Retro Review: Titan A.E.

Hollywood brings the timeless style of the space opera to its animation department in a visual breakthrough.

Titan AE” (or Titan After Earth) chronicles the journey of a young hero named Cale (voiced by Matt Damon) as he is caught in the struggle between the last of humanity and the evil energy beings known only as the Drej.

Cale seems to be the key to winning the struggle as he meets fellow earthlings Corso (Bill Pullman) and Akima (Drew Barrymore).

Hidden within Cale’s ring and hand is a map that will lead the last of humanity to its savior, a top secret project known as Titan.

The Titan project was hidden after the annihilation of Earth and built by Cale’s father. Can the last remaining humans fight off their annihilation and survive to flourish once more?

As I first walked in to watch Titan AE, I was afraid that there would be a problem with melding the 3-D animation (as seen in “Toy Story”) with 2-D animation (as seen in most Disney animated films).

What I found was the effect drew me in more. It was amazing how the 2-D animation brought alive the characters and the 3-D animation encompassed the world around them including spaceships and backgrounds. It truly is a marvel to see.

Another amazing site to see is the different worlds and aliens the animators have dreamed up for this film. Winged creatures who live on a planet full of “hydrogen trees”, the “ice-rings”, and even the mostly alien crew that befriends Cale. The imagination really ran rampant in those departments.

It really is a shame that kind of imagination and originality never really found its way into the story. A reluctant boy tries to save his race from an evil presence as he tries to unlock his father’s past. Befriended by a motley crew of misfits he sets off to find his destiny. Now that doesn’t sound familiar. Putting aside the obvious comparison, Titan’s story reminded me also of a couple other animated projects. The projects being the great animated series “Invasion America” and the short lived animated series “Pirates of Dark Water“. If you have seen these then you probably know what I mean. And if you haven’t I recommend them highly.

The look and visuals are the best part of Titan. Other parts that bugged me are when the film seemed to switch from animated movie to animated rock video. I could barely understand the lyrics or the connection the song had to that part of the film. These musical montages really messed up the whole experience for me. A huge mangled rock song would play and as soon as the chorus would come there would be a laser blast or swooshing of a spaceship disrupting the song and its effect.

As I close this review I ask you as the audience one question. Do animated films need Hollywood stars as the voices? In Titan, I barely recognized any of the stars.

3.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer.

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