Titan A.E. is an animated sci-fi film set in a future where an alien attack has destroyed Earth and a band of human survivors trying to locate a spaceship called Titan, humanity’s last chance for recovery. The film combines computer graphics and hand-drawn animation and the end result is visually stunning. It was directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (they also directed The Secret of NIMH and Anastasia), and Joss Whedon contributed to the screenplay (so you know that it’s going to be good). It has a pretty impressive voice cast as well, featuring Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, Ron Pearlman, Drew Barrymore, Nathan Lane, Janeane Garofalo, Jim Breur, and Tone Loc.
The film begins in the year 3028 when an alien race known as the Drej attack and destroy Earth. Luckily Professor Sam Tucker has been preparing for this, and he’s built a spaceship known as Titan to ensure humanity’s survival. He’s forced to abandon his young son, Cale, on an evacuation ship, and the two go their separate ways. The film then jumps ahead fifteen years, and Cale is working in a salvage yard in space somewhere. Humans are scattered across the galaxy and are considered a lesser species because they have no home of their own anymore.
Cale eventually encounters Captain Joseph Korso, another human and former friend of Cale’s father. Korso reveals that the ring that Cale wears is a genetically encoded map that will lead them to the Titan. Together they could save mankind. Cale joins Korso’s crew, which consists of Akima, his sexy female human pilot and a couple of aliens of various species named Gune, Stith, and Preed. Then it becomes a race to find the Titan before the Drej can catch them and kill them. Of course there are lots of action scenes, a few twists and shocking revelations, and character developments that you saw coming a mile away. But it’s all enjoyable.
This movie bombed when it came out, and I’m not sure why. It was a mix of bad marketing and confusing publicity. It was advertised as a kid’s film, but it’s more of an action-filled sci-fi that happens to be animated. And the animation is gorgeous. It looks and feels unlike any other space fantasy flick that I’ve seen. And the action sequences are nothing short of thrilling. This movie is underappreciated and unrespected but it’s become a cult classic to some, myself included.
Critically Rated at 13/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young