Titan A.E.
Orfeu and Eurydice USA, 2000. Rated PG. 94 minutes.

Cast: Voices of Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore, Bill Pullman, Nathan Lane, John Leguizamo, Janeane Garofalo, Tone Loc, Jim Breuer, Ron Perlman
Writers: Randall McCormick (story), Hans Bauer (story), Ben Edlund (screenplay), John August (screenplay), Joss Whedon (screenplay)
Music: Graeme Revell
Producers: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, David Kirschner
Director: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Art Vitello (some scenes)


Grade: C- Review by Carlo Cavagna

Nice scenery, miserable storytelling. There's really not much else to say about Titan A.E. But, since this is a movie review, and movie reviews are supposed to be more than four words long, let's elaborate anyway. We can start by adding the words "lame characters," "boring plot," and "witless comic relief." Or we can begin with a more standard opening:

Titan A.E., an animated space opera from Fox Animation Studios, starts off with a bang. Nasty blue aliens called the Drej have decided that humans pose an unacceptable threat because they are on the verge of a major scientific advance known as Titan. The solution? Annihilation. In a spectacular, fiery blast, the Drej destroy Earth. Several spaceships escape from Earth during the conflagration, and the people in those few ships not destroyed by planetary debris become interstellar vagabonds.

One of these vagabonds is Cale (Matt Damon), who finds a home working at an out-of-the-way space station. However, his father, who had been deeply involved in the Titan project, has left behind a ring that holds the key to rediscovering Titan. One day a spaceship captain named Korso (Bill Pullman) shows up with the ring. The Drej, who somehow know about the ring, are in hot pursuit. After breaking the laws of physics (you can't survive in deep space without a suit for even a nanosecond, even if you're a cartoon), Korso and Cale escape with Korso's crew, which includes love interest Akima (Drew Barrymore) and the badly drawn sidekicks: an unfunny first mate named Preed (Nathan Lane), an unfunny bowlegged weapons expert named Stith (Janeane Garofalo), and an unfunny turtle-like mad scientist named Gune (John Leguizamo). It's up to Cale & Co. to find Titan and save humanity.

Nothing in Titan A.E.'s remaining 80 minutes tops the opening fireworks. The sets, if an animated film could be thought to have sets, are breathtaking, but the character drawings are crude by comparison. The characters themselves lack personality, and though Damon and Barrymore are pretty good, the supporting players' vocal performances are perfunctory at best. The plodding story (written by Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Joss Whedon and a gaggle of others) is an uninspired, nonsensical muddle that pilfers freely from the Star Wars movies and a bit from Star Trek II and III. The plot's circular logic is particularly unforgivable. The Drej destroy Earth to block a supposed threat from the Titan, which turns out to be designed for use in the event of Earth's destruction. That's a bit like shooting someone because he's discovered a way to come back from the dead.

Kids aged 8-12 may find Titan A.E. more entertaining than adults, but even at just an hour and a half, the film's sluggish pacing may cause it to seem long to them. It certainly will seem long to adults. The visuals are the only reason to see Titan A.E., and you can certainly justify a cheap summer matinee on that basis. Or you can hold out for something more intelligent, like the next Farrelly Brothers movie.

Review © June 2000 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
Images © 1999-2000 Fox and its related entities. All Rights Reserved.

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