Since Titan, the moon of Saturn, is much in the news lately….

This 2000 animated film rips off every SF movie in recent memory– but it manages to be entertaining, if you don’t think too much. The theatrical release did not do as well as expected, but the DVD may be purchased from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

Title: Titan: A.E

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directors: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Art Vitello.

Writers:Hans Bauer,, Randall McCormick, Ben Edlund, John August, Joss Whedon, A Fox janitor who was passing by at the time.

Features:

Drew Barrymore…Akima
Matt Damon…Cale Tucker
Janeane Garofalo…Stith
Nathan Lane…Preed

John Leguizamo…Gune
Bill Pullman…Korso
Christopher Scarabosio…Drej Queen
Ken Hudson Campbell…Po

Premise:

Evil energy beings destroy the earth because they fear what humanity will become. Fifteen years later, the son of a noted scientist learns that he holds the key to humanity’s last, best hope.

High Points:

1. Although the conventional and computer animated mix uneasily, some of the visuals are impressive. I’m not certain I believe in hydrogen trees, but they look great, and the space scenes compare with some live-action SF films.

2. The use of artificial gravity failure as a plot device, and the implication that this happens at least as often as any other systems failure. We don’t see that very often in media SF, for obvious reasons.

Low Point:

The screenwriters had the Infinite Improbable Plot Development Generator on hyperdrive. The Drej don’t kill Akima when they have no use for her, and they even jettison her in a life-support pod. Someone finds the pod, even though space is really big (okay, she was broadcasting as signal of some kind). Our heroes arrive on a planet and the stars are in the perfect alignment at that place and time for the map to work. Certain people later go looking for Akima, even though they have no actual reason to. A derelict spaceship can be repaired in a couple of hours by a few people who have never seen it before… You get the picture.

The Scores:

Originality: 1/6 Pretty much everything in this film has been done elsewhere, recently, and better. The creators show a particular fondness for scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy.

Animation: 4/6 The two styles of animation don’t exactly mix, though both are fine in their own right.

Story: 3/6 The story holds together, though it’s often an excuse for videogame-style action sequences. Viewers should be able to spot the final twist coming a light year off.

Voice Acting: 5/6. This is generally good, and I found the interplay between Cale and Akima convincing, in a cartoony sort of way. The aliens (all of whom resemble Terran animals) are cutsier than I would have liked, but Titan A.E. clearly wanted a family audience, despite its darker subject matter. Some aspects of the film have to be considered with this in mind.

Production: 5/6.

Emotional Response: 4/6 The film’s saving grace is that it manages to be fun, once you get over the destruction of the entire planet.

Overall: 4/6.

In total, Titan A.E. receives 26/42.

Additional Comments

I remain uncertain why the Drej regarded the Titan project as such a threat that they would wipe out an entire planet.