that Robert Sarmast is "funnily enough" just as sure of finding Atlantis as Greg Little. Repeatedly the Atlantis searchers are called "adventurers". The closing sentence of the documentary is that the search for Atlantis will always go on "by romantics and adventurers carried by the strength of their convictions. People of whom Plato would have been proud." It is hardly likely that Plato would have been proud of Atlantis searchers of the irrational variety.

In such a documentary, of course, "the Nazis" must not be omitted. "The Nazis had appropriated Atlantis and tried to portray Atlantis as the home of a white, superior race," says Laura Little, wife of Greg Little. Off-camera murmurs, "Why did Hitler have such an obsessive search for Atlantis?" Finally, author Heather Pringle says, "In the eyes of many Nazis, the mystical homeland was the Aryan race." Hörbiger's "world-ice" theory would also have been believed by "the Nazis." And "the Nazis" of course sent expeditions all over the world to search for Atlantis. Thus the tale of this documentary.

But in truth "the Nazis" had nothing at all to do with Atlantis. Hitler mocked Atlantis searchers. Only single National Socialists, e.g. Heinrich Himmler, believed in Atlantis, but that largely only for themselves privately. A few expeditions had more or less to do with Atlantis, but most did not. So also the much-mentioned Tibet expedition not. The documentary presents it as if the search for Atlantis had been started by Hitler, and Hitler had assigned Himmler with the search. This is complete nonsense. The conclusion of the documentary: "For many years the search for Atlantis was discredited by the evil machinations of the researchers of the Third Reich." The misperception of the (non-)relationship between National Socialism and Atlantis, which is also reproduced in this documentary, actually had this effect. In this respect, this documentary is a case of self-fulfilling prophecy that has nothing to do with the reality of National Socialism.

As a scientific Atlantis skeptic, Ken Feder is repeatedly interjected, whose arguments are mainly directed against Atlantis hypotheses of the kind presented. Of course, in the course of the documentary one can only agree with Ken Feder again and again: Esotericism, extraterrestrials etc. pp. are nonsense. But the presented Atlantis searchers are just not the "leading experts", as the documentary falsely asserts. The docu also boldly claims, "Our search for Atlantis will be the first attempt to put all the pieces together." Sigh! At one point a picture of the temple of Atlantis is shown and it is claimed that this is what the temple of Atlantis looked like according to Plato's descriptions. But Plato does not say much about the appearance of the temple. On a side note, the bust that is superimposed on the quotes from Plato is not Plato's bust. This documentary didn't even get that correct.


This documentary paints a completely false picture of Plato and of Atlantis and of the question whether Atlantis could be a real place. Rather, the search for Atlantis is systematically ridiculed. Moreover, by presenting a completely false picture of the relationship between National Socialism and Atlantis, a dark shadow is cast over the search for Atlantis, especially since the hypotheses presented about extraterrestrials also have racial overtones. If the perspective of the documentary had been to illuminate the pseudoscience surrounding the Atlantis question, it would have been fine. But as a documentary about the search for Atlantis in general, it is a documentary of horror.        Contents Overview
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