TITAN A.E. - After Earth


(Originally "Planet Ice")



Titan AE



In the 31st century mankind develops a giant spacecraft named the "Titan".   It seems that mankind's potential is now limitless... and to an alien species composed of pure energy, the Drej, the potential is dangerous.

The Drej decide to exterminate our species while presumably it is still located on one planet, before we get a chance to spread throughout the galaxy.   A giant crystalline mothership drifts into earth orbit (hanging in the air exactly the same way that bricks don't) and prepares to fire its planet-killing
energy beam.

Down on the planet the Earth's last windy day is a hive of activity... all of humanity that can is abandoning the planet before the Drej arrive.   Two of those who are boarding escape craft are a young boy called Cale, and his father - the designer of the Titan.   At the last moment Cale's father is needed by the Titan crew, and he is forced to give his son over to be taken aboard a different ship.   The Titan is a main target for the Drej because it contains mankind's best chance of escaping extinction, so its too dangerous to use it as an escape ship.   Before they seperate Cale's father gives his son a golden ring, telling him that as long as he wears it, there is always hope for humanity.

As the Drej come into range, the final escaping craft are fired upon by Drej fighters.   Dozens of ships race away from the Earth as it shatters and explodes.   Some ships disappear into space, some disappear in flames, hit by Drej fire or pieces of exploding Earth.   Out of a window Cale watches the Titan and his father fly away into deep space, not knowing if he'll see either of them
ever again.

Some years later Cale is now a young man and finds himself working in a spaceship scrapyard, cutting up starship derelicts.   What's left of mankind is now scattered across space, has become the favourite target for abuse by other alien races.   Cale has become disillusioned by his father, believing that he abandoned him all those years ago, and now looks after himself.   Of all the survivors of humanity though, Cale has an importance above any other - the ring Cale's father gave him is a map of the Titan's location, encrypted with Cale's father's - and also Cale's DNA code.   Cale discovers his unique position among humanity when his location is discovered by the Drej (who know he can find the Titan), and is rescued by a pair of human survivors and three alien crew members (one owning a very Jenner [Secret of NIMH] - like grin!) who have been hunting for him at the same time as the Drej.   Cale has learned to look after himself since his father disappeared, and is not impressed by is apparent obligations to the species.   He sees no reason to help find the Titan - the Earth's survivors can all look after themselves as he has had to do since he was a child - why should he risk his life for them?

It all looks like being a choice Cale will not need to make however - the Drej have an ally aboard the ship taking Cale to supposed safety who is giving out Cale's location, and they will catch up with him long before he reaches the Titan's icy resting place.

Titan AE, while being a really well-made animated sci-fi film, with lots of nice touches (most especially the evacuation/destruction of Earth scene!), suffers from one of Anastasia's worst problems - it just looks rushed!   It looks rushed in a way Bluth films never ever looked rushed until he started making films for Fox Animation.   The drawn characters flicker away at about 12 frames per second while the computer animation shows them up by running at 24 fps.... and it seems cloning of humans is possible in the future too - notice any characters who look remarkably like Dimitri and Anastasia?! :-)

Don't get me wrong (or disembowl me, fellow Bluth fans! :) ), - you'd still be missing a great film if you don't see TITAN AE, its just something is missing here - kind of like getting a takeaway / takeout without any secret sauce... there just seems to be something that would have made everything even nicer that didn't end up going into the mixture.   Maybe I'll be able to put my finger on what it was after I've seen it a few more times.   Between ANASTASIA and TITAN AE, I think ANASTASIA is the better film... ANASTASIA just seems to have more personality and better artwork, which are qualities that really define a Don Bluth/Gary Goldman film.

It seems quite likley that this will be Bluth/Goldman's last production for Fox Animation, as the character animation studio has closed.   Neither ANASTASIA nor TITAN AE did well enough for Fox it seems, but at least Fox had vision enough to see that Bluth and Goldman can make great animated films (also I suspect they probably hoped to play a little on Don's 'Animation Guru' status! :) ), and they were prepared to back him.   All the same, I think Don and Gary will be back - these are the people who made "The Secret of NIMH"!   They CAN make a great film, it'll only take someone of vision to produce it, and the right story to make it happen again!




"The Animated Features Page" - Titan AE section.   Has a comment from Don Bluth about the film.   This site is designed for Netscape, and may display incorrectly in some areas on other browsers.

More about Titan A.E. [After Earth]

A short piece about Titan A.E. (while still called "Planet Ice") from www.aint-it-cool-news.com in 1998.


Your phone becomes a laser gun "One of the tie-ins for animated science-fiction film Titan AE is an interactive game played via mobile phones." - BBC NEWS.

Earth background from the Apollo 8 mission to the moon, Christmas 1968.

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This page was created Sunday 31 October 1999