Titan A.E.


Don Bluth finally gives all the whining animation fans what they claim to want, and guess what? They fail to show up and buy tickets. Titan AE, which fulfilled the claimed wishes of most of the animation whiners I have listened to over the years, has been solidly disparaged by these same folks on its release.

I personally thought it was a pretty good ride, and from a pure character animation point of view it was excellent. It featured some of the most solid human animation performances I have seen in a long time. Not only that, it also was adult themed, had no singing characters and the sidekicks were not totally annoying. If you are an animation fan I urge you to go see this film. You might be disappointed with a few things but overall the animation is pretty fun.

The major criticisms I have heard on the net and in various reviews usually revolve around the fact that the story seems to be cribbed from every sci-fi film made in the last 25 years. But then I could probably say that about most science fiction done in recent years, with the exception of
The Matrix
which still had "borrowed" concepts. Frankly this didn't bother me and I have to point out a couple of cool sequences which were totally original in concept; the Hydrogen Tree Planet sequence and the Ice Field sequence. Both these sequences were very cool and well executed, and they are not ripped off from any other movie. Another sequence which was quite visually stunning was a section where the heroes ship flies through a bunch of gaseous nebulae.

The other big criticisms seem to be the standard guns which people pull out to piss on Bluth films. The humans are rotoscoped and look like Saturday Morning animation, the dialog is too overdone, it moved too much and so on.

Let's look at these complaints one by one:

The humans are rotoscoped!
I say so what. Most human animation in all the Disney classics was rotoscoped and no one complains about this. Whether it is badly rotoscoped or not is another issue. In Titan AE the roto is very well done, and I know from talking to Len Simon who directed the animation that it was done properly. He was saying that they much more strictly enforced a policy of using the live action as keyframe reference rather than allowing people to simply trace. This is very apparent in the solidity of the drawings and in the weight displayed by the characters as opposed to the usual floatiness and crawliness associated with roto.

The characters look like they are from a Saturday Morning GI Joe cartoon!
One character, Corso, looks like a military guy but that is his character. The animation certainly isn't Saturday Morning, but I've read reviews implicating the quality of the animation because this one character reminds the reviewer of some sub standard TV show they saw when they were a kid. Another review claimed it was worse than Heavy Metal. Give me a break! People making these claims obviously couldn't animate their way out of a paper bag and are probably prone to calling an inbetween a "tween".

The dialog is too overdone!
It is called "chewy-dialog" and it is the Bluth house style. Live with it. I like it myself. Also, if this is your criteria for judging animation you might as well piss on Aardman and Nick Park's animation which has a weirdly distinct lip sync style as well. The Disney mushy dialog style is not the only way to do it.

"It moved too much!"
One of the main principles of animation as outlined in the Illusion of Life" is

Enough said. I could go on but it is obvious that most of the criticisms laid at the feet of this movie are specious crap. The only problems I had with the movie were some small story holes and with the integration of the 2D and 3D.

Neither of these issues were significant enough to stop me from enjoying the movie. If I were Don and his team I would be proud of this film. For the next one though I'd use a toonshader and forego the fully rendered 3D. To wrap up, the film while it has a few problems is worth seeing and is quite fun. If you don't see it in the theater it is definitely worth a look on video.


Stop by the