Titan A.E. (2000)

A video-game come to life on screen, but in a good way this time.

Set in the year 3028, many years after the planet Earth has been blown to bits by an alien race named the Drej, a young boy named Cale (Matt Damon) is discovered to hold the secret map of the Titan machine inside of his hand. The machine holds the power to unleash another planet for the few surviving humans still roaming around in space, and the opportunity to re-ignite their evolution.

This may seem like a totally random flick to review but for some odd reason I caught this on my Netflix queue and I haven’t seen it ever since it first came out so I thought it would definitely be a great way to get some nostalgia. Being a kid ruled.

One of the best things about watching movies is how they can sometimes take you out of the world that you’re living in at the present and transport you into this different world with all of its inhabitants and beauty. This is one of the main things I liked about this movie because it takes you out into the galaxy above and around us and shows its beauty and sometimes its darkness. The visuals in some cases may be dated, but they still look glorious because they show these little animated sketches but give it this 3-D look that almost makes it seem like a live-action flick. The film does a great job of combining both styles of animation here which works and takes you to this vision of space that I haven’t seen done before. There are so many great sights to see that it’s hard to just put my finger on one and I almost wish it was in 3-D and released again in 2012 because I think it would actually look even better and maybe get a better box office return.

To add on with the visuals too, the action is very fun and there is some sort of great energy that co-directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman both contain that makes this flick so much fun. There is just enough story here to make sense but when the shoot-em-up action scenes pop-up, they bring a lot to the film and make it feel like a lot of fun as if you’re watching ‘Star Wars’ in cartoon version. Let me also not forget to mention that there are some pretty cool rock songs courtesy of Jamiroquai, Lit, and even Fun Lovin’ Criminals. I don’t understand why more animated flicks let alone more movies in general just don’t use a pretty up-beat rock soundtrack to add to their action because it can honestly do wonders like it did here.

However, on the writing front, there is a lot of problems to be had here. First of all, as understanding as the story is in the first place it still doesn’t mean that it’s original by any means. There’s so much here that seems borrowed from plenty of other sci-fi flicks/stories that it can be very annoying at points. I mean there’s no big surprises at the end of the flick, but I was at least asking for some originality for me to get to that point. I also can’t forget to mention that this flick seems very adultish for an animated flick. Sometimes there will be a random sex joke that may seem more subtle than you expect but it’s still random, and there is plenty of other moments where it seemed like this flick really stepped over the whole PG rating, especially when it’s trying to connect with a kids audience but maybe that’s why it didn’t do so well at the box office in the first place anyway.

The characters here are also very bland and they aren’t very interesting, except for maybe one character, who wasn’t even human. Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, and Drew Barrymore, among others, all do their best with their voice jobs it’s just that their characters are so bland that it’s almost way too hard to root for them to save mankind. They all seemed to be written very dry or lifeless and they didn’t stretch my imagination as much as the cool visuals did either. However, the one character that I seemed to like the most was the Caterpillar-looking type named Gune, voiced by John Leguizamo. I don’t know what it is, but it always seems like Leguizamo is able to make any character he is playing, likable beyond belief.

Consensus: The visuals are very pretty to look at and there is a lot of fun to be had here with the energy in the action, but Titan A.E. still suffers from unoriginal writing, characters, and plot devices that seem to be used from so many other sci-fi stories. Still, what stands out from all of those other ones is its great visuals which make it a lot better than it has any right to be in the first place.



  1. Came down a bit harder on this than I had hoped, although I can acknowledge the film’s weaknesses. I watched this in the theatre when it first came out, and I was in my early twenties at the time. I think you’re close to the mark when you say it seems very adult-ish; I don’t think this film was really meant for children at any point (though Gune is arguably a bit of a kid-appeal character). It feels more like it was aimed at late teenagers and young adults; the slight anime influence, sci-fi theme, and attempts to wow the audience with visuals help to give that feeling. I think with that in mind, it’s a film that suffered because people expected a little kid flick (the old “animation is for kids” myth at work) and got something that really wasn’t.

    I enjoyed the film quite a bit when I watched it, bought it on DVD and have watched and enjoyed it a few times since. I think it’s an underrated film on the whole; not terribly original, true, but definitely fun. And I think it’s unfortunate it wasn’t more of a success, both for its own sake and because it appears to have ended Don Bluth’s animation career.

    • It was a fun flick that definitely got a lot more crap than it deserved, but it won’t be revered as any classic in the future. Thanks Morgan!

  2. I have no idea why, but I was actually thinking about this movie the other day! I agree with the view that when this came out most people assumed it was a kid-flick. When I tried first watching it I was only around 11, and I realized even then it wasn’t intended for the audience age I was viewing it at, especially since the sexual references were obvious to me. I may have to go back, and see if my perception has changed of it since then.

  3. I liked it a lot. I got it as a gift ages ago and sahould watch it again. Thanks for the reminder Dan.

  4. As someone who saw this when it came to video I can confirm that the film was not aimed at kids. The problem is that too many adults still think “animated = for kids” no matter what, so they didn’t go see the movie, either. That was why it didn’t do that well at the box office.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s