Tzaph Likes… Animated Films, Part 1


I’ll start by being perfectly honest; Titan AE is not the best of films. It’s actually quite mediocre, with a predictable plot and one-dimensional characters. It failed miserably at the box office. So why is it my seventh favourite animated film? Well, it’s something that I associate good memories with. Let me explain.

My friend Ian and I have a small collection of “our films”, movies that we watch to symbolise our unbreakable bromance. These are the movies that we’ll specifically schedule an evening to watch, abandoning our girlfriends, laying claim to the front room, and stuffing ourselves with Chinese takeaway and a criminal amount of caramel shortcake and Tuc.

This is some people's heroin.
This is some people’s heroin.

The list of “our films” is selective, and to be on the list is a great honour. There are no prerequisites for the film other than we have to both absolutely love it, without question or doubt. Broken Arrow is one of these films. Hellboy 2 and Aliens are two more. And Titan AE, with its gorgeous CGI scenes and kickass soundtrack, is one of these. We saw it in the cinema when it came out back in 2000, and I guess it must’ve made an impression on the two of us, because we’re still happy to kick back and watch it again and again.

Now that I’ve told the tale of bromance, let me tell you about Titan AE.

In 3028, a race of aliens called the Drej blow up Earth, because they’re dicks. The surviving humans make their escape, and are reduced to living on drifter colonies, or being second-class citizens in alien societies. Our hero Cale is one the latter. Cale is the son of Professor Tucker, who was working on a mysterious project called Titan. When the Drej came to blow up Earth, Cale and his father got separated, but not before the professor gave Cale a ring.

Not this one.
Not this one.

So 15 years on, Cale is living on a salvage yard in an asteroid belt, and is busy smouldering with daddy-issues. There’s a nice but fairly unexciting intro sequence that firmly establishes Cale as your standard cocky, doesn’t-play-by-the-rules, down-on-his-luck, nice-guy-at-heart protagonist.

Cale then meets Captain Korso, an old friend of his father’s. Korso shows Cale that his ring contains a map to the Titan Project, which is apparently the only thing that can save the human race from extinction. The Drej then attack the salvage yard (because, I remind you, dicks) and Cale escapes with Korso and his wacky entourage of crew, including mad genius Gune, the sleazy first mate Preed (who might as well be wearing a “I will betray you before the third act” shirt), and Akima, Korso’s sexy Asian co-pilot, because damn it Cale needs to get laid.

Thus begins Cale’s journey to discover what the Titan Project is, which will involve – but is not limited to – a speedboat chase through a forest of hydrogen trees, hilariously genre-savvy guards, giant space jellyfish, and a frankly startling number of grisly deaths.

As previously mentioned, there’s some delicious CGI environments such as the giant maze of reflective ice, and the enormous lightning-cloud gas nebula thingthat Cale takes Korso’s ship on a joyride through. The music is pretty great too; some late 90’s/early 00’s rocky-electro trash. I love it.

Overall, Titan AE is a fun, silly little sci-fi movie. I’d recommend it if you haven’t seen it before, just don’t go into it with very high expectations.

See you tomorrow for number six!



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