Directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman
Starring the voices of Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore, Bill Pullman, Nathan Lane, John Leguazamo, and Jeannine Garofalo.
I’m sure, that like myself, your first exposure to Titan A.E. came during Episode I. Titan A.E. was lucky enough to have it’s teaser attached to Episode I. When we heard Matt Damon’s voice talking about how man had conquered space, and then the animation of Earth being destoyed, we all scratched our heads and went “What the hell was that?” Well, here we are, a year later, and we get to find out.
It’s the dawn of the 31st Century. Earth has been destroyed by an alien race called the Drej, because the Drej determined that humans were on the verge of becoming a threat. The surviving humans now live in giant starships called drifter colonies, are treated like second class citizens of the galaxy, and being hunted by the Drej. We soon meet Cale (Damon). He’s a young, rebellious sort, working in a salvage yard and thinking that there’s not much more to life. But he soon meets a space pirate by the name of Korso (Pullman), who needs Cale. Seems that Cale’s father was in charge of the Titan project, something which could save the human race. Only Cale’s genetic code can read the map to where his father hid the Titan. So, Cale joins Korso’s crew: babealicious pilot Akima (Barrymore), slimy navigator Preed (Lane), nerdy engineer Gune (Leguizamo), and weapons expert Stith (Garofalo), who gets just a touch of the bloodlust in battle. With the Drej hot in pursuit, they go off to find the Titan! Can they do it? Or is there a betrayer in their midst?
This film is something I’ve wanted to see American animators attempt: a hard-core sci-fi. For the most part, it succeeds. There’s this scene on a planet with hydrogen trees, and bat-like aliens that could only be pulled off in a live-action film with a gazilion dollars. And, there’s this game of cat-and-mouse in a planet’s ice rings, which is just beautifully animated. And I must give kudos to Nathan Lane. He’s played a lot of “flamboyant” characters, and he surprised me here by convincingly voicing a slimeball. But…. I found that the characters seemed a little hollow. When the betrayer is revealed, it just kind of came out of left field. The Iron Giant has become the gold standard for which I rate animated films, and compared with that, Titan A.E. just left me wanting more. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but I so wanted it to be great. Oh, and I love that final joke.