Monday, March 4, 2013

Day Sixty-three - Titan A.E., or "Come back down to Earth, oh yeah."

I have fond memories of Don Bluth's work in the 80's.

The Secret of Nimh, An American Tail, and All Dogs Go to Heaven were great films that managed to weave death and darkness in addition to basic heroism in children's tales in a way that both frightened and inspired me in my early years. He never really shied away from violence or despair and I loved him for that.

When I first saw trailers for Titan A.E., I was already an adult and thought it was great that he was tackling Science Fiction... especially considering most of his 90's films just hadn't done it for me.

This was especially important because it seemed to have subtle anime stylings as well. Now, that may have just been me projecting. I was just discovering anime as a medium despite having been exposed to it early through the Americanizations of Voltron and Robotech. In my late teens, though, I was finally beginning to realize that there were dozens of schools and styles across the Pacific that Americans were just discovering and spreading. Akima's obvious Asian heritage in Titan A.E. probably just triggered my Weeaboo button when it shouldn't have.

Either way, back then... I was excited for Titan.

Then I saw it.

I thought it was alright, and the grand majority of its CGI animation (the Dredge notwithstanding) was pretty good for the era, but there were better space opera alternatives at the time... like the ill-fated Invasion America.

Coming back to it almost fifteen years later, thanks to Netflix, I feel that my initial hesitance was justified. It's a fun little adventure, at times, but is mostly terrible thanks to puerile writing and predictable story arcs.

I mean, it's one thing to make a chosen one story in space... it's quite another to rely on a silly overly-menacing villain race, an unnecessary second act betrayal, and a love story that comes out of nowhere.

To be honest, I really wanted to believe the Kale/Akima romance, but there was nothing really there. They go from hostile to bosom buddies with little to no prompting and with absolutely no obvious chemistry. Not to mention the fact that when they are both captured and Akima is doomed to the vast expanse of space by the Dredge (the terribad CGI villains of Titan A.E.), she just happens to be picked up by slavers so she can be conveniently rescued by the rest of the crew?

Just how far does a tracking implant transmit, anyway? Yeesh.

Added to that cheese is the second act turn by the Han Solo-esque captain, Korso, and the laughable action sequences, where Janeane Garofalo and Drew Barrymore do nothing but spout inane one-liners and yell petulantly at incoming Dredge fighters, and they pretty much lost me completely.

Just a tip, Don... when you announce that all of the enemy fighters break off to return to the mother ship for a Death Star-like superlaser attack only to have two conveniently come back and attack in what has to be the single most obvious plot hole I've seen in months, you know things you should've known there were problems in the writer's room.

If Anastasia or Rock-a-Doodle hadn't done it, Titan A.E. definitely nailed the coffin shut on Don Bluth's career for me. You are so much better off watching Heavy Metal 2000 for silly space fantasy.

I'm serious... F.A.K.K.2 did a much better job with pretty much every single archetype that Titan A.E. used... but to much greater affect.

And with a better soundtrack, too.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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