Monday, November 12, 2012
Movie Review: Titan A.E.
When an evil alien race fears that humanity will gain the ability to stop their conquest of space, they destroy earth. Fifteen years later, the only hope of humanity is the son of the man who hid a powerful ship that can create a new earth, since the son’s DNA can unlock the map to find the hidden ship. The son has grown up with mostly indifferent alien companions, and has become a reckless jerk. As he is begrudgingly dragged along on the quest to save the remnants of humanity, he slowly becomes a better person, and finds a few colorful allies. However, the aliens who destroyed earth are on his trail, and are willing do anything to get the hidden ship for themselves and prevent humanity from rising again.
The main draw of this film is the animation. In many scenes, it is spectacular, and fans of sci-fi and animated films might want to see it for that alone, though occasionally the animation is stiff or has less depth. There are many memorable action sequences that are vividly depicted. The story, on the other hand, is riddled with holes and things that aren’t explained and some erratic characters. However, the two main protagonists are effective, and a sidekick named Goon is notably amusing.
Titan A.E. is much more “adult” than all the other Don Bluth films I’ve seen, such as The Land Before Time, An American Tail, and Anastasia. The screenplay is co-written by Joss Whedon, who is famous for the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, and the movie The Avengers. While the idea of Don Bluth making a film for older audiences could have worked, I have somewhat mixed feelings about the result in this instance. There is a lot to like in the animation, action sequences, and protagonists, but a lot to dislike in the story problems as well as mild content issues. This unfortunately ended up being Don Bluth’s last film.
Titan A.E. starts out a bit grim and problematic, and though it gets less so as it goes along, the tone feels more like a PG-13 movie than PG. A gory murder scene is supposed to be funny because the alien being killed is sleazy. Aside from that, the violence doesn’t get gory. The idea of earth being destroyed and remade may trouble some, as may women in battle. There is some gross out humor and a bit of vague flirting and innuendo. Mild male nudity is played for laughs. A woman’s silhouette is seen as she gets dressed after a shower. Surprisingly, in the midst of all this, the movie is free of profanity.
(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner