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Overall Rating

Worth A Look29.87%
Average: 25.97%
Pretty Bad: 10.39%
Total Crap: 3.9%

4 reviews, 53 user ratings

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Titan A.E.
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Fox Samples Their Catalog"
2 stars

Titan A.E. may be officially known as the first sampled movie. You know what sampling is right? It’s when untalented “singers” take the music from one song and then throw their own “lyrics” over it and they call it “their song.” Problem is that anyone who knows (and appreciates) the familiar background theme running through the song, will want these “artists” beaten to a bloody pulp as soon as possible. Well Titan A.E. has the same approach, and while I don’t wish the same fate on the animators as I do the samplers (because it is pretty to look at), the familiarity and uninvolving storyline will irk audiences more than excite them.

It’s the year 3028 and an alien race, called the Drej, made up of pure energy, attack the Earth and destroy it because they fear we may suck up all their energy. What seems to be a handful of humans escape as well as the prestigious Titan Project, a giant ball of a spaceship that must be hidden from the Drej, due to the crucial information contained within. The creator of the Titan has a son named Cale (voiced by Matt Damon) who is left behind by his father for the greater good of the universe and now spends his time working on anonymous colonies in space. What kind of life anyone leads on these colonies besides working and eating is sacrificed for the greater good of the film’s running time. Cale is eventually tracked down by Korso (Bill Pullman) who worked with his father on the Titan. Korso shows Cale how to work his father’s ring to imprint a map to the Titan on his flesh, entrusting him with a mission that literally puts the fate of the universe on his hands. Korso’s companions includes the beautiful purple-streaked hair Akima (Drew Barrymore), a Peter Lorre-like amphibian-like creature named Gune (John Leguizamo) and another pair of wisecrackers (Nathan Lane and Janeane Garofalo), one who looks like the Big Bad Wolf and the other like a kangaroo after a mutant experiment gone wrong. This is mankind’s last chance to find the Titan (ahead of the Drej) and save their species.

The people at Fox seem to have reached into their science fiction catalog of movies to piece together their latest effort. The alien leader looks right out of Independence Day with their mothership possessing the exact same super weapon (a single giant laser beam capable of taking out large structures – in this case the Earth). A group of “space angels” that lead Cale on his maiden voyage as a pilot have the same color, structure and movement as the underwater creatures in The Abyss. The sequence where the Drej attack Cale and Akima’s ship recalls the turret shooting scene in the original Star Wars. And if that wasn’t bad enough, they dipped outside the Fox catalog as well to connect the dots. A cluster of ice crystals looks like Superman’s escape pod from Krypton. An invention’s ability to create a living, breathing planet out of nothing is directly out of Star Trek II (perhaps the movie should have been called Genesis A.E.). And the map imprint on Cale’s hand clearly reminded me of the Nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I kept expecting to hear the phrase, “the Drej are digging in the wrong place.” My God, who directed this film? Don Bluth or Puff Daddy?

Of course, none of this would be that big a deal if the film was executed with the excitement and sense of wonder one comes to expect with both science fiction tales and animation. And it’s not without its positives. The opening attack and evacuation of Earth is a stimulating start. And, undeniably, the hide-and-seek chase through the collapsing ice of Tigrin looks and sounds absolutely amazing. It was the first time since the destruction of Earth that I sat up in my seat. Unfortunately that sequence could have been even better if I cared a little more about the characters and their mission. And part of that is because the story isn’t set up very well. How long did the humans know the Drej were planning an attack? How many of us actually survived? This is the first science fiction story I can remember where the aliens feared the humans for being TOO intelligent. The Body Snatchers thought we were too emotional. Klaatu and Gort thought we were too reckless with our nuclear weapons. And who can forget the alien leaders of Plan 9 accusing us of our “stupid minds. Stupid. STUPID!!!” So, if the Drej so fear the humans, why aren’t they off on a manhunt of the universe picking off the survivors for the 15 years after they blew up the planet? This woeful lack of details cheats the audience into feeling zero suspense as the Drej occasionally show up to shoot a couple lasers and then blow up. This is a film that makes Independence Day look like high art.

Titan A.E. is being hailed as one of the leaders in hailing in the next evolution of animation. Don’t be fooled. Many images could have pulled directly from Space Ace (one of many video games using animation created in the 80s by none other than Don Bluth). And I don’t usually care for my “adult-oriented” sci-fi animation to have wacky sidekick characters that should have no business outside of a Disney project. Garofalo’s character is an odd looking one with legs so long, that it walks like it spent all its free time in a John Holmes movie. (In all honestly I actually thought the name of the character through the whole movie was Stiff. Turns out it was Stith.)

Bluth (who basically gave Disney the finger and left to make his own projects) has been trying for years to carve out his own niche in the animation game and he’s had a spotty track record ranking from the good (Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, Anastasia) to the mediocre (Rock-A-Doodle, Thumbelina, The Pebble and the Penguin). His Titan A.E. is certainly ambitious but falls way short in too many areas to be considered for classic status. Ironically enough, I believe this to be a film that actually would have benefited from not being animated at all. With all the advancements in computer visual effects these days, there is little-to-nothing that couldn’t have been created by the team at ILM. And I’ve been one of the great supporters for animated projects year-by-year. From the Pixar films to Japanese creations like Princess Mononoke to the upcoming stop-motion extravaganza that is Chicken Run, animated films have continued to delight and please me time-and-time again.

I had high hopes for Titan A.E. because when you can create a visual feast like last year’s Phantom Menace, the sky’s the limit for creating the kind of movement and action and sights not feasible for the live-action world. Titan A.E. doesn’t, instead throwing together cobbled pieces from better movies in hopes of finding a story, and creating action that is more nonchalant than mind-blowing. Even the film’s soundtrack is terrible, using rock songs (like in Heavy Metal) to punctuate the action instead of an instrumental score that only increases our sense of wonder (or danger). This is yet another film where we know the music, but the lyrics stink.

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originally posted: 06/19/00 10:48:27
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User Comments

5/15/11 stephen nettles Fun 4 stars
12/18/09 Alana Hignite Of course it's a kiddie stuff, of course it's child oriented- IT'S A KID MOVIE! 5 stars
8/30/09 CTT Surprising, strong animated effort 5 stars
1/23/06 Alana Hignite The Best Animated Movie Not In This World! 5 stars
8/17/05 ES Better than the critics said, a solid romp with some cool stuff tossed in 4 stars
10/02/04 arimla it,s okay 5 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser Heart-warming and good! 5 stars
11/28/03 Joseph As long as it's not a Disney film, it's in my collection. 5 stars
5/21/03 Doc Shock I was entertained. 4 stars
10/18/02 Bluth Liker Deluxe An impressive Lensman animated film! Despite the box office, this is one of 2001's best. 4 stars
9/07/02 Ramblin Wreck Not a bad movie per se.......I was just waiting for Cale to shout "KHAAAANNNN"!!!!! 3 stars
12/03/01 D.Subbub This movie might have been better if they slowed it down a little 4 stars
10/29/01 Shell I personally loved this movie.. 5 stars
10/08/01 Andrew Carden Nothing Special Going On Here. 3 stars
8/02/01 KC Au Poor choice of voices. Nothing special here. Don't listen to Roger Ebert! Rent Anime! 3 stars
7/28/01 Steve Over-commercialized soundtrack, but definitely a movie worth watching. Too bad sales sucked 4 stars
7/28/01 Turtle This movie is a lot of fun, but there were a few things that bothered me. 4 stars
5/08/01 Gracy Lionheart It was a great film. I agree with Agglepraxis. 5 stars
5/02/01 Agglepraxis It was a "Star Wars" to me; I found the action and theme of hope captivating. 5 stars
4/22/01 ashira its a fuckin great film what ya on!!! 5 stars
3/29/01 SNAKEEYES EVE It's a really cool movie ! I just loved the soundtrack! 5 stars
3/24/01 Alex Simply astounding visually 5 stars
2/17/01 Dan Good movie, great soundtrack 5 stars
2/06/01 Brian Beautiful animation...lame plot. 4 stars
2/03/01 brentley great animated movie. i was very impressed. 4 stars
1/25/01 Craig slick film, well thought out plot if only it ran longer and played louder!!! 4 stars
1/23/01 dave not only were the vocies unreal, the animation and story were far deeper! give it a chance! 5 stars
1/06/01 Viking Great animation, pedestrian story 3 stars
12/12/00 cinemaestro70 Splended Visuals!!...What Plot? I don't care!! Foregeound character animation sucks! 4 stars
12/11/00 Adam Hail Hitler 5 stars
11/21/00 DREDD Worth watching twice, nice graphics and animation, but weak story line. 4 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin a HORRIBLE plot; child-oriented characters; good thing it was a box-office disaster 1 stars
11/10/00 The Bomb 69 the 3D animation was amazing, the story was pretty weak 3 stars
11/10/00 Grimlock I don't know what most people thought about this movie that was bad, i liked it 5 stars
9/08/00 Richard Wright The two styles of animation don't mix, and the story is basically ho-hum sci-fi drivel. 2 stars
8/25/00 Eric I liked it, so what!!! 5 stars
7/23/00 Digitalus nice 3D background, brilliant animation, better than Battlefield Earth 4 stars
6/26/00 Bubby What a steaming load. Save your money. 1 stars
6/22/00 frank the animation was horribly inconsistent and the story was cheesy. 1 stars
6/20/00 WinX 2D foreground graphics with 3D backgrounds look FAKE. 3 stars
6/20/00 Captain Highcrime Also very reminiscent of Transformers: The Movie (Unicron, the Autobot matrix, etc). 4 stars
6/20/00 B.O.B. Same kiddie animation fluff with cgi thrown in - take your money and buy "The Iron Giant" 2 stars
6/19/00 Chuck Craig Has its problems but I think it is the best animated movie since the original Heavy Metal 4 stars
6/19/00 Futuristic Underdog Hero Much better than I thought - very impressive animation, & better storywise than "Star Wars" 5 stars
6/19/00 Nessus Check logic at the door. 2 year old CG backgrounds with 20 year old animation pasted on. 3 stars
6/19/00 Cutter Newmoon I was expecting to be disappointed. That didn't happen. 5 stars
6/18/00 cinesuerte nicely done 4 stars
6/18/00 ChuckEye Good blend, decent action, fun characters 5 stars
6/18/00 Thor-Leo Forget Akima... *Korso* is HOT! 5 stars
6/18/00 Krystal visually stunning, but the story itself had me nodding off 3 stars
6/17/00 DatherFrawdad akima is HOT!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/15/00 Crystal Magick visual beauty, script neglect 4 stars
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  16-Jun-2000 (PG)


  04-Jan-2001 (PG)

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