a critiQal film review Titan A.E. (2000)

  • DVD

Plot: It is the year 3043, and it's been 15 years since the destruction of Earth by a species of energy beings known as the Drej. Discovering a secret map left by his father, rebellious teen Cale (Damon) embarks on a mission to discover the location of the mysterious Titan spacecraft - a ship that, legend says, holds the secret to humankind's salvation.

596 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 58s)

As I like to do on Saturdays, I was perusing my NetFlix® instant queue and ran across a film I hadn’t seen in years – Titan A.E., the star-studded animated flick that didn’t do so well at the box office. I remember recalling it was a decent flick from my last time viewing it, but I had forgotten a lot of the film in the years that had passed, so it seemed like a good time to give it another look.

Would Titan A.E. recall fond memories for me this go around, or would this be another case of memories making things out to be better than they actually are?

Don Bluth, the creator of such sappy animated flicks as An American Tail and it’s sequel(s?), also was part of the creative team to bring the beloved film The Secret of NIMH to the big screen, so a new film from him is always iffy. With Titan A.E., at least he got the voice casting right.

There’s a slew of notable names lending their voices for Titan A.E.. Matt Damon was a solid choice for lead character Cale, lending a brashness to the rebellious teen as well as managing to bring a bit of compassion to the character at the same time. He’s paired up with Drew Barrymore, who, after showing she can make even Adam Sandler look like a romantic lead, has a much easier time cozying up to Damon.

The rest of the cast works as well. Bill Pullman, as a space captain, has the range required for the role, although his nice guy normality is sorely tested during some of the sequences. Janeane Garofalo is a delight as a tough-as-nails kangaroo being with a heart of gold, while Nathan Lane and John Leguizamo’s voices are surprisingly well-disguised in their out-of-the-norm roles as a wry first mate and science geek, respectively.

Even the supporting cast boasts names like Tone-Loc and Ron Perlman, making Titan A.E. a lot more star-packed than expected.

The storyline seems a bit violent for an animated film – a genre typically geared for kids. However, after witnessing the death of Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King (1994), violence and death have become much more accepted even in normally kid-friendly films. And with a soundtrack that is filled with more rock-themed tunes than pop (no Elton John here), it seems that Titan A.E. may have done a bit better if it had been aimed more squarely at teens – namely, with a PG-13 rating.

With the destruction of Earth as a focal point in the first few moments of the film, viewers know they are in for a bit more than your typical animated fantasy adventure, and, while it’s peppered with humor to lighten the mood, it never quite shakes that cataclysmic devastation of the the opening sequence – and it shouldn’t even try.

With a bit more aiming at the proper crowd (namely, those in the PG-13 viewer range), Titan A.E. could have turned out to be a quest for mankind’s salvation viewers would have really been able to dive into, despite it’s animated facade.

As is, however, Titan A.E. seems to be trying too hard to make the film fun for even the little kiddies…and, while never quite succeeding, manages to tone it down enough to make those out of it’s target range feel a little bit disappointed with the outcome. Still, Titan A.E. has some good ideas, and it’s voice cast help make the film worth a viewing, nonetheless.

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