[box cover]

Titan A.E.

Compared to Don Bluth and his crackerjack team of animators and technicians, those of us who collect DVDs are a bunch of swooning milkmaids. Total pussies. Really. Because, no matter how much we may swing a critical stick at contemporary animation features, none of us are working 1/1,000th as hard as the team that actually sat down and laboriously designed, budgeted, rotoscoped, pencil-tested, animated, colored, and re-animated Titan A.E.. Don Bluth, who thumbed his nose at Disney when thumbing one's nose at Disney wasn't cool, has created a film (with co-director Gary Goldman) that cost Fox a lot of money (with a budget of $75 million, it earned just $22.75 million theatrically in North America) but still has its merits. Matt Damon voices the lead character of Cale, whose escapes Earth as a young boy just before it's destroyed by the alien Drej (think the Slayers from Krull). Apparently, the Drej feel threatened by the Earthlings' "Titan Project" (think the "Genesis Project" from Star Trek II). Cale grows up to be an 18-year-old refugee welder (think Luke Skywalker, or maybe Will Hunting), and he soon he finds out he's Hollywood's latest variation on "The One," with a very important schematic implanted in his reluctant hand. He hooks up with a ragtag band (voiced by, among others, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, Nathan Lane and Janeane Garofalo), and they set off to find the Titan Project spacecraft, with the Drej in hot pursuit and many well-staged chases and diversions en route. Titan A.E.'s character animation is marvelous, provided you enjoy the Bluth Style, with different animation technologies blending rather nicely. And Bluth's naturalistic approach to voice work plays more or less beautifully — humanizing his animated avatars to a degree that animation rarely achieves. But in terms of story and script, Titan A.E. is a bit too safe and familiar, with some unimaginative dialogue and a couple of lapses in plot logic. Ultimately, for today's teenagers the film may occupy the same fantasy niche that The Last Starfighter occupies for those of an earlier generation. Solid anamorphic transfer (2.35:1), Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1, Dolby 2.0 Surround. Commentary with directors Bluth and Goldman, 20-minute "making-of" feature, four deleted or alternate scenes, music video "Over My Head" by Lit, still gallery, two trailers, two TV spots, additional DVD-ROM content. THX Optimode calibration. Keep-case.
—Alexandra DuPont

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