What was the point of Plato's story of Atlantis?

The Wikipedia entry on Atlantis is a little sparse on this topic – I’m assuming the Plato made up or embellished an existing myth on an ancient city/state/island and wrote/recorded a Socratic dialog between a bunch of famous philosophers including Socrates to discuss … what, exactly? It appears Atlantis was about to conquer the world, but was impious towards the gods and was destroyed, or something. Was Plato just giving an historical account, or did the philosophers take sides, in some way? I’m wondering mostly if Socrates is very pro-piety in the dialog … you know, in contrast to what he was executed for, or if he and the others are more interestingly philosophical about the explanation and event.

Everyone who believes the story of Atlantis is factual starts with Plato, so I’m wondering if they’re actually missing some significant point, or if there’s no point for them to miss, because Wikipedia says the book in question, isn’t completed by Plato.

Plato’s the first person to mention Atlantis. I get the impression that he was using it as a political fable (it shows up in two dialogues, and is a sort of ideal place). It’s not even clear that Socrates knew or talked about it – Plato could’ve just been putting words in his mouth.

This is aside from the “Did Atlantis Really Exist” stuff – Plato’s dialogues don’t require it to exist. It’s possible that he used story elements he’d heard elsewhere and that THera/Santorini or something else really forms a historical basis for Atlantis. But there’s nothing really compelling that says it’s so.

I’ve read many stories and seen several movies set in Atlantis. Sadly, I haven’t been really satisfied by any of them. One of these days somebody will make a good story about Atlantis. But the works of George Pal, Cutcliffe-Hyne, Beoit, Disney, etc. ain’t them.

Cal, How fringe of an idea is it that Socrates himself never even existed?

Pretty fringe indeed, as apart from Plato, Socrates is referenced in Aristophanes The Clouds. So there are at least two contemporary sources attesting to Socrates existance