Earth shattering
Titan A.E.
Review by Ross Anthony

Sirens roaring, your father plucks you from innocent play, boards you on a spaceship that evacuates the planet in seconds. You look back through a gleaming porthole at that warm blue marble affectionately called Earth as it explodes into huge chunks that pass up your fleeing ship and crush the moon like a powdered doughnut.

Talk about opening sequences! "Titan's" is Earth shattering! And that's just the start of this wildly fantastic journey that artfully mixes computer-animated ships and worlds with warmer traditionally-painted characters. This potent combination fuses with a heavier-edged rock and roll. Wow!

Though the story itself is securely formulaic, this animated sci-fi flick rumbles off the screen with a pleasantly shocking thrill, confidence, and surprise reminiscent of the original "Star Wars" release all those years ago.

In the 31st century, pure-energy bad guys decide to wipe out Earth for fear of the rapidly progressing human race. Sixteen years later, most people have accepted their lot as drifters or slaves scattered throughout the universe. But Kale's scientist father, having anticipated the catastrophe, created a latent remedy and a key that he bestowed to the unknowing son before they were separated in the explosive introduction. Will Kale be able to overcome his acquired selfish-survivalist attitude and realize the power at hand? "You look homesick," someone says to our oppressed protagonist. "Gotta have a home for that," Kale retorts.

Eventually Kale is recruited for the good mission, but warns to a friend of his father, "If I don't like the way things are going ... I'll show you just how much like my father I am. I'll leave." Another character on the "save the humans" team is an ET turtle-like creature with the bumbling personality of Floyd from the "Andy Griffith Show." He's a scientist and wakes up with a new toy, "I invented it in my sleep. I've put a button on it. I'd like to push it, but I don't know what it will do?"

In fact, most of what this film sets out to do ... it aggressively devours. But here are a few, definitely minor, shortcomings. Some dialogue is throwaway cliché. Drew Barrymore is an excellent actress, but could use a slight jolt of expression for her voicing of the female lead. Though I loved it, some filmgoers may find the pounding/driving music overbearing. Again, these are small scratches on a gleaming metallic surface.

Ice clusters that shimmer and crush, combustible hydrogen trees, translucent stingray wake angels, "Titan" is absolutely gorgeous and gloriously imaginative. Plus, you get a riveting lesson in anti-gravity physics.

PS: I'm presuming AE is the abbreviation for "After Earth."

  • Titan A.E.. Copyright © 2000. Rated PG.
  • Voices of Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, Janeane Garofalo, Nathan Lane.
  • Directed by Don Bluth & Gary Goldman.
  • Written by Bend Edlund, John August, Joss Whedon.
  • Produced by Gary Goldman & Don Gluth at 20th Century Fox/David Kirschner.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:51:53 PDT