Titan A.E.

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Titan A.E.
Titan AE One Sheet.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDon Bluth
Gary Goldman
Screenplay byBen Edlund
John August
Joss Whedon
Story byHans Bauer
Randall McCormick
Produced byDon Bluth
Gary Goldman
David Kirschner
Starring
Edited byBob Bender
Paul Martin Smith
Fiona Trayler
Music byGraeme Revell
Production
companies
Fox Animation Studios
David Kirschner Productions
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 16, 2000 (2000-06-16)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$75–90 million[1][2]
Box office$36.8 million[1]

Titan A.E. is a 2000 American animated post-apocalyptic science fiction adventure film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman and starring the voices of Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, John Leguizamo, Nathan Lane, Janeane Garofalo, Ron Perlman and Tone Loc. Its title refers to the spacecraft central to the plot with A.E. meaning "After Earth". The animation of the film combines 2D traditional hand-drawn animation with the extensive use of computer-generated imagery.

Produced by Fox Animation Studios as its third and final project, the film was theatrically released on June 16, 2000 by 20th Century Fox in the United States. The film received mixed reviews from critics and made a loss at the box office.[1][3][4]

Plot[edit]

In the year 3028, a groundbreaking scientific project known as "The Titan Project" incurs the wrath of the Drej, a hostile race of aliens with bodies of pure energy, who fear that it will allow humans to challenge them. Determined to wipe out humanity, the Drej destroy Earth in a massive attack, forcing the surviving humans to evacuate and flee into space. During the evacuation of Earth, Professor Sam Tucker—head researcher on the Titan Project—leaves his young son Cale in the care of his alien friend Tek as he flees Earth in the spaceship Titan. Before he leaves, he gives Cale a gold ring, promising him that there will be hope for humanity as long as he wears it.

Fifteen years later, with humanity on the verge of extinction following the destruction of their planet, a jaded and cynical Cale works in the salvage yard of space station Tau 14. Ex-military officer Joseph Korso, a former friend and confidant of Cale's father, tracks Cale down and reveals that the location of the Titan is encoded in his ring, allowing him to find the long-missing ship by following a holographic map in the palm of his hand. The Titan, which was designed to create planets, could ensure humanity's survival by allowing the human race to create a new home planet to replace Earth. Korso invites Cale to join the crew of his spaceship Valkyrie as they seek the Titan. Accepting Korso's offer, Cale befriends Korso's pilot Akima Kunimoto and his three alien crew members: first mate Preed, weapons officer Stith, and scientist Gune.

After Cale and Korso escape Tau 14 with the Drej in pursuit, Cale's map leads the crew of the Valkyrie to the planet Sesharrim, where the alien Gaoul help them interpret the map, revealing that the Titan is hidden in the Andali Nebula. On Sesharrim, Drej fighters abduct Cale and Akima and copy the map. Akima is rescued by the crew after being jettisoned by the Drej, while Cale escapes the Drej mothership in a stolen fighter and makes his way back to the Valkyrie. The map changes to reveal the Titan's hiding place within the Andali Nebula: the ice rings of Tigrin, a labyrinthine asteroid field.

While resupplying at human space station New Bangkok, Cale and Akima discover that Korso and Preed are planning to sell the Titan's location to the Drej. Cale and Akima manage to escape the Valkyrie, but are left stranded on New Bangkok when Korso and the remaining crew leave for the Titan. Determined to beat Korso to the Titan, they fix up the dilapidated spaceship Phoenix.

Cale and Akima navigate the ice rings of Tigrin and dock with the Titan before the Valkyrie arrives. They discover a pre-recorded holographic message left by Cale's father explaining that the ship's power cells were drained in the escape from Earth, and lack the energy necessary to create a planet. After Korso and Preed arrive, Preed reveals that he has betrayed Korso and made his own deal with the Drej. Korso kills Preed by snapping his neck, and Korso seemingly falls to his death in a fight with Cale.

As the Drej attack the Titan, Cale and Akima fight them off with the help of Stith and Gune. During the battle, Cale realizes that he may be able to recharge the Titan by converting its systems to use the Drej's bodies of pure energy, but a circuit breaker stalls before he can complete the process. Korso, who survived his fall, has a change of heart and sacrifices his life to hold off the Drej while Cale repairs the circuit breaker and triggers the Titan's systems, killing most of the Drej as the Titan absorbs their mothership.

In the final scene, Cale and Akima embrace in the rain on the newly created human homeworld, and ships filled with human colonists arrive to start a new life.

Voice cast[edit]

  • Matt Damon as Cale Tucker, a yard-salvager who carries the map to Titan in his ring.
  • Bill Pullman as Capt. Joseph Korso, former soldier and captain of the Valkyrie.
  • John Leguizamo as Gune, an amphibian-like Grepoan and Korso's chief scientist.
  • Nathan Lane as Preedex "Preed" Yoa, a fruit bat-like Akrennian and Korso's first mate.
  • Janeane Garofalo as Stith, a kangaroo-like Sogowan and munitions officer of the Valkyrie.
  • Drew Barrymore as Akima Kunimoto, pilot of the Valkyrie and Cale's love interest.
  • Ron Perlman as Professor Sam Tucker, Cale's father who helped develop Project Titan.
  • Tone Lōc as Tek, Sam Tucker's blind alien friend who raises Cale after Sam left.
  • Jim Breuer as the Cook, a cockroach-like alien who works at Tau 14.
  • Christopher Scarabosio as the Drej Queen who fears the potential threat of humans and intends to destroy them.
  • Jim Cummings as Chowquin, Cale's overseer at the salvage yard.
  • Charles Rocket as Firrikash, a salvage yard worker who bullies Cale.
    • Charles Rocket also voices a Slave Trader Guard who surprises Preed with his intelligence.
  • Ken Hudson Campbell (credited as Ken Campbell) as Po, a salvage yard worker who bullies Cale.
  • Tsai Chin as Old Woman
  • Crystal Scales as Drifter Girl
  • David Lander as the Mayor of New Bangkok
  • Roger L. Jackson as the first alien

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In development at 20th Century Fox since 1998, Titan A.E. was originally going to be a live-action film.[5] The script had been passed around to various writers such as Ben Edlund, Joss Whedon and Art Vitello.[6] After $30 million had been spent in the film's early development with no progress, Art Vitello was sacked. Then-chairman of 20th Century Fox Bill Mechanic then gave the script to Fox Animation Studios creative heads Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, who were fresh from the success of their recent film Anastasia (1997). Mechanic had no scripts for Fox Animation Studios to work on and was faced with the choice of laying off the animation staff unless they took Titan A.E. Despite their inexperience with the science fiction genre, Bluth and Goldman took the script regardless.[7]

Fox Animation Studios was given a production budget of $75 million and 19 months to make the film. Unlike Bluth and Goldman's previous films, the animation in Titan A.E. is predominantly computer-generated while the main characters and several backgrounds were traditionally animated. Many of the scenes were enacted by the animation staff using handbuilt props before being captured by a computer. Many scenes and backgrounds were painted by concept artist Paul Cheng, who had worked on Anastasia and its direct-to-video spin-off Bartok the Magnificent (1999).[8] Much like Anastasia, the storytelling and tone in Titan A.E. is much darker and edgier than Bluth and Goldman's previous films with the film being regularly compared to Japanese anime. Although Bluth and Goldman denied any influence by anime, they have acknowledged the comparison.[5]

During production of Titan A.E., Fox Animation Studios suffered a number of cutbacks which ultimately led to its closure in 2000. Over 300 animation staff were laid off from the studio in 1999 and as a result, much of the film's animation was outsourced to a number of independent companies.[9] Several scenes were contracted to David Paul Dozoretz's POVDE group; the "Wake Angels" scene was animated by Reality Check Studios (their first feature film work)[10] while the film's "Genesis" scene was animated by Blue Sky Studios, who would later go on to making 20th Century Fox's Ice Age and Rio film franchises as well as Horton Hears a Who! (2008) and The Peanuts Movie (2015). Under pressure from executives, Bill Mechanic was dismissed from 20th Century Fox prior to Titan A.E.'s release eventuating in the closure of Fox Animation Studios on June 26, 2000, ten days after the film's release. All these events stunted the film's promotion and distribution.[7]

Casting[edit]

On November 24, 1997, Matt Damon joined the cast of the film along with Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, Nathan Lane, Jim Breuer, Janeane Garofalo and Lena Olin.[11] Later, John Leguizamo joined the cast.

Music[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

Titan A.E.: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedJune 6, 2000[12]
Genre
Length44:30
Label
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars [1]

The soundtrack to Titan A.E. was released on audio cassette and CD by Capitol/EMI Records on June 6, 2000 and featured 11 tracks by various contemporary rock bands, including Lit, Powerman 5000, Electrasy, Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Urge, Texas, Bliss 66, Jamiroquai, Splashdown, The Wailing Souls and Luscious Jackson.[12]

No.TitleArtistLength
1."Over My Head"Lit3:39
2."The End Is Over"Powerman 50003:10
3."Cosmic Castaway"Electrasy3:30
4."Everything Under the Stars"Fun Lovin' Criminals4:04
5."It's My Turn to Fly"The Urge3:44
6."Like Lovers (Holding On)"Texas4:36
7."Not Quite Paradise"Bliss 663:59
8."Everybody's Going to the Moon"Jamiroquai5:24
9."Karma Slave"Splashdown3:26
10."Renegade Survivor"The Wailing Souls4:07
11."Down to Earth"Luscious Jackson4:51

Creed's song "Higher" was played in many of the theatrical trailers for Titan A.E., but the song did not appear either on the soundtrack or in the movie itself.[13]

Score[edit]

Titan A.E.: Limited Edition
Film score by
ReleasedOctober 23, 2014[14]
GenreSoundtrack
Length76:55
LabelLa-La Land Records
ProducerGraeme Revell
Don Bluth Music of Films chronology
Anastasia
(1997)
Titan A.E.
(2000)

Titan A.E.'s score was composed and conducted by Graeme Revell. Although an official album containing the movie's underscore was not originally released alongside the film, it was eventually made available for the first time on October 23, 2014 by La-La Land Records as a limited edition CD of 1,500 copies. The soundtrack contains 32 tracks and music cues, most of what Revell composed for the film, and includes two bonus tracks: an orchestra-only version of "Creation" and an alternative version of "Prologue" with a different opening.[14]

Release[edit]

Digital screening[edit]

Titan A.E. became the first major motion picture to be screened in end-to-end digital cinema. On June 6, 2000, ten days before the film was released, at the SuperComm 2000 trade show, the movie was projected simultaneously at the trade show in Atlanta, Georgia as well as a screen in Los Angeles, California. It was sent to both screens from the 20th Century Fox production facilities in Los Angeles via a VPN.[15]

Home media[edit]

Titan A.E. was released on VHS[16] and "Special Edition" DVD on November 7, 2000[17] by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, which contains extras such as a commentary track by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, a "Quest for Titan" featurette, deleted scenes, web links, and a music video for Lit's "Over My Head".[18] The region 1 North American version also comes with an exclusive DTS English audio track in addition to Dolby Digital 5.1 featured in most international releases.[18] Chris Carle of IGN rated the DVD an 8 out of 10, calling the movie "thrilling... with some obvious plot and character flaws" but called the video itself "a fully-packed disc which looks and sounds great" and "for animation and sci-fi fans, it's a must-have."[19] As of 2020, the film has yet to release on Blu-ray.[20]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film opened at #5, with $9,376,845 for an average of $3,430 from 2,734 theaters.[1] The film then lost 60% of its audience in its second weekend, dropping to #8, with a gross of $3,735,300 for an average of $1,346 from 2,775 theaters.[21] The film ended up grossing only $36,754,634 worldwide ($22,753,426 in the United States and Canada, and $14,001,208 in international markets).[1] The film's budget is estimated at between $75 million[1] and $90 million.[2] According to Chris Meledandri, the supervisor of the film, Titan A.E. lost $100 million for 20th Century Fox.[3]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 50% based on 103 reviews with an average rating of 5.70/10. The site's consensus reads, "Great visuals, but the story feels like a cut-and-paste job of other sci-fi movies."[22] On Metacritic the film has a score of 48 out of 100 based on 30 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[23] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[24]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4, praising it for its "rousing story", "largeness of spirit" and "lush galactic visuals [which] are beautiful in the same way photos by the Hubble Space Telescope are beautiful". He cited the Ice Rings sequence as "a perfect examine [sic] of what animation can do and live-action cannot".[25]

Accolades[edit]

Titan A.E. won a Golden Reel Award for "Best Sound Editing for an Animated Feature",[26] and was nominated by the same organization for "Best Sound Editing for Music in Animation", and a Satellite Award for "Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media", losing both to Chicken Run.[27][28] The film was also nominated for three Annie Awards, including "Outstanding Achievement in An Animated Theatrical Feature", "Effects Animation", and "Production Design" which it lost to Toy Story 2 and Fantasia 2000, respectively,[29] and was nominated for Best Science Fiction Film at 27th Saturn Awards, but lost to X-Men, another film from 20th Century Fox.[30] Drew Barrymore was nominated for "Best Voice-Over Performance" by the Online Film & Television Association for her role as Akima but was beaten by Eartha Kitt from The Emperor's New Groove.[31]

Award Nomination Nominee Result
Annie Award Outstanding Individual Achievement for Effects Animation Julian Hynes (visual effects) Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Philip A. Cruden (production design)
Outstanding Achievement in An Animated Theatrical Feature Titan A.E.
Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing - Animated Feature Christopher Boyes, et al. (editors) Won
Best Sound Editing - Music - Animation Joshua Winget (scoring/music editor) Nominated
OFTA Film Award Best Voice-Over Performance Drew Barrymore (Akima) Nominated
Satellite Award Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Titan A.E. Nominated
Saturn Award Best Science Fiction Film Titan A.E. Nominated

Cancelled video game[edit]

A video game adaptation by Blitz Games was planned to be released for the PlayStation and PC in Fall 2000 in North America, following the film's summer release.[32] Development on both platforms had begun in March 1999 under the film's original title Planet Ice,[33] and an early playable version was showcased at the 2000 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.[32] In July 2000, a spokesman from the game's publisher Fox Interactive, announced that development on the title had been halted largely due to the film's poor box office performance which was "only one of many different factors" that led to its cancellation.[34]

Novels[edit]

To tie-in with the film, two prequel novels written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta were released on February 10, 2000 by Ace Books, the same day the official novelization of the film written by Steve and Dal Perry was released.[35] A Dark Horse Comics comic series focusing on the character Sam was also released in May 2000.[36]

  • Titan A.E.: Cale's Story – The adventures of Cale, ending with the beginning of the film. The book chronicles Cale growing up on Vusstra (Tek's home planet) for ten years and having to move to a different place every time the Drej attack. It also reveals how Cale became resentful of his father's disappearance and how he came to despise "drifter colonies".[37]
  • Titan A.E.: Akima's Story – The adventures of Akima, ending with the beginning of the film. The book chronicles Akima's life aboard drifter colonies and also reveals where she learned her karate skills, her friendship with Stith and her reason to find the Titan.[35]
  • Titan A.E.: Sam's Story – A three-issue comic book series telling the story of Sam Tucker, his crew and their quest to hide the Titan.[36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Titan A.E." Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  2. ^ a b W. Welkos, Robert (June 12, 2000). "Animated Clash of the 'Titan'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2021. cost about $90 million
  3. ^ a b Palmeri, Christopher (September 19, 2013). "Despicable Me 2 Producer Knows How to Win the Box Office". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  4. ^ Gabbi Shaw (February 27, 2017). "The biggest box office flop from the year you were born". Insider. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Lauria, Larry (June 1, 2000). "A Chat With Don Bluth And Gary Goldman (Part I)". Animation World Network. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  6. ^ Backes, Evan (April 1, 2001). "Why Does It Take Ten Years!?!". Animation World Network. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  7. ^ a b DON BLUTH at AnimationNation.com Special Event 2010. AnimationNation. May 21, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2015 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "Paul Cheng - Titan A.E." Paul Cheng.com. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  9. ^ Linder, Brian (June 27, 2000). "Fox Animation Studios Closes Its Doors". IGN. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  10. ^ "Reality Check Studios Tapped for Tricky Titan AE Sequence".
  11. ^ Fleming, Michael (November 24, 1997). "Fox's 'Ice' taps hot stars". Variety. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Titan A.E. - Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  13. ^ Mendelson, Scott (February 16, 2016). "Terrific New 'Alice Through The Looking Glass' TV Spot Will Give You Pink Eye". Forbes. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Titan A.E. - Graeme Revell - Limited Edition". La-La Land Records. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  15. ^ "Digital Cinema Delivered in Internet Style" (PDF). Cisco Systems. 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  16. ^ "Titan A.E. [VHS]". Amazon. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  17. ^ "Titan A.E. (2000)". Amazon. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Titan A.E. (2000)". DVDCompare. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  19. ^ Carle, Chris (November 15, 2000). "Titan A.E." IGN. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  20. ^ "Titan A.E. (2000)".
  21. ^ "Titan A.E. - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  22. ^ "Titan A.E. (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  23. ^ "Titan A.E. Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  24. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  25. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 19, 2000). "Titan A.E. Movie Review & Film Summary (2000)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  26. ^ "MPSE: Golden Reel Feature Film WINNERS! - 48th Annual Awards - for year of 2000". Motion Picture Sound Editors. Archived from the original on December 10, 2001. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  27. ^ "MPSE: Golden Reel Feature Film nominations - 48th Annual Awards - for year of 2000". Motion Picture Sound Editors. Archived from the original on May 14, 2003. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  28. ^ "Satellite Awards (2001)". IMDb. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  29. ^ "28th Annual Annie". Annie Awards. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  30. ^ "X-Men Leads Sci-fi Awards Pack". ABC News. April 4, 2001. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  31. ^ "Online Film & Television Association (2001)". IMDb. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  32. ^ a b Perry, Douglas C. (June 22, 2000). "Titan A.E." IGN. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  33. ^ Gestalt (November 8, 2000). "Philip Oliver of Blitz Games". Eurogamer. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  34. ^ "Titan A.E. Canned". IGN. July 26, 2000. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  35. ^ a b Chitwood, Scott (February 10, 2000). "Titan A.E. Prequel Novels and Novelization in Stores". IGN. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  36. ^ a b Chitwood, Scott (May 22, 2000). "A Look at the Titan A.E. Prequel Comic". IGN. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  37. ^ Chitwood, Scott (February 10, 2000). "A Quick Review of Cale's Story". IGN. Retrieved October 24, 2015.

External links[edit]