Lieutenant Helga Katrina Sinclair is the secondary antagonist of Disney's 2001 animated feature film Atlantis: The Lost Empire. She serves as second-in-command of the expedition to find the lost continent of Atlantis, and additionally serves as the personal assistant to Preston Whitmore.
Miss Sinclair is skilled as a coordinator and drill instructor. She also possesses an analytical mind ideally suited for strategy, tactics, or campaign planning. Her charisma, combined with her intelligence and aggressive nature, makes her an excellent trainer and enforcer.
She is the muscle behind Commander Rourke; when her commanding officer issues and order, Miss Sinclair makes it her personal business to see to it that everyone in her command follows it to the letter. She is levelheaded in a crisis (see attachment re: San Domingo, 1904) and highly skilled in many forms of small arms combat; studied Aikido in Philippines under Moreihei Ueshiba 1904-07, attaining rank of Yudansha-Yodan. Expert in disciplines of Henka Waza, Tanto Dori and Tachi Dori.
Skilled in tactical combat, knife fighting, Colt throwing knife, bo staff, kama, field tanto, katana, as well as most conventional small arms. She has been taught rifle and shotgun at Quantico, Virginia, 1911. Despite her skill, she is still far weaker than the likes of Lyle Rourke, as shown when she is embarrassingly outclassed by him in combat.
The oldest of six children (and the only girl), Miss Sinclair grew up fighting with her fists as well as her wits.
Born in Frankfurt, Germany as the daughter of career officer U.S. Army Major Alexander Sinclair. Extensive travel at an early age, as well as exposure to a variety of cultures and customs (Frankfurt 1884-87, Mannheim 1887-89, Stuttgart 1889-92, Torii Station 1892, Vicenza 1892-93, Camp Zama 1893-94, Yongsan 1894-97, Aberdeen Proving Ground, 1897-1901). Miss Sinclair exhibited exceptional athletic skill at the age of four, and was encouraged by her mother to pursue dance.
Instead, with the influence of her father and brothers, Miss Sinclair began learning the combat arts. While stationed in Maryland at age seventeen, she was introduced to Commander Rourke, and after relocating to Fort Dix, began tactics and firearms training under him at the behest of her father. Her skill impressed Commander Rourke, as well as her potential (in Rourke's opinion) as a covert agent and spy. She toured briefly with Commander Rourke in August 1903 to continue training.
Married in 1907 to U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Christopher Jenkins. Presumed widowed 1908. First approached by Whitmore Industries (at recommendation of Commander Rourke) April 1911. Took position as bodyguard and chauffeur for Preston Whitmore December 5, 1911. Currently employed in aforementioned positions by Whitmore Industries.
- “I came down the chimney. Ho, ho, ho.”
- ―Helga Sinclair
Helga participates in the expedition that locates the Shepherd's Journal in Iceland. Being Commander Rourke's most trusted ally, she is privy to his secret objective in locating a giant crystal pictured in the book and selling it on the black market for a hefty price. Whitmore sends her to retrieve Milo James Thatch so that he would step in for his deceased grandfather Thaddeus Thatch in guiding the expedition to find Atlantis.
Serving as second-in-command of the expedition, she carries out Rourke's orders and later operates the Aqua-Evac carrying the executive members of the expedition when escaping the Leviathan after it destroys the Ulysses. Upon the discovery of Atlantis as a still thriving civilization, Helga expresses hesitation about the mission now that there are living people present. Nevertheless, she continues to follow Rourke in proceeding with locating the giant crystal, discovered to be the Heart of Atlantis and the power source keeping the city alive.
She is present in witnessing Princess Kidagakash being infused with the Heart of Atlantis and is steadfast in her loyalty to Rourke after Milo pleads with the rest of the expedition to reconsider their actions. She and Rourke are on the Gyro-Evac that would carry them and the crystal back to the surface when Milo and the others return to engage in battle.
After Milo crashes his Ketak into one of the balloons, it begins to descend. After emptying the Gyro-Evac in an attempt to lighten the load, Rourke suddenly tries to throw her off to get the balloon ascending. Helga manages to swing back on and kick him around for breaking their partnership, but Rourke grabs her foot and with the words "nothing personal" he throws her off the balloon making her fall from an enormous height. She manages to survive long enough to get even with Rourke by firing a flare gun at the main balloon, thereby preventing him from ascending any further to the surface. As added irony, she also repeated Rourke's final words to her just prior to firing her gun.
While her exact moment of death is not witnessed, she is presumed dead given the circumstances of having been thrown from an extraordinary height. If not, she was consumed by the lava once the volcano erupted. Her ex-partners almost ended up believing her body was crushed by the fiery remains of the zeppelin, but Cookie accidentally revealed her true fate during the debriefing before Audrey nudged him to keep quiet. It is now believed that she is missing in action and presumably still alive.
Helga was created to be the femme fatale of the group of characters in the film. She had to appear graceful as Whtimore's personal assistant while also being a tough-as-nails commander during the expedition. Writer Tab Murphy noted her conception was influenced by noir films, harking back to those featuring the likes of Humphrey Bogart interacting with a platinum blonde or a smoking, mysterious babe.
The filmmakers believed Helga was a chance for them to design a character that would appear straight from a comic book. For her illustrations to evoke the graphic art style, she was animated and cleaned-up almost exclusively at the animation studio in Paris. This was an interesting case as all of the other characters were animated and cleaned-up at the Burbank studio, meaning the filmmakers had to pay extra attention that her animation fit seamlessly with the others when previewing her scenes.
The supervising animator of Helga was Yoshimichi Tamura. A French-Japanese animator working at the Paris studio at the time, he added influences of the anime style of animation and design into the character. The voice of Helga was performed by Claudia Christian. Helga was one of the few characters with a performer hired to do video reference for the animators in Dawn Heusser.
- Helga is, so far, the only blonde female Disney villain.
- She is the youngest female Disney villain to date, being roughly the same age as Milo.
- Despite Helga hitting the ground from a great height, there is no blood or gore visible. It is likely the blood or gore was censored as it would be disturbing for young children.
- There is an anachrorism goof when Helga takes Milo to see Mr. Whitmore as she is seen wearing a black gala dress. These dresses didn't exist in the 1910s and would not be worn until about the 1930s.
- "Milo James Thatch."
- "I came down the chimney. Ho ho ho."
- "My name is Helga Sinclair. I'm acting on behalf of my employer who has a most intriguing proposition for you."
- "Are you interested?"
- "This way, please, and don't drip on the Caravaggio."
- "Step lively Mr. Whitmore does not like to be kept waiting."
- "You will address him as Mr. Whitmore or sir you will stand unless asked to be seated keep your sentences short and to the point, are we clear?"
- "And relax he doesn't bite often."
- "Yes, Mr. Thatch?"
- "Hold that thought."
- "What is it this time, Cookie?"
- "That would be lettuce."
- "It's a vegetable, Cookie. The men need the four basic food groups."
- "All right, cowboy Pack it up and move it out."
- "Diving officer submerge the ship, make the depth 1 -5-0 feet."
- "Aye, sir Set course to 2-4-0 15 degrees down angle on the bow planes come right."
- "Cartographer, linguist, plumber hard to believe he's still single."
- "Go away, Mole."
- "Look at that..."
- "It sounds metallic. Could be an echo off one of the rocks."
- "Well, whatever it was, it's gone now."
- "Load the torpedo bays! Subpod crews, battle stations!"
- "Packard, sound the alarm!"
- "Move it, people! Sometime today would be nice!"
- "Come on! Everybody grab a seat and buckle in!"
- "I'm working on it!"
- "Hang on."
- "All craft, make your mark 20 degrees down angle."
- "Moliere, you're on point. No, Vinney, Audrey's taking the oiler. You know the rules. I want you 50 yards behind that truck at all times. And, Packard, put out that cigarette."
- "Get some water on that fire!"
- "It just keeps going."
- "Maybe not."
- "What? That's impossible!"
- "Someone's having a good time."
- "Commander, there were not supposed to be people down here. This changes everything."
- "Someone needs to talk to that girl."
- "Knowing that, I'd double the price."
- "Tell them to drop their weapons, now!"
- "Spread out! Search everywhere!"
- "True, but I can think of a few countries who'd pay anything to find out."
- "Come on, let's get this over with. I don't like this place."
- "Commander, we're ready."
- "That was an order, not a suggestion. Let's go!"
- "That's it, unless someone wants to jump."
- "You said we were in this together!"
- "YOU PROMISED ME A PERCENTAGE!"
- "Nothing personal."