Titan A.E.
Dir: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman
Star: (voices of) Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore
Cert / Year: PG / 2000
Format: DVD R1

A race of energy based aliens called the Drej have decided that humanity is their greatest treat, so they destroy the Earth. Those that survive are scattered throughout the universe and become a slowly dying out social underclass. Cale is a young man who is one of these human survivors. His life is rough but boring, that is until Korso turns up and informs him that only Cale knows where a super spaceship called the Titan has been hidden. The Titan is humanity's last hope unfortunately the Drej have found out this and they are out to destroy it. The race is on and Cale with the help of Gune, Stith, Preed and a beautiful human girl Akima who are the mix of humans and aliens that form Korso's crew they must decode Cales genetic map and beat the Drej to the Titan.

Critics killed this film. Not only that, they also killed Fox Animation studio which folded when the movie failed. This was a big loss as although this film has flaws it is by no means bad, not only that but the animation work and especially the computer effects are outstanding. So what went wrong.

Animated main features have traditionally been kids movies. Recent hits like A Bugs Life and Shrek while appealing to a wider audience have done little to change this. Only Japanese manga cartoons have really addressed an adult audience. This film falls neatly in-between the two stools of adult and kids films. The plot is not simple enough for kids, and the action and characters are not really adult enough. This in many ways is the film's biggest failing. Had the studio been brave enough to target an older age group I think we would have had a better film.

The next thing problem is the rather strange choice of animation techniques used. All characters save the Drej are traditionally drawn whereas all backgrounds and spaceships are computer animation. Unfortunately this just doesn't really work that well. The backgrounds, Drej and spaceships all look fantastic. This is some of the best CG animation ever seen, for example just check out the ice crystals, I guarantee you will be impressed. Next to this the character animation is crude and out of place. This move should have been fully computer generated, the benefit would have been immense.

I have seen the plot of this film savaged, with it being described as a hokey piece of space opera. Wrong, the story is really good, and do you know there is absolutely nothing wrong with space opera, after all the voted best movie of all time Star Wars is a space opera. The story is really what keeps the film going when childish humour and poor characters are added which may have ruined it. The destruction of earth is genuinely harrowing and this is just one of the story's finer points.

The last problem the film faces is not major but is annoying, it is the very stilted dialogue delivery. It sounds as if each characters dialogue was recorded separately then mixed together. This gives the strange effect that the characters just don't seem to interact with each other, and the reactions in the performance don't work. I'm not sure if this is a recording problem, or whether it's more of a problem with actors, or sound mixers, but there is definitely something not quite right.

It does sound as I have joined the long line of critics that rubbished this film, but this is not the case. All of these faults only serve to turn what could have been an outstanding piece of adult sci-fi into just a good one. The amazing visuals and top quality story just can't be ignored. This is a missed opportunity, it so very nearly works if only the studio had aimed it at adults and dumped the traditional animation (Although Final Fantasy proved that even CG anaimation is nothing without a good story). This film is still worth watching, it's not often we get a story that is so good and visuals so exciting.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic A perfect picture.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Excellent 5.1 sound mix with some impressive spatial effects.
Features short making of featurette
pretty rough deleted scenes
about 200 stills
music video of the track "Over my head"
Production notes
Audio commentary by both directors
Verdict Overall an excellent disc.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Link Back Top Home