This file was generated 2002-06-09 04:23 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2001-05-26.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> February 2001 >> Titan A.E.
Animation is intensely difficult work. It is such a great effort that it makes me sad when I see animation that surpasses the story it tells. Titan A.E. falls into the trap of mediocre writing failing to do justice to the often-beautiful visual aspect and the marvelous action set pieces. The plot has potential, but the presentation is lacking in the details that would turn this into interesting sci-fi. The Drej could be the most interesting villain since the Borg. Creatures of pure energy should present all kinds of interesting issues, but they are simplified to killing machines that look cool. If the film at least offered a good motive for their desire to exterminate the human race, I might've found them more worthy of consideration. If they'd actually bothered to kill every human that came their way, like Akima, they'd seem more like enemies and less like plot devices. The biggest problem, though, is the pacing. Although the movie clocks in longer than most animated movies, parts seem to be missing. Emotional beats, like the time for Akima to fall for Cale, are skipped. This shortchanging of the intimacy between the characters really mucks up the overall feeling.
I do want to give credit where it is due, and that is to the animators. Titan A.E. blends its drawn characters and rendered backgrounds pretty well. The slight textural discontinuity between the sections of the screen is nowhere near as offensive as Tarzan. More importantly, the film's set pieces show us worlds that we will never see any other way. The gigantic, ever-shattering ice crystals made for a memorable sight and added a nice dimension to the chase scene. The interlude with the wake angels offers a terrific execution of a gorgeous concept. The initial battle with the humans fleeing Earth provides levels of dazzle reminiscent of Star Wars. I also loved the battle in the hydrogen trees, another case where the scenery adds an element of intrigue. If the Fox Animation studios really did close their doors because Titan A.E. didn't make money, then I can only hope these artists find themselves working on stories deserving of their talents.
If you're hungering for some recent animated fare, try The Iron Giant instead. The animation isn't as fanciful as Titan's, but the integration of CGI and hand-drawn is perfect. The writing is far superior to Titan, with fully-realized characters.