Titan A.E. (2000)

reviewed by
Christopher Null

                               TITAN A.E.
                    A film review by Christopher Null
                      Copyright 2000 filmcritic.com

Good Will Hunting goes to space in Titan A.E., an ill-conceived and overambitious animation blowout (courtesy of 20th Century Fox) that makes recent Disney fare look like thinking men's movies.

Matt Damon's voice stars as Cale, an eager-beaver twentysomething in the year 3028 who would be just like any other next-millennium Gen made of pure energy, natch -- have blown up the earth.

Talk about a bummer! Cale's scientist father has vanished along with his mysterious "Titan" spaceship project, and Cale seems doomed to life on a crummy salvage station. But in walks renegade space dude Korso (Bill Pullman) to rescue Cale from his life of welding, convincing the lad to go on a quest to find the Titan before the Drej do... and thus save all of humanity!

A bit of Independence Day and a lot of Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, Titan A.E. owes so much of its plot to other movies that I'll be surprised if a copyright infringement lawsuit isn't slapped down any day now. Not that an "homage" can't be fun, even good from time to time, but unfortunately, Titan is so unoriginal and lackluster in its script and plotting that it really drags you down.

With animated fare, really crack visuals tend to outweigh asinine plots (though they didn't in Disney's recent Dinosaur nor in Fox's last big animation attempt, Anastasia). While Titan's spacescapes are often out of this world (no pun intended), the character animation slapped on top of them is wretched; an old-style, Scooby Doo-looking bunch of people slapped atop the background of a dystopian future is just not a good idea.

But while the animated people are only so-so, it's the cast of animated creatures that really look pathetic. As this is a Don Bluth production, one expects there to be a talking menagerie. In Titan, this means talking space hyenas, talking space turtles, and a horribly ill-conceived talking space kangaroo/vulture inexplicably and embarrassingly voiced by Janeane Garofalo. Altogether, precious few of the other voices in this movie match their characters. While Damon and Cale are clearly doppelgangers, the whiny Pullman as the rough-and-tumble Korso is laughable, and Drew Barrymore as the vaguely Asian Akima is simply perplexing.

In fact, everything about Titan is just plain strange, from the 80s-ish hard rock/power ballad soundtrack that thumps through the whole movie to the fact that the characters can move around in zero-gravity by "swimming" through the air. Rock on, Will.

 \ ***** Perfection             \
  \ **** Good, memorable film    \
   \ *** Average, hits and misses \
    \ ** Sub-par on many levels    \
     \ * Unquestionably awful       \
MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman Producer: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, David Kirschner Writer: Ben Edlund, Randall McCormick, Joss Whedon Starring: Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore, Bill Pullman, Nathan Lane, Tone Loc, Jim Breuer, Janeane Garofalo, John Leguizamo, Ron Perlman, Alex D. Linz


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