By Steve Vivona
Don Bluth has been Disney's only real competitor in the field of animation for the last 20 years, and while hes had a number of successes Bluth has never been able to eclipse the Disney juggernaut. "Titan A.E." is one of his best efforts to date and having recently viewed the DVD I was shocked it didnt fare better in theatres.
"Titan A.E." is a literate science fiction film whose script is on a par with or better than many of the live-action genre efforts released these days. In the 31st century earth is destroyed by a marauding alien race known as the Drej. As destruction rains down upon them a young boy named Cale (voiced by Matt Damon) is given a special map by his scientist father. The map leads to The Titan, a special ship that contains the DNA of all the plants and animals of earth and the ability to create a new earth-like planet for humanity to rebuild on.
15 years later Cale is still unaware of his special destiny until he is visited by Korso (Bill Pullman) an old friend of his father. Korso knows Cale's secret and wants to help him find the Titan. Before long the Drej are hot on his trail not wanting to give humanity a chance to rebuild. Korso's crew consists of several oddball aliens with eccentric personalities (vocal talents include Nathan Lane, Janeane Garofolo and John Leguizamo) Korsos co-pilot Akima (Drew Barrymore) is another refugee from earth. She doesn't seem to have much use for Cale Although their relationship is contentious as first the pair soon fall in love.
Cale manages to elude the Drej but there are enemies lurking where he least expects it. After years of trying to escape his destiny he decides to embrace the notion that he might be humanity's last hope, but will he be in time?
"Titan A.E." is probably over the heads of the usual animation crowd and may be too intense for little children. The film is not overly violent but there are a number of offscreen deaths (hell, earth is completely obliterated so there are a few billion right there).
I was impressed at how intelligent the script was, and although the film is probably a little too ambitious for its own good, I think it succeeds. The characters are well drawn and seem heavily influenced by "Star Wars" (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).
Fox's DVD presentation is stellar as usual. The anamorphic widescreen transfer is gorgeous. Colors are vibrant and the image is razor-sharp. It's safe to say that Fox has swiftly become the pre-eminent producer of DVD product and this release is no exception.
In addition to a gorgeous transfer Fox has included a number of terrific extras (it's nice to see these kinds of features becoming almost the standard for all DVD releases).
There is a director's commentary along with a generous sampling of deleted and extended sequences. Also included is a nice featurette originally produced for The Fox Family Channel. Rounding out the supplements are trailers, TV spots and storyboards.