Michael Wong x4241 (Michael.Wong@nsc.com)
Fri, 16 Jun 2000 19:11:15 -0700 (PDT)


Dear BlackEagle:

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

I watched Titan A.E. yesterday on a free preview showing and my reactions are
quite different.

> 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

I first saw a trailer for this in a theatre and it looked really interesting.
My heart kinda sank when I saw the character design and recognized that it was
the same damned tired rotoscoped characters by Don Bluth. Not that all Don
Bluth animation are bad, I actually liked Anastasia a lot, most of his other
stuff are stupid though. The main problem with Don Bluth is he tried too hard
to Disney-ized his movies.

> 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.

Come on, not all american animation are bad. Fritz the Cat and Sout Park were
both excellent.

> 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).

I find Independence Day much more entertaining than Titan A.E. and it is no
where in the league of the first 2 Alien and Terminator. I know Independence
Day is pretty bad, but it's a guilty pleasure of mine and seeing the United
States blown up (New York and Washington in particular) just gives me the chills
for some unknown reason.

> 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.

I actually kindof disliked Iron Giant because I found the kid Hogarth terribly
annoying, granted, he is not as annoying as the Pepsi girl. But the part when
he was yelling "you can fly" when his face contorts make me want to throw up.
Vin Diesel did a great job as the Iron Giant though. Toy Story 2 counts as
Disney and I personally liked it a lot.

> 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.

That I agree, but I still wouldn't recommend this movie to fellow anime lovers.
The plot was exceedingly stupid.

> 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.

Funny, I recognized Matt Damon's voice almost immediately and kept thinking
about him when watching Cale move about on screen. This was really a king of
distraction because images of him as the Talented Mr. Ripley kept popping up
in my mind. BTW, Akima's voice actress was Drew Barrymore and NOT Meg Ryan,
Drew Barrymore is a terribly actress and even worse as a voice actress, I find
her voice extremely grating. Bull Pullman, John Leguizamo, and Janeane Garafalo
all did pretty good jobs as the secondary characters. Too bad they can't make
up for the shoddy voice-acting of Matt Damon (he is not that bad, but not good
either) and Drew Barrymore (trully terrible).

> 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.

The character design were plain average Don Bluth fare, and to tell you the
truth it really bugs me. The way the rotoscoped characters move about and
speak just didn't look right for me, there is something so un-natural and oddly
exaggerated about it which takes away the enjoyment of the movie as a whole for
me.

> 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

I think I know what you mean, is it the part where the space ship is flying
with a bunch of space jelly-fish (forgot the name)? That part was gorgeous but
completely gratuitous.

> 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).

True that, true that. They just do NOT belong together, Blue Submarine 6 has
kindof the same problem. But the Otomo type character works much better than
the Don Bluth type for me. Plus the movement seemed more natural for BS6, the
TAE character animation just move too awkwardly for me.

> The plot isn't that deep, nor that original, but it stands up pretty well.

I'll have to disagree with on this one. The plot just DIDn't hold up at all:-

First, if the Titan can be so powerful and destroy all the Drej then why didn't
they activate it in the first place? Okay, they can argue that the project
wasn't completely finished at the time, but by the time the father was done
finishing off the ship he could have immediately activated the ship to wipe out
the Drej instead of getting "assasinated". The fact he didn't even attempt to
create another earth immediately stripped the movie of all credibility.

Second, when they bad guy was chasing after Cale and Akima in the ice asteroids,
they don't even have a sonar or radar type of sensor that can pick up Cale's
ship. Come on! I'd believe after more 1000 years from now we would have some
sort of better sensor equipment that do not rely solely on visual detection! We
have better equipment now than they do 1035 years in the future!

Third, Cale and Akima were at least a couple of days behind the bad guys and
yet they still found the Titan A.E. first. This is not counting the fact they
are on a derelict spaceship that is like 15 years old which they just patched up
using junky spare parts.

Fourth, the bad guys were stupid enough to yell at each other at the top of
their voice and talking about their master plan THROUGH AN OPENED DOOR, and let
our heroes eavesdrop on them. How stupid are they?!?!

Fifth, the eagle people have no means to fight against the Drej and were just
sitting ducks waiting to be shot down. I would assume an ancient wise race of
aliens to be have higher tech than that.

Sixth, the part when the two guys jump from the cockpit of the damaged plain
into the space craft in near VACUUM of the outer space while "Exhaling", Mua
hahahahah.

...the list continues but I won't bore you guys.

> 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

Yeah, the movie was quite derivative, but then again what's not? Even Star
Wars and Matrix have elements pilfered from other stories, what matters is that
they are presented in a fresh and entertaining way, which Titan A.E. can't
really make this claim. I find the middle part of the movie exceedingly boring
and uninvolving, they might make the story less boring if the Drej aren't
portrayed as such bloodthirsty standard evil monster. Make the humans evil and
the Drej just trying to protect themselves for attempting to destroy the Titan
project should make this a much more interesting story.
 
> belong. The movie's play on the old 'let's dress up and sneak past the
> guards routine' is pretty funny.

I liked that part too, it was really funny. "An intelligent guard!" really
cracks me up.

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

Yes, I agree that it's a major step in the right direction, but it still was
quite up to snuff. Give me 0080 over this anyday.

Michael

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