Disaster! BBC to re-create the sinking of Atlantis a la 300

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

Want to know how Atlantis got "lost" in the first place? Well, the BBC has announced it is going to dig into the story of "the greatest natural disaster to shake the ancient world" through a 300-style film and a companion documentary.

Atlantis is the story of the Minoans, the first great civilization who lived on the island of Crete. The island was flooded by enormous tsunamis after a gigantic volcano erupted in the Aegean Sea and obliterated the nearby island of Thera. The film uses the work of leading scientists, archaeologists and historians to build a scenario for what the Minoans' civilization might have looked like.

"Atlantis will immerse the viewer in a world they've never seen before, in a brand-new, exciting way," said executive producer Ailsa Orr (Pompeii—The Last Day). "The world of the Minoans and the disaster that wiped them out has been created using visual effects that have, to date, only ever been used in Hollywood movies. It offers our audiences a unique viewing experience—the closest they'll ever get to one of the greatest natural disasters of all time."

Atlantis will be shot in a studio against a green screen, combining virtual and real sets to create a unique look. While Atlantis is the first British drama to go virtual, television series such as Syfy's Sanctuary and Starz's Spartacus use this technique to get a distinctive visual style along the lines of the groundbreaking visual film feasts that are 300 and Sin City.

The filmmakers promise that Atlantis will bring viewers "face to face" with the spectacularly tragic events the Minoans had to endure, from the early earthquakes to the volcanic eruptions to the massive tsunamis. The drama will air on BBC One and stars Reece Ritchie (The Lovely Bones) and Stephanie Leonida (MirrorMask).

In a companion documentary, historian Bettany Hughes explores the Atlantis myth and uses Plato's account of what happened to Atlantis as evidence of the eruption. The documentary will air on BBC Two.

Along with Orr, Michael Mosley (Pompeii - The Last Day) also executive-produces, while Tony Mitchell (Primeval) directs. There's no word yet on when the film and the documentary will air.

Are you ready to see what the sinking of Atlantis looks like, at least virtually?

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