Titan A.E.

Since the commercial failure of THE BLACK CAULDRON permanently scared Disney away from non-G-rated, non-singing animation, fans have been waiting for someone to step into the breach. The wait is over, courtesy of Disney ex-pat Don Bluth; this mix of CGI and traditional animation is not only one of the most spectacular cartoons ever made, but also a reasonably...read more

Reviewed by Steve Simels
Rating:

Since the commercial failure of THE BLACK CAULDRON permanently scared Disney away from non-G-rated, non-singing animation, fans have been waiting for someone to step into the breach. The wait is over, courtesy of Disney ex-pat Don Bluth; this mix of CGI and

traditional animation is not only one of the most spectacular cartoons ever made, but also a reasonably adult piece of sci-fi. It's the 31st century, and the vicious alien Drej have just blown up Earth. The good news is that a small group of humans made it off-world before the big bang; the bad

news is that they're scattered across the universe and most other sentient species don't much like them. Enter Cale (voiced by Matt Damon), who discovers that his father has stashed the Titan, a secret weapon capable of recreating Earth and destroying the Drej. Faster than you can say "Millennium

Falcon," the unwilling and resentful Cale is pressed into service by spaceship captain Korso, an old friend of dad's, who reveals Cale has a map to his father's ship. This is familiar sci-fi ground, but the characters are more psychologically interesting than in most animated features and the

voice talent is first-rate, particularly Janeane Garofalo as a giant kangaroo with a bad attitude, and Nathan Lane, who steals the picture as a sort-of-outer-space George Sanders. One or two cute little aliens seem poised to go all Disney on us, but they're disposed of — one quite violently

— before they become annoying. The animation is generally as good as it gets, and there are moments of visionary beauty — a chase through a forest of explosive hydrogen trees, Cale floating outside a giant starship as space seems to recede into infinty — that rank with the best

sci-fi films ever made. The inclusion of trendy rock and rap tunes is a jarring cop-out, serving no purpose beyond guaranteeing a successful soundtrack album.

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