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Titan A.E.

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

*Also starring: Bill Pullman, Tone Loc, Janeane Garofalo, Ron Perlman, Nathan Lane, Jim Breuer, John Leguizamo

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Don Bluth's TITAN A.E. is an expensive Saturday morning cartoon masquerading as a motion picture. Although the film contains some impressive special effects and awesome sound effects, they serve mainly to call attention to how flat and unappealing most of the remaining animation is.

But the real problem with TITAN A.E. is the lifeless script by Ben Edlund, Randall McCormick and Joss Whedon. Unable to fashion characters with any depth or interest and unable to come up with any meaningful or humorous dialog (the movie has exactly one funny scene), the writers create a script so weak that it is almost non-existent, as if the characters just tried to ad lib their lines. Maybe if the studio had brought in a fourth or fifth writer to work on the screenplay, someone would have finally found something to say worth hearing.

The story concerns life after earth, hence "A.E." An evil alien race, the Drej, have blown our poor planet to smithereens. As "humanity's last great hope," Matt Damon plays the initially reluctant hero known as Cale. Drew Barrymore plays Cale's sidekick, a tough pilot named Akima. Bill Pullman is the mysterious Captain Korso, and John Leguizamo is his navigator, Gune. None of the voice talent is used properly. The only reason to have them onboard is to add the marquee value of their names to the production. For an infinitely better animated adventure film see last year's PRINCESS MONONOKE.

There are a few nice moments in TITAN A.E. The best sequence calls to mind the sub chase from THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. As the ships chase each other through the tight confines of large floating ice crystals, the effect is that of a hall of mirrors at an amusement park.

"My scanners are picking up a veritable cornucopia of nothing," Gune tells Korso, which is exactly how I felt watching the movie. More than anything, TITAN A.E. is like an expensive video game as the characters shoot at each other. Maybe it would be fun to play with a joy stick, but observing it passively provides little enjoyment.

TITAN A.E. runs a very long 1:30. It is rated PG for action violence, mild sensuality and brief language and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and up. This is an animated film with blood, which may scare younger viewers.

My son Jeffrey, age 11, gave the film ****, praising particularly the film's computer graphic sequences. There with 8 other buddies of his (all in the prime demographic range for movie, age 11-12), they all agreed that the graphics were impressive. About half of them, however, complained about the weakness of the storyline, but the all of boys' ratings were pretty high, ranging from *** to ****.

Copyright 2000 Steve Rhodes

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