Titan A.E.

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Titan A.E.

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Titan A.E.

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With The Secret Of NIMH and An American Tail, animator Don Bluth helped prove that visually sophisticated, profitable animated films could be made outside the Disney system. But he spent much of '90s making listless kiddie fare (The Pebble And The Penguin, A Troll In Central Park) that suggested otherwise. Bluth's new Titan A.E. falls squarely into the latter category, a misguided space opera set in a distant future in which the earth has been destroyed and its inhabitants scattered across the universe. Among the planet's many exiles is a wide-eyed moppet (eventually voiced by Matt Damon) who will grow up to become the only human who knows the location of the titular mythical spacecraft. But, to save humanity, he and his motley gang must first battle an army of blue, computer-animated baddies who look like extras from Tron and speak only in tersely worded decrees ordering the destruction of humanity. Titan A.E. was written by The Tick's Ben Edlund, Go's John August, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon. So why does it feel like a more coherent but no more inspired version of Wing Commander's bewildering future-mythology, complete with a seemingly Battlefield Earth-inspired ending? Advanced use of computer animation has been one of Titan A.E.'s primary selling points, and while it's impressive at times, it ultimately just emphasizes the ugliness of its traditional animation and character design. Even worse, Titan's computer-animated segments are parceled out stingily and integrated in a way that makes the 1927 version of The Jazz Singer's use of sound look seamless. With its strict adherence to formula, irritating comic relief, and anemic soundtrack, Titan A.E. has all the flaws of conventional Disney animation with none of its craft or imagination.

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