Two weeks ago, we touched on ‘Iron Giant‘, so what better time to dust off the other sci-fi animated classic of the era for Throwback Thursday, ScienceFiction.com’s ongoing column dedicated to the great science fiction of the past.
And no, I’m not referring to ‘Treasure Planet’ (though stay tuned on that). I’m talking about ‘Titan A.E’, the cartoon that features more famous people than its notoriety really deserved. Though, with the exception of John Leguizamo and Nathan Lane (who seem to be in every animated film, let’s be frank), none of the cast are really known for their distinct voices, or ability to imitate anything, so it should be no surprise that it is somewhat forgotten despite having such great talents as Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, Janeane Garofalo and Drew Barrymore. Or the fact that Joss Whedon is credited as one of the screenwriters…. or that it’s a Don Bluth movie…
Like ‘Iron Giant’, ‘Titan A.E’ blended traditional animation techniques with computer animation techniques, which made for a unique film that did new things… though its transitions from computer to traditional are admittedly not as smooth as they should have been.
The story is a very common in the science fiction world, though not necessarily for a younger age group. After an alien race called the Drej destroy Earth due to fear of the creation of a ship called the Titan, humans are the orphans of the universe with no place to call their own. The main character Cale works at a salvage yard until a human captain tracks him down, and gives him a ring — a ring that only Cale can use, with instructions on how to get to a ship called Titan, which supposedly can create a new Earth. The Drej, who are afraid of the Titan, and have been searching for it, catch wind of this and chase Cale and his increasingly diverse comrades.
The plot is about as straightforward as it sounds, but it’s blessed with quirky characters and animation worthy of the name Don Bluth. Whether or not it holds up for the more sophisticated sci-fi viewer in this day and age is a matter of debate, but it still holds a special place in my sci-fi-starved, high school heart.