Movie News

Alexandra DuPont gives the DEFINITIVE review of TITAN AE.... with additional Harry thoughts. Hee hee. Harry thinks'

Published at: June 13, 2000, 11:48 p.m. CST

Every now and then, another reviewer on the site nails something so perfectly that I literally feel... THAT'S IT... Alexandra DuPont absolutely defines what is right and wrong with TITAN AE. This is that hardest of films to review. The one that has so much going for it, but also shoots itself in the foot one time too many. I must encourage geeks to see this film for at least the Ice Asteroid Thingee, it's wondrous. BUT... Noone can write a finer review for TITAN AE than the one that Alexandra here has written. As a result... You will not read a review from me. THE FOLLOWING IS EXACTLY... WORD FOR WORD HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE FILM. Here's Alexandra....

Alexandra DuPont Takes A Very Pleasant Critical Stick to "Titan AE"

A Five-Part Manifesto of Mixed-to-Positive Feelings! Equal Parts Enjoyment and Deja Vu! Go See It -- But Realize That You've Seen It Before!

I. PREAMBLE

Criticism is easy. Animation is hard.

My fingers hover above the keyboard, ready to swing the ol' critical stick at "Titan AE" -- a film I enjoyed, albeit with some been-there-seen-that reservations -- and I'm conflicted. Because I realize that, compared to Don Bluth and his crackerjack team of animators and technicians, those of us in the AICN Peanut Gallery are a bunch of swooning milkmaids. Total pussies. Really.

Because no matter how much I disliked "All Dogs Go to Heaven"; no matter how much insulin/Ritalin combo therapy I needed after watching the ENTIRE "Space Ace" DVD in one continuous sitting (and BTW, lads, it's just as impossible to play at home as it was in the arcade); no matter what I think or write below, I am not working 1/1,000th as hard as the team that actually sat down and laboriously designed, budgeted, rotoscoped, pencil-tested, animated, colored, and re-animated "Titan AE." Keep that in mind, readers.

I tip my hat to you, Don Bluth. You thumbed your nose at Disney when thumbing one's nose at Disney wasn't cool. You have thrice my courage and stamina. Take what I write below as respectful criticism.

Still, without criticism to DEFINE art, there wouldn't BE art, would there? So then, to work.

II. THE STORY, TOLD SOMEWHAT MATHEMATICALLY

It's 3028 A.D. The Drej -- nasty-looking aliens who might be defined in an equation as

1/2 {[Slayers from "Krull"] + .75 [Borg]} / (Stormtroopers)

-- destroy the Earth, in a sequence that makes you feel sort of marvelously helpless about the whole thing. Apparently, the Drej feel threatened by the Earthlings' "Titan Project," which might be defined in an equation as

{.00073 [Death Star]} * [Genesis Project from "Star Trek II"] + {.003 [Jules Verne]}

Anyway. One of the Earthlings who escapes is a young child named Cale (voiced by Matt Damon), son of one of the "Titan Project" scientists. Cale's abandoned by Dad during the flight from the planet, and grows up to be an 18-year-old refugee welder who might be defined in an equation as

[1/2 (Han Solo) + 1/2 (Luke Skywalker)] / {(.4)[Will Hunting]}

Soon, Cale finds out he's Hollywood's latest variation on "The One," with a very important schematic implanted in his reluctant hand. He hooks up with a ragtag band (voiced by, among others, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, Nathan Lane and Janeane Garofalo), and they set off to find the Titan Project spacecraft, with the Drej in hot pursuit and many well-staged chases and diversions en route. In short, the plot might be defined in an equation as

(Star Wars) * {[.35 (Battlestar Galactica) * .75 (Star Trek II + Star Trek III)] / Waterworld}

So. Let's retire that mathematical conceit and move along, shall we?

III. WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT 'TITAN AE'

Quite a bit, actually -- enough that I sincerely wanted to ignore the film's shortcomings, which I probably wouldn't be nitpicking anyway if I weren't older than age 15 and thus aware of "Titan AE"'s sci-fi antecedents.

The character animation, for one thing, is marvelous -- provided you enjoy the Bluth Style, which I do. All you purists yammering about "frame rate" and "computer/traditional blends" and whatnot will be pleased to hear that the different animation technologies blend rather nicely on the big screen -- and even if they don't, you stop noticing it soon enough, which I mean as a compliment.

"Props" also to the design team. The spaceships are nifty-looking (Bill Pullman's Valkrye is the first spaceship since "Galaxy Quest"'s Enterprise knock-off that I wouldn't mind owning in toy form), the aliens are mostly pleasant variations on the humanoid formula, and the environments are occasionally stunning. There's one shot where Matt Damon takes a lonely stroll on the Valkrye deck with a pink-orange nebula cloud filling the cockpit window; it's beautiful -- you'll see what I mean -- and Lucas should be taking notes for Episode 2. Ditto on the icy-moonlit shot of the Drej mothership floating through clouds a la "Event Horizon." Ditto on the "Hydrogen Forest," which features a nifty boat chase with man-sized bats and Drej fighters zipping about.

And unlike the male leads of certain Disney cartoons I could mention, Matt Damon's Cale is the film's most charismatic vocal presence. He lends an easy confidence to the proceedings, never over-selling a line but always sounding interested in what's going on around him. (Parenthetical testament to the power of animation: Technically, there really isn't any "around him" for "him" to be interested in, is there? Um, cool.)

Also, characters die. Quite a few. This will please the more militant, older animation geeks. It pleased me.

Finally, I must lavish extra-special praise on one particular sequence in the film: a cat-and-mouse pursuit through a field of reflective ice asteroids (said ice field resembling nothing so much as a junkyard for decommissioned Kryptonian infant transports). Bluth and co-director Gary Goldman try valiantly to out-"Khan" "Khan," combining the tension of a sub chase with house-of-mirrors suspense. It's good stuff, and sort of renders everything else anticlimactic, but still. It's really good stuff.

IV. WHAT'S ... not SO GOOD ABOUT 'TITAN AE'

Now, I want to preface this by writing that 'Titan' was a perfectly pleasant trip to the movies. But in terms of story and script, it was a bit TOO pleasant -- i.e. a bit too safe and familiar.

Frankly, this surprised me, given that it was co-written in part by Ben Edlund (creator of "The Tick") and Joss Whedon (he of "Buffy" and the whiny, Hollywood-sucks-even-as-I-get-rewrite-opportunities-you-would-kill-for disposition). As with "Dinosaur" -- which I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed on its own merits -- I got the feeling that certain lines of dialogue were focus-group tested. And Whedon's contribution appears to have been two lines of "Star Wars" dialogue inserted for wink-wink/nudge-nudge effect, plus the rather witty line, "Hm. An intelligent guard -- didn't see THAT one coming," well-delivered by Nathan Lane.

Less forgivable are a couple of lapses in plot logic -- characters escape capture and find their way to other locales with inadequate explanation a couple of times -- plus some over-reliance on that current "Star Trek" staple, "If I can re-route the blah blah blah to the whozit, maybe we can do this...." But again, my criticism is tempered by my respect for what Bluth and his team have achieved -- plus the knowledge that any last-minute "re-shoots" would mean assembling a team of dozens for weeks of painstaking work.

The lead villain has roughly three lines of dialogue, one of them being, "Destroy the humans. Destroy them all." Suffice to say, the Drej's antagonistic motivation is a bit underdeveloped -- though this is mitigated somewhat by their relentless nastiness. Still, I couldn't help but wonder precisely WHY they were so nasty; it would have been nice to know.

Also -- and I'm not sure if this is a bad thing or not -- "Titan AE" frequently felt like it was made in the early 1980s. You'd have to have been sentient then to know what I'm talking about, but facts are facts:

(1) There are some atrocious pop songs on the soundtrack that comment directly on the onscreen action (with titles like "Cosmic Castaway" and "It's My Time to Fly" -- subtle!). In the pop-ditty sense and the pop-ditty sense alone, "Titan AE" frequently comes off as a vastly better-animated "Heavy Metal," with a single storyline, for kids.

(2) There's also a "montage" sequence, set to another atrocious pop song (with the lyric "We've got to get out of here"), as Cale and the Drew Barrymore-voiced character repair a ship. A total '80s-film cliché, right out of "D.C. Cab," which should please El Cosmico immensely.

Upon reflection, I sort of liked the '80s touch. Let's move on.

My final criticism is sort of a compliment, too. Bluth frequently distinguishes himself by directing voices with a quasi-Robert Altman-esque naturalism; characters don't necessarily oversell their lines or take the easy, sitcom-inspired path where, say, a Disney or Warner Brothers character might. Brad Bird did the same thing with "The Iron Giant."

For Bill Pullman and Matt Damon, Bluth's naturalistic approach to voice work plays more or less beautifully -- humanizing their animated avatars to a degree that animation rarely achieves. (Still, when you're uttering a line like "Get this straight -- I don't want any part of your mission, and I don't want your help," does naturalism really matter?) However, Bluth's approach also (a) makes Drew Barrymore sound a bit flat, and (b) undermines some of the humor.

V. CONCLUSION

Excellent animation. Solid vocal lead. Some thrilling sequences, though not as many thrills as I'd hoped for. For 15-year-olds, I expect this will occupy the same pleasure niche that "The Last Starfighter" occupies for me -- a very fine, very derivative afternoon at the movies.

Still. "The Last Starfighter" was funnier.

Alexandra DuPont.

Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • June 13, 2000, 11:59 p.m. CST

    heavy metal 2000 anyone?

    by Mad Aris

    has anyone seen this? does anyone care?

  • June 14, 2000, 12:11 a.m. CST

    IT's not gonna work...

    by seamus

    Just becase there are no other talk backs posted as I write this, you're not gonna fool me into posting one of those lame "I'm first" subject lines. Still, I am interested in seeing this movie myself. The original teaser they released last summer was really lame. Since then, the things I have heard, and seen, have made me want to give it a chance. I guess I'll know soon if its a waste of money or not. In any event, It will hold me over till Chicken Run comes out!

  • June 14, 2000, 12:33 a.m. CST

    About HM2000, Mad Aris

    by Kerle

    While the story's not bad (if you've read Eastman's melting pot, you've seen most of it), the animation was handed to the lowest bidder, and looks it from what I've read. I'm actually more interested in the liscenced game by Ritual than the movie; the art I've seen just doesn't look that good.

  • June 14, 2000, 12:37 a.m. CST

    Oops! That's "your" in my previous subject. Now for real...

    by YerAllAgainstMe

    A critique of the criticism. I find it very comforting to see a review that has its own style and tone that goes beyond the simple "a cross between Star Wars and the Matrix" or "the thrill-ride of the summer". I guess it's the age-range that makes me relate to a lot of what you have to say. I too have a soft-spot for a select few sci-fi movies that I grew up enjoying. In this day and age, you have no choice but to hold every genre movie under a microscope and find that 75% of it is rehashed filmmaking. Does that make it a bad movie? No, not if it's done well. But to find a gem among the stones is rare. I'm not surprised at all about the mixed reaction of this movie, but I really expected nothing else, and it will not prevent me from seeing it when it comes out. Great review.

  • June 14, 2000, 12:46 a.m. CST

    Good review

    by Dave_F

    Sounds pretty close to exactly what I expected of "Titan A.E.", both the good and the bad. And, as I've posted before, I'd patronize it if only to encourage animation studios towards more feature-length action and sci-fi material. Good to know I'll have some solid cornball fun to look forward to though. Heh, I feel like seeing "Last Starfighter" now. I knew it was cheesy even when I was a kid, but how can you dislike it?

  • June 14, 2000, 12:48 a.m. CST

    good honest review

    by Sentinel Prime X

    Thanks for the honest review! I think it looks pretty cool, so I'll be seeing it eventually. hard to say when, but I WILL be there opening night for Shaft! And as for Chicken Run? *YAWN* Sorry all you fanboys and fangirls, I didn't see anything that interested me in that movie. Hell, I never even found Wallace and Grommet that interesting. Well, maybe I'll rent the video, but I highly doubt I'll see it in theaters. Oh, interesting side note about the Last Starfighter. How many of you know that the director of said highly underrated flick is Nick Castle, the ORIGINAL Michael Myers? Yep, he played Michael Myers in Halloween! Pretty cool huh? Let's go Legionnaires!

  • June 14, 2000, 1:03 a.m. CST

    Oh, well. Back to anime.

    by Sith Lord Jesus

    Still, I'll probably catch it during a matinee. Looks interesting, and like cormorant I very much *do* want to encourage the idea among the American public that animation doesn't have to mean Disney or Disneyesque. Nice review, btw. It's refreshing to see someone with a working brain who's vocab doesn't consist of scatological "humor" and uttering "fuck!" every five words giving their rundown of a movie.

  • June 14, 2000, 1:08 a.m. CST

    Re: The Last Star Fighter

    by Shinzero

    Ahhh....that's a great movie. Video game-based, 80's popcorn at it's finest. With the trend towards remaking old movies.....I'd like to see someone redo that movie with today's technology. And mak sure Freddie Prinze Jr. has nothing to do with it.

  • June 14, 2000, 1:24 a.m. CST

    You + Your Review = Sucks

    by Choda

    Crunch them numbers!!!

  • June 14, 2000, 1:31 a.m. CST

    Finally, math I understand!

    by All Thumbs

    If they taught it that way in high school, I would have gotten better grades! I had an interest in this movie, if only because I have loved Bluth's style of animation ever since I saw "The Secret of Nimh" and think some of it is superior to Disney's. Now, thanks to Alex's and others' recommendations, I am getting more excited about the film, despite its flaws.

  • June 14, 2000, 1:36 a.m. CST

    I'd be up for a "Last Starfighter" remake!

    by Dave_F

    Funny thing, though, is that when "Starfighter" was made, video games were a booming novelty, but not ubiquitous as they are now. In a way, videogames are so much more sophisticated now than in the early 80's that the idea of one being a training device for space combat doesn't seem so far-fetched. Therefore, the concept loses some of its original cheesy charm. Still, I would like to see modern F/X applied to a totally over-the-top, video game-style space shoot-em-up. Hmm...what about a sequel instead of a remake? This time, maybe the threat requires bringing in a small *team* of young space recruits, and with that you can play up the diversity of modern video games. You'd have the flight expert (someone good at a game like "Freespace" or one of the "X-Wing" games), a hyper frag-crazed commando ("Quake", "Doom", etc.), even a calculating geek strategist ("Warcraft", "Starcraft", etc.). I see definite potential for "Galaxy Quest"-style, wish-fulfillment fun. I may even have to cook up a script for this one myself... Too bad the great Robert Preston has left us though. Who could fulfill his role?

  • June 14, 2000, 1:44 a.m. CST

    Cormorant, a sequel?

    by YerAllAgainstMe

    What would they call it? "The Last Starfighter II: No Really, It's the Last One". But I did like your ideas.

  • June 14, 2000, 1:55 a.m. CST

    This movie is going to kick Shaft's ass!

    by Kaylob

    This is not Heavy Metal. This is Titan A.E. and it's going to kick so much ass on Friday! Watch out Shaft!

  • June 14, 2000, 3:47 a.m. CST

    The Truth Please...

    by BobbyDigital

    Hmmm...A bit of a cop out me thinks...If the only reason the reviewer has held back on the criticism is because he appreciates the amount of painstaking work, time and effort which has been lavished on this, then what's the point? We may as well sing the praises of every film as surely, in their own little way, they too have been lovingly crafted. Just because we know how hard it was to create does not mean we should be any less truthful. Did Pochontis, Hercules et al not take demand the same high level of effort to produce? And to my knowledge, I don't remember anyone going 'easy' on those...Just tell it how it is, not how it should be.

  • June 14, 2000, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Kaylob, methinks you got it wrong babe...

    by Tett

    Animation gets big numbers when you can take the kiddies to it. The trailer looks too violent for most 8-year old. This film was made for ticked teens and fat fanboys. Will you put your money where your mouth is? I've got $50 that says Shaft will outdo Titan.

  • June 14, 2000, 8:42 a.m. CST

    Music... I need your help.....

    by Mike the Bill

    The latest trailer for Titan AE in the theaters has a great song...that is not on the movies soundtrack...does anyone know what it is? I heard it on the radio the other day, but they did not introduce it....someone has to know...it may be you...speak up please! Thanks!!!!

  • June 14, 2000, 8:51 a.m. CST

    I enjoyed TITAN A.E. very much. It's not a perfect movie, but it

    by Sam Spade

    I'm done.

  • June 14, 2000, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Based on this review, I was just on my way out the door to see t

    by r_dimitri22

    ...when I reached that Last Starfighter comparison. Ugh. Looks like I'm in the minority on disliking that one. Maybe I'll stay home. Great review, though, Alexandra, as always.

  • June 14, 2000, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Allow me to wet my lips, here...

    by KingMenthol

    as I'm about to kiss some ass. Alexandra, you continually prove your skill as a writer and a film critic. I'd love to see you come out here and work for El Tiempo de Los Angeles. It'd be nice to actually get some useful insight on films, rather than the drivel they publish. Normally I would go into hysterics with your usage of other films for over-comparison, but apparently in this case such comparisons are unavoidable. Nevertheless, I'm still quite jazzed to see a space animation movie, have been for years. I'm surprised, though, that Bluth beat Disney to it. But it's very cold in space, and Disney's heart isn't big enough to warm it up. Again, Madame DuPont, excellent work. NOTE TO HARRY: GET MORE REVIEWS FROM ALEXANDRA!!

  • June 14, 2000, 10:40 a.m. CST

    A bit on Joss Whedon...

    by KingMenthol

    I watched "Hush" again last night, and it seems to me that Whedon is one of the most crafty writers around. How can an episode with a half-hour of dialogue missing be so funny? I heard him on a KCRW (LA's NPR) interview, and he's a well-spoken individual with a lot of reasoning and thought in his shows. I was disappointed to learn that his X-Men script was tossed, and that it was more than likely the best one they had. Still, I'm very anxious to see more of his work. Hopefully some of his style is evident in Titan A.E.

  • June 14, 2000, 10:48 a.m. CST

    A brilliant sci-fi cartoon w/ just 2 questions.....

    by fx-guy

    Welcoming is the thought of finally watching an American animated film that truly deserves the status of: SCI-FI. I loved everything about this movie --the stunning visuals, the characters, even the story -- with the exception of 2 scenes. I'll address them as questions so that hopefully someone can explain them to me in lamens terms: 1. When Cale and crew finally arrive on Titan, how in the world did they just know how to work all the controls and gadgets? I'm not talking about just messing around w/ a switch, they knew exactly how, where and why everything worked. 2. I know Titan had a swanky display of DNA from animals, but how could it feasibly create a planet, complete w/ water, mountains, etc, etc?? Other than these 2 minor itches, the film worked great. NICE TO SEE DON BLUTH DOING IT AGAIN!!!

  • June 14, 2000, 11:22 a.m. CST

    tee-hee, you said DNA

    by Tett

  • June 14, 2000, 11:26 a.m. CST

    tee-hee, you said DNA

    by Tett

    Dude, I think that's the funniest thing I've read all day. Since they've got animal DNA, creating the animals from scratch is no big whoop. (matter cannot be created or destroyed yadda yadda yadda) But you question the water and mountains being created. How exactly does your brain work? Does it involve hard science fiction techno-babble, or just frilly star-trek type crap where they make it ALL up. You'know I can accept replicators making food, becuase I've seen the recipies, but phasers disintergrating people! Please! The radiation that would give off...fuggitaboutit.

  • June 14, 2000, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Titan A.E. Is Excellent

    by Digistory

    I saw Titan A.E. last night, and I must say it's extremely entertaining. Alex's reviw is pretty good, although I'd give it a higher reccomedation. We finally have an animated film that doesn't pander to cutesieness. Just the fact that the characters don't break into cute little songs alone makes the film seeing, but fortunately it has way more to offer than that. The opening sequence where the earth gets destroyed is pretty amazing, as is the reflective asteroid sequence that has already been noted here. Overall, a solid flick and one of the best of the year so far.

  • June 14, 2000, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Groovy Alexandra!!

    by Bregalad_

    Thank you VERY MUCH for such a thoughtful review. And at the risk of being redundant I will say it once again to those Bluth nay-sayers who loathe him and his movies for no good reason: Anyone who can beat Disney at their own game gets a gold star in my book.... and Bluth had been doing that since 1983. But quite often he's way out there playing an entirely NEW game, to which Disney won't even come to bat (such as making the first ever interactive fully-animated laserdisc arcade game; which was a marvelous precedent for future technologies yet to come). May Bluth and his team have a wonderful run with Titan AE, they really deserve some credit and acknowledgement for making it in the first place. I think it's gonna be cool even if the script is pedestrian. I've seen other space-fantasy genre movies that I've enjoyed in spite of a script that is less stellar than the visuals (are you listening, Uncle George?). So put your evil Bluth-hating sentiment away and give Titan AE a chance. Cormorant you are so on the BULLSEYE!

  • June 14, 2000, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Wasn't there...

    by Schnorbitz

    ... some sci-fi cartoon in 3D about 15 years ago? It even came to the "Smallest Show On Earth"-style fleapit in my rural corner of England, so it must have been some major release. WHAT WAS IT? Please, someone tell me. A 3-D sci-fi cartoon in about 1985/86/87... ANy ideas anyone?

  • June 14, 2000, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Alexandra rocks... Justice and Hallencock need to die..

    by The Crystal Lich

    Great review... way better than two other hacks we could mention. Oops...!

  • June 14, 2000, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Songs in the TITAN A.E. trailer and other various schtuff...(war

    by Mills Somerset

    To the above person wondering about the song...there've been like 4 trailers for this movie, so I forget what song is used in which trailer, i've seen them all, but never sequentially (i.e., i still see the 2nd one and then the latest one, then the older ones again, etc.). BUT: The one that came out just after the holidays used a cut off of Vertical Horizon's album, I forget which one, the name's on the tip of my tongue, and the last one I saw had Creed's "Higher" in it (which I somehow thought worked really, really well...that song is so cheesy and 80's rockish, yet I really like it, I dunno why). There was another song utilized in one of the trailers, which I now forget: and, of course, is probably the one u're seeking. Which means I was of no help. LOL Sorry! Oh, and: on the subject of HEAVY METAL-esque/BLUTH-ian animation, did he also do STARCHASER: THE LEGEND OF ORIN (Bluth, I mean). It kinda has that SPACE ACE-y quality about it (p.s., what the hey was the deal with someone bringing up SPACE ACE, did they cut some animated stuff together to make a "Space Ace" movie or something? cool!). Not that STARCHASER was a good movie, but I'm an 80's goober as much as the next gal/guy, so, thought I'd pop that in there. I'm actually quite looking forward to TITAN, in the back of my mind I want it to be cool and fun, which is something animation rarely is these days, for all the talk that's gone on here pro/anti-animation. I grew up on it and those were the first movies I went to see, the Disney stuff, and then NIMH later on (still love NIMH, still fear the damn Cassavettes-voiced Owl, lol), but animation of late really has become soft. Now, I know WHY it has, b/c they are intended as kids films, but the parts of ANTZ i liked were because it did skew older and I think succeeded in part. But b/c animation is an expensive gamble, and a long-term one to boot, I understand why studios have shyed away from producing any animated features that are just that: films that happen to be animated, but don't necessarily have to be "kids movies." So, I give Fox props for at least trying to do a genre film and doing it in a half-traditional/half-CGI style (I don't wanna get into semantics about what's actually digital or whatever, I know nada about animation, I just know the characters look like the Bluth stuff I'm familiar with, while the FX/action parts look like they could be right out of STAR WARS or the equivalent). As for the multitude of writers on this one who, from what I'm gleaning, STILL couldn't come up with one, solid throughline of a narrative (though it sounds more like the characters/depth suffer than the "journey" itself in this one), that's sorta par for the course, now, I guess...though I'm not excusing it, I'm just sorta used to it and it'll always confuse me how 20 or 30 writers is deemed a better idea than, say, 1 or 2. I kinda wish this movie was PG-13, too, just to show that Fox REALLY has some balls and is saying, "If this was done live action, that's what it'd be and the kids would still go anyways," but because they dumped so much moohla into it, they're clearly not dumb enuff to get a PG-13 and commit potential B.O. suicide before it even opens, I do understand that. The reasons I've liked animation of late on TV is because it allows for a serious bending of the format (a concept a number of shows has now taken and run with to the nth degree, but I shan't name names), a notion I first stumbled upon with THE SIMPSONS, which is what all animated shows should be: ok, the animation's crappy, that's part of it's appeal, but look at the places we can go and things we can do with our characters in a matter of seconds that would have been impossible with a live action show/cast. This is what I hope TITAN does bring to the table, the notion that animated films can function just like any other film and all my friends won't cringe when I say, "Hey, let's go check out TOY STORY 2" (which, for the record, I didn't enjoy quite as much as the rest of AICN's faithful, but I also think it had as much, if not more, depth of character than nearly every other movie that wasn't, say, THE INSIDER last year...). I'd like to see the same bendable reality achieved through FX in something like the MATRIX be taken advantage of in the Animated format w/out it seeming like "a major risk".........ANYHOO: Alexandra, if u're reading this, still, GREAT review, one of the best I've read on here and more in tune with the style I like to see. Well thought out, sans rambling, but STILL with enough time for outside details (your mindframe, what your opinions are on the genre and Bluth's past stuff, etc.) - which I think are crucial and ARE what sets this site apart. Kenneth Turan or Roger Ebert or Jay Carr do not interject personal asides or state-of-minds b/c that'd sort've tilt the scales, I think, and readers would be like, "Ok, Roger, do we need to know you were eating Sour Patch Kids during SUNSHINE?" But what I do like in reviews is putting the review/reviewER in context, and that's what Harry does in his best reviews, Moriarty too, and that's what Alexandra has done well here: i.e., not feeding a line of rambling b.s., just telling you where the review is coming from/giving it a personal POV, which is what "fan reviews" should be all about in the first place. ....whew......damn, now I'm tired........ok, peace out...

  • June 14, 2000, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Two things I'd like to say as User ID Indeed!,resident crazy...

    by user id indeed!

    Well,I see the masses adore Titan AE.Good for them.I DON'T.I'm going to be as serious as I can.I got this enraging email from this guy(Let's just call him Billy Q. Average Jackass,because I want to call him that,dammit)who accused me of being closed minded and STUPID because I was bashing Titan AE.Well,gee whillikers!Lemmee just take another look-see at that review.Let's see...hmm!Fancy that.It repeatedly notes that this is not original and the characters and elements are mixed together from many other(superior) movies.Well!I don't like unoriginal.I don't like knowing every step of the movie because it was stolen from another one.I don't like when people use a bunch of loud noises and explosions to scare me into thinking I'm watching a thrill-ride movie.I don't like playing "count the number of times I've seen the exact same thing in better movies"during a flick.I HATE IT.THAT's why I don't think I'd enjoy Titan AE at all.If other people wanna go to see a bunch of explosions and boomedy-booms from other movies(when they could just go rent the same stuff for about $6 less),that's fine.I,on the other hand,am patiently waiting to see Chicken Run,because it WILL be better.It has fun and jokes and drama and great writing.It doesn't,however,have brightly-colored explosions and aliens that look like my four-year-old cousin's rejected drawings,which will probably scare away most of Titan AE's audience.But there's an equally large,if not larger,audience for the kind of clever animated work that Chicken Run is.I'm one of 'em.And one more thing-I LOVE JANEANE GAROFALO.I literally have a crush on her.I adore her.Most people probably remember me as that guy who started that big Janeane-loving-thread a few months back.But I don't want to see Titan AE.They probaly cast her as some slimy disgusting monkey-thing,and I'd rather not groan my way through two hours of pure crap for 2 minutes of a wasted Janeane.I also am a big fan of St.Louis's own THE URGE.Those guys kick ass.Go buy Master of Styles.They are original and creative,and they have a trombone.Lead singer Steve has an amazing voice,and they are as a whole even better than the average Limp Bizkit."S.L.O.B." goes WAAAY deeper than "Break Stuff",even though the main idea is the same,for example.They haven't, unfortunately, been the huge success they easily could be,and I have been eagerly awaiting they're big break in a movie soundtrack.This isn't it.They'll just get drowned out by bands who are much,MUCH WORSE,but are more widespread and heard because their amps are louder.They won't be recognized.I haven't even HEARD their song on the track,which is supposedly very good.So,I'll find out the name of the song,I'll download it,and I'll play it repeatedly while watching The Truth About Cats and Dogs DVD instead of throwing out a ten spot.Thank you.This has been a Long-Winded Moment w/User ID Indeed!

  • June 14, 2000, 6:55 p.m. CST

    Losing_IT_Indeed!

    by Reverendz

    Calm down before you give yourself a stroke! This has been a "this is called plagiarism" moment with the Bouffant Spectacular.

  • June 14, 2000, 8:36 p.m. CST

    A derivative afternoon

    by jobiooine

    That Titan A.E. would not be original is something that I expected. That it would be a fun popcorn movie I did expect. However, in all this, we keep hearing about how Disney sucks. Yes, for the most part they do. However, they do have an agreement with Miyazaki to distribute his films in North America. Granted, they're dragging their feet on video/DVD releases, and the marketing for Mononoke was woefully inadequate, but at least we are getting to see them.

  • June 15, 2000, midnight CST

    Go see it so we can can get some decent american anime going!

    by jonskerr

    Hey folks, even if it totally sucks, make the sacrifice of a matinee admission and part of an afternoon so more (and better) animated movies can be made here! This is our chance!

  • June 15, 2000, 2:08 a.m. CST

    userid......is way to uptight

    by the_roc

    Ok, I really don't care what you think. If that little comment about people was aimed at me then geee I'm hurt. At least I sit alone watching The Truth about Cats and Dog's.....thats just sad, no really it is. Now talk about medeoker movies, and stuff you have seen over and over again Ya ever hear that story about the guy with the big nose, who really loves this chick, but has the pretty boy stand in for him, and feeds the pretty boy all the good lines? Now I know you might not want to belive me but that story is like 100 years old, and it is just like the truth about...yada, yada, yada....Any way maybe Titan is a story we have all seen before, but the whole idea for a movie is to entertain you, and the big booms, and explosions are suposed to do that. Maybe you should lighten up, and just be a kid agin.........cuz GOD knows you sure throw temper tantrums like one. And when your having your masterbatory movies night with Jannine, I'll be enjoying a movie that looks cool, and then get some from a real girl.... sorry about the spelling agin. the_roc

  • June 15, 2000, 8:56 a.m. CST

    MY mathematical conceit...

    by Thothmes

    [(Quality of Harry's writing before hiring a copy editor) X 10] = (Harry's writing presently) AND [(Harry's writing presently) X 25] = Alexandra's writing

  • June 15, 2000, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Yeah,roc,userid really needs to cool off

    by user id indeed!

    Seriously,that guy just pisses me off.As soon as I see userid,I'll be sure to tell him what a punk he is.I kinda like Cats and Dogs,but I think I liked Oomuh Therrmen and that wun eennglesh gie uh lihtul moer.Am I supposed to "be a kid again" while watching movies like "Baby Geniouses" and "Pocahontas"?I very easily become a child again while watching a movie,but first I have to actually watch it without being insulted on the behalf of kids everywhere. Anyway,what kid listens to Powerman 5000?I guess it's pitiful of me to enjoy an actress without a wasp-waist and a "Come here and fuck me now!!" persona.I'll be sure to beat myself over the head with a hammer to lower my intelligence enough to make Pam Anderson and others my fav actresses.And while Cats and Dogs' premise wasn't new,it was done the best.For example,the animals-attacking-humans premise was nowhere NEAR original,yet Jaws went on to become one of the best made movies of all time.This humans vs. aliens premise,in contrast,is at its worst here.I am now bored out of my skull trying to explain my POV to people,so I'll end it here.This has been a Moment with USER ID INDEED!Amazing how many people seem to misread my ID.Hmm!Interesting.

  • June 15, 2000, 6:16 p.m. CST

    userid......

    by the_roc

    Well I may have missed your point, and you may have missed mine. And yes I did enjoy Cats and Dogs, it was a "cute" little movie. And yes I do think Jannen is a very cute girl....infact my girlfriend looks alot like her. So in short lets all get past this whole Titan A.E. thing. And lets figure out the next thing we will fight about. I mean there are gonna be tons of stupid movies coming out soon.

  • June 15, 2000, 8:26 p.m. CST

    Damn straight,roc

    by user id indeed!

    Let's us just put this silly little movie behind us in hopes someone will get the blossomimg "American anime"(BIG oxymoron there,folks)genre right.Go Janeane!This has been a Moment w/A Not So Pissed Anymore User ID Indeed!

  • June 16, 2000, 12:25 p.m. CST

    A 2-D/3-D sci-fi animated movie circa 1985

    by damage

    What is STAR CHASER; The LEGEND of ORRIN? Did I win? Hoo ha! I actually animated some of those 3-D spaceships back when I was an embryonic animator. What a stinker movie that was.

  • June 16, 2000, 1:19 p.m. CST

    in the words of David Cassidy

    by CaptOrr

    I think I love you. I know it is pretty early in the relationship to go off on that kind of a commitment, but don't be scared off. This is the kind of love not associated with bonds legal and sanctioned "love" in the institutional sense. This is the pure love that I have never felt before. The way you transpose plot and character sketches into mathmatical equations, the way you can criticize without losing your fundamental reverence, your effective use of preamble. My name is Trail, would you like to have dinner sometime? Perhaps even take in a movie?

  • June 16, 2000, 1:33 p.m. CST

    in the words of David Cassidy

    by CaptOrr

    I think I love you. I know it is pretty early in the relationship to go off on that kind of a commitment, but don't be scared off. This is the kind of love not associated with bonds legal and sanctioned "love" in the institutional sense. This is the pure love that I have never felt before. The way you transpose plot and character sketches into mathmatical equations, the way you can criticize without losing your fundamental reverence, your effective use of preamble. My name is Trail, would you like to have dinner sometime? Perhaps even take in a movie?

  • June 16, 2000, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Titan A.E. 3D

    by majorhavok

    Saw Titan A.E. tonight and boy that movie was begging to be made in 3-D. The Ice Crystal sequence is worth the ticket price. Great sound.

  • June 17, 2000, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Thoughts on "TITAN A.E."...

    by Phantom Cruiser

    I saw it opening day, the first show, and unfortunately, I wasn't really all that impressed. It just seems as though the animated feature has alot to live up to since "The Iron Giant", which I now use as my barometer as what a good animated feature is. As far as the animation is concerned, it seems as though all of Bluth's work since The Secret of NIMH, has gone progressively downhill. The 3D stuff was fine, but I don't think it blended well, as far as the ships were concerned. The best 2D/3D blending to date has been Futurama, because it kept the ships in the same style as the characters, and nothing looked out of place. In some shots in "TITAN A.E.", where you were looking through a window, it looked as though the characters were pasted on, not like they were part of the same art work. As far as the villains, the Drej, they were well done, but story wise, there never any explanation as to why they found Earth to be such a threat, and how they found out about the Titan project in the first place, or Earth, for that matter. And since the leader of the Drej had 3, maybe 4 lines tops, you didn't really get that sense of him/her/it being that threatening. Kind of like the Imperious Leader from "Battlestar Galactica". Perhaps Bluth foresaw what would happen with this film, which is why 3/4 of the Arizona staff was let go just before it was released. It was a nice attempt. Perhaps next time, the story should be made a priority over "Which FX house can we call to work on this?" All in all, the animated feature has a long way to go, and unfortunately if all we're going to be stuck with is the same Disney formulaic drivel,and films like this, which are long on flash (FX), but short on story, it will never progress as an art form.

  • June 20, 2000, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Titan A.E.

    by ryun

    Hey Alexandra..Did the animation remind you of Hudson Van Curren?

  • June 21, 2000, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Can Someone PLEASE Tell Me. . .

    by Cowblaster

    Why people think the Computer Animation and the Traditional Stuff blends well in this movie? It sticks out like a sore thumb! Since when does computer animation have to be seen? Would you say the same thing about live-action movies?! NO! It should be SEEMLESS!!! Did anyone notice that, in Iron Giant, all of the cars and trucks and jets and tanks were CG? Even if you did, I'm sure you didn't think it blened poorly, or that it looked like crap, did you? I will never see this movie, because it's a slap in the face to anything that is animated. I mean, at the animation school I'm attending, my current instructor worked on this movie. He told me that everyone begged the producers not to release the film like it was. The told them that there were better ways to blend 2D and 3D, but the didn't listen. The guy KNOWS it's crap, and he WORKED ON IT! I don't care if you believe me or not. . . I'm still not going to see this movie. To call it "animation" is an insult to everyone who wants to get into the Animation industry.