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  Titan AE  
  20th Century Fox  
  Don Bluth  
  Matt Damon & Drew Barrymore  
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This is a classic space opera. At the beginning of the 31st century, humans have created the Titan, a spaceship which represents a quantum leap forward in technological ability akin to the discovery of electricity. Unfortunately, the Drej (bad guys) get all worried and decide to blow up The Earth. So, the people who were lucky enough to get off the earth are in floater colonies or doing odd jobs for other aliens who aren't particularly sympathetic to the human plight. There is not the hard sci-fi feel of all sorts of stuff being fully fleshed out. Lots of stuff in this "universe" is left unexplored. But, that's the point. You're here to focus on the characters, and their reactions to the events around them. The story is not the story of a society or societies, it is not the story of hardware, it is the story of these specific people caught up in the events of the film, and how they react to them.

Unfortunately, that's one spot where the movie could do a better job. It seems like there's only a limited number of emotional reactions allowed on the screen at one time. If you've ever seen the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the improvisational TV show, you'll know what I mean if you're familiar with the "Sitting, Standing, Bending" improvisational exercize. Three people are given a scene to act out, but at any one time, one person must be sitting, one must be standing, and one must be bending over, and as one or the other person changes they all have to react accordingly. It seemed the same way here; only one person could be cynical, only one person could be altruistic, only one person could be lovestruck, only one person could be action-oriented, etc. And as one person changes, the other people have to change in sometimes pretty unbeleivable ways. An extra, oh, two weeks with the script writing would have sent this over the top for me. They're realistic characters, not charicatures, but they just seemed to be a little too free with their motivation sometimes.

Now, with any animated feature, the quality of the animation must be addressed. And it's quite stunning at more than a few points. Every so often, the blend between computer generated animation and the hand-drawn animation is a little klunky, like in the boat scene. But overall, it could be worth seeing for the animaiton alone. The blending of the computer-generated backgrounds with the hand-drawn characters moving through it beleivabley, with the light changing and such, is extremely well done.

You know how some movies have a soundtrack album but the only song that makes an appearance in the movie is over the end titles, and everything else is the score? Not so here. Songs from the soundtrack album are sprinkled liberally throughout the picture. Which is not a good thing. Sometimes the unexpected presence of bad 80's hair metal (is there any other kind?) can be distracting.[At this point i feel it necessary to point out that the opinions expressed by My Minions are, to the best of their knowledge, their own. Sometimes i disagree, but it helps keep things interesting. Besides, if they step too far out of line i can still force them to listen to "The Complete Works of Quiet Riot!" over and over. Get it mollusc-minion? -- Brendan]

Okay, to sum up. It looks pretty, the animation is really well done, the story is enough to move the movie from point A to point B, the characters are a reasonable framework to hang the movie on, even they could have used more work. I'd definitely recommend it if you like animation, and to people who aren't, I'd say you could find an enjoyable hour and a half.

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