Blackeagle (cdupchurch@hotmail.com)
Fri, 16 Jun 2000 18:19:10 MST


This is OT, but I went to see Titan A.E. today and I can't resist.

I've been keeping an eye on this project for a long time (ever since it's
existence first came to my attention under the name Planet Ice). I went
into this movie with very mixed expectations. On one hand, I really hoped
I'd finally get to see an american attempt at a reasonably serious animated
SF film. On the other hand, I've been burned by my expectations of american
animation before.

How good was it? Well, Titan A.E. falls into a couple of categories, so it
really depends what you compare it too.

Titan as a SF action movie:
Titan compares very well with most live action hollywood SF. I'd put it up
there with the first two Alien flicks, the Terminator movies, Predator, etc.
  It's no 2001, but it's miles ahead of junk like Independence Day and
Godzilla (blech).

Titan as an American animated movie:
Here also, Titan stands up pretty well. It's comparable with the best stuff
that's come out in recent years (Toy Story, Antz, Iron Giant, etc.) and it's
loads better than anything Disney has produced recently.

Titan vs. Anime
Well, it's not in the same league as Memories, Macross Plus or 0080. That
said, it's much closer in spirit to anime than anything else that's come out
of hollywood.

Some specific notes:
One thing I really liked about the movie is the voice acting. It follows
the recent trend in animated movies of using celebrity voice actors (Matt
Damon, Bill Pullman and Meg Ryan). In many of these movies (even ones I
liked like Toy Story and Antz) seem to almost show off their famous voices.
It's impossible to forget that these are big stars. Titan really didn't
give me this impression. The voices just seem to blend so well with the
characters, that while I was watching I never thought of Damon or Ryan.

The character design was good. The character design style is actually
further from anime than recent Disney movies. It seems closer to the Batman
animated series with some classic Disney and modern comic book touches than
anything else.

Some of the film's visuals are truly impressive. There's actually one place
where I thought it got a little gratuitous, but most of the time it's
handled in a more understated fashion. Titan uses conventionally animated
characters with a mixture of drawn and CG backgrounds. Occasionally, there
are problems integrating the two (this mainly seems to happen when the
camera's POV is moving around the character, the CGI background is nice and
fluid, but the cell animated character isn't).

The plot isn't that deep, nor that original, but it stands up pretty well.
If I didn't like the overall movie as much, I could accuse the screenwriters
of pillaging a dozen different SF films (they lifted the ending right out of
one of the Star Trek movies) but I thought the movie carried it off. While
many of these elements have been seen before, Titan puts them together in
new and interesting ways. Nothing seems forced to fit where it doesn't
belong. The movie's play on the old 'let's dress up and sneak past the
guards routine' is pretty funny.

Overall, it isn't perfect, but it's going in the right direction. I hope
they follow it up with something even better.

________________________________
Chris Upchurch a.k.a. Blackeagle
cdupchurch@hotmail.com

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