Titan A.E. is a 2000 American animated science fiction film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. Its title refers to the spacecraft central to the plot, with A.E. meaning "After Earth". It stars Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, Nathan Lane, Janeane Garofalo and Drew Barrymore. The film's animation technique combines traditional hand-drawn animation and extensive use of computer generated imagery. Its working title was Planet Ice. It was theatrically released on June 16, 2000, by 20th Century Fox and was the final film for Fox Animation Studios. The film grossed $36.8 million on a $75–$90 million budget, making a $100-million loss for the studio.
In 3028 A.D., humanity has mastered deep space travel and interacted with several alien species. A human invention called "Project Titan" alarms the Drej, a pure energy-based alien species. As the Drej start to attack Earth, Professor Sam Tucker, the lead researcher for "Project Titan", sends his son Cale on one of the evacuation ships with his alien friend Tek, while Tucker and other members of his team fly the Titan spacecraft into hyperspace. When the Drej mothership destroys Earth and the Moon with a massive directed-energy weapon, the surviving humans become nomads, generally ridiculed by other alien species.
Fifteen years later, Cale works at the salvage yard in an asteroid belt called Tau 14. He is tracked down by Joseph Korso, captain of the spaceship Valkyrie. Korso reveals that Tucker encoded a map to the Titan in the ring he gave for Cale. Tek tells Cale that humanity depends on finding the Titan. When the Drej attack the salvage yard, Cale is forced to escape aboard the Valkyrie with Korso and his crew: Akima, a human female pilot, and Preed, Gune and Stith, aliens of various species.
On the planet Sesharrim, the bat-like Gaoul interpret the map and discover the Titan hidden in the Andali Nebula. Drej fighters arrive, and capture Cale and Akima. The Drej eventually discard Akima and extract the Titan's map from Cale. Korso's crew rescues Akima, while Cale eventually escapes in a Drej ship and rejoins the group. Cale's map has changed and now shows the Titan's final location.
While resupplying at a human space station called New Bangkok, Cale and Akima discover that Korso and Preed are planning to betray the Titan to the Drej. Cale and Akima manage to escape the Valkyrie, but they are stranded on New Bangkok, when Korso and the rest of the crew set off for the Titan. With the help of New Bangkok's colonists, Cale and Akima salvage a small spaceship named Phoenix, and race to find the Titan before Korso.
Cale and Akima navigate through the huge ice field in the Andali Nebula and dock with the Titan, before the Valkyrie arrives. They discover DNA samples of Earth animals and a pre-recorded holographic message left by Tucker. Tucker explains that the Titan was designed to create an Earth-like planet. However, due to its escape from Earth before its destruction, its power cells lack the energy necessary for the process. The message is interrupted by the arrival of Korso and Preed. Preed reveals himself to be a mercenary for the Drej and betrays Korso while holding him, Cale, and Akima at gunpoint. Preed attempts to kill all three of them for the Drej, but he is killed by Korso. Moments later, the Drej attack the Titan. While the remaining crew of the Valkyrie distracts them, Cale - given the fact that Drej are, essentially, beings of pure energy - modifies the Titan to absorb them, thus re-energizing the ship. A repentant Korso sacrifices his life to help Cale complete the repairs. The Titan absorbs the Drej mothership along with everyone aboard and uses gained power to mold the ice field into a new habitable planet.
While on the newly-formed Planet "Bob" (named by Cale), Cale and Akima witness the weather of the new planet as it begins to rain. Stith and Gune leave on the Valkyrie as human colony ships approach the planet to start life anew.
The story of Titan A.E. had been in development at 20th Century Fox since 1998 and was originally intended to be a live-action science fiction film. The script had been passed around to various writers, such as Ben Edlund and Joss Whedon, and had been given to Art Vitello. After $30 million had been spent in the film's early development with no progress, Art Vitello was sacked. Then-chairman of 20th Century Fox Bill Mechanic gave the script to Fox Animation producers Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, who were fresh from the success of their recent film Anastasia (1997). Mechanic had no scripts for Fox Animation to work on, and was faced with the choice of laying off the animation staff unless they took Titan A.E. Bluth and Goldman, who were not fans of science fiction, took the script regardless.
Fox Animation Studios were given a budget of $75 million dollars and 19 months to produce the film. Unlike Bluth and Goldman's previous films, the animation in Titan A.E. is predominantly computer-generated, while main characters and several backgrounds were traditionally animated. Many of the scenes were enacted by the animation staff using handbuilt props before being captured by a computer. Many scenes and backgrounds were painted by concept artist Paul Cheng, who had worked on Anastasia and its direct-to-video spinoff Bartok the Magnificent (1999). Like Anastasia, the storytelling and tone in Titan A.E. is much darker and edgier than Bluth and Goldman's previous films, with the film being regularly compared to Japanese anime. Although Bluth and Goldman denied any influence by anime, they have acknowledged the comparison.
During the production of Titan A.E., Fox Animation suffered a number of cutbacks which ultimately led to its closure in 2000. Over 300 animation staff were laid off from the studio in 1999, and as a result, much of the film's animation was outsourced to a number of independent companies. Several scenes were contracted to David Paul Dozoretz's POVDE group, the "Wake Angels" scene was animated by Reality Check Studios (their first feature film work), while the film's "genesis" scene was animated by Blue Sky Studios, who would later go on to animating 20th Century Fox's Ice Age and Rio film franchises as well as The Peanuts Movie (2015). Under pressure from executives, Bill Mechanic was dismissed from 20th Century Fox prior to Titan A.E.'s release, eventuating in the closure of Fox Animation Studios on June 26, 2000, ten days after the film's release. All these events stunted the film's promotion and distribution.
The soundtrack for Titan A.E. was released on audio cassette and CD by Capitol/EMI Records on June 6, 2000 and features 11 tracks by various contemporary rock bands, including Lit, Powerman 5000, Electrasy, Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Urge, Texas, Bliss 66, Jamiroquai, Splashdown, The Wailing Souls, and Luscious Jackson.
|1.||"Over My Head"||Lit||3:39|
|2.||"The End Is Over"||Powerman 5000||3:10|
|4.||"Everything Under the Stars"||Fun Lovin' Criminals||4:04|
|5.||"It's My Turn to Fly"||The Urge||3:44|
|6.||"Like Lovers (Holding On)"||Texas||4:36|
|7.||"Not Quite Paradise"||Bliss 66||3:59|
|8.||"Everybody's Going to the Moon"||Jamiroquai||5:24|
|10.||"Renegade Survivor"||The Wailing Souls||4:07|
|11.||"Down to Earth"||Luscious Jackson||4:51|
The background music for Titan A.E. was composed Graeme Revell, although an official album containing the film's underscore was originally not released alongside the film. On October 23, 2014, the movie's score was made available for the first time by La-La Land Records, released as limited edition CD of 1,500 copies, containing most of what Revell wrote for the feature. It contains 32 tracks and music cues, including two bonus tracks: an orchestra-only version of "Creation", and an alternative version of "Prologue" with a different opening.
Titan A.E. became the first major motion picture screened in end-to-end digital cinema. On June 6, 2000, ten days before the movie was released, at the SuperComm 2000 trade show, the movie was projected simultaneously at the trade show in Atlanta, Georgia as well as a screen in Los Angeles, California. It was sent to both screens from the 20th Century Fox production facilities in Los Angeles via a VPN.
Titan A.E. was released on VHS and "Special Edition" DVD on November 7, 2000 by 20th Century Fox, which contains extras such as a commentary track by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, a "Quest for Titan" featurette, deleted scenes, web links, and a music video for Lit's "Over My Head". The region 1 North American version also comes with an exclusive DTS English audio track in addition to Dolby Digital 5.1 featured in most international releases. Chris Carle of IGN rated the DVD an 8 out of 10, calling the movie "thrilling... with some obvious plot and character flaws" but called the video itself "a fully-packed disc which looks and sounds great" and "for animation and sci-fi fans, it's a must-have." The film has never been released on Blu-ray.
A video game adaptation by Blitz Games was planned to be released for the PlayStation and PC in Fall 2000 in North America, following the film's Summer release. Development on both platforms had begun in March 1999 under the film's original title Planet Ice, and an early playable version was showcased at the 2000 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. In July 2000, a spokesman from the game's publisher, Fox Interactive, announced that development on the title had been halted largely due to the film's failed box office, which was "only one of many different factors" that led to its cancellation.
Titan A.E. received a mixed response from critics, with a 48 out of 100 score from Metacritic, and 52% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes based on 99 reviews with the consensus "Great visuals, but the story feels like a cut-and-paste job of other sci-fi movies." Film critic Roger Ebert enjoyed it, giving it 3.5/4 stars for its "rousing story", "largeness of spirit", and "lush galactic visuals [which] are beautiful in the same way photos by the Hubble Space Telescope are beautiful". He cited the Ice Rings sequence as "a perfect examine [sic] of what animation can do and live action cannot".
The film opened at #5, with $9,376,845 for an average of $3,430 from 2,734 theaters. The film then lost 60% of its audience in its second weekend, dropping to #8, with a gross of $3,735,300 for an average of $1,346 from 2,775 theaters. The film ended up grossing only $36,754,634 worldwide ($22,753,426 in the United States and Canada, and $14,001,208 in international markets). The film's budget is estimated at between $75 million and $90 million. According to Chris Meledandri, the supervisor of the film, Titan A.E. lost $100 million for 20th Century Fox. After the film's failure, Fox Animation Studios was shut down.
Titan A.E. won a Golden Reel Award for "Best Sound Editing for an Animated Feature", and was nominated by the same organization for "Best Sound Editing for Music in Animation", and a Satellite Award for "Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media", losing both to Chicken Run. The film was also nominated for three Annie Awards, including "Outstanding Achievement in An Animated Theatrical Feature", "Effects Animation", and "Production Design" which it lost to Toy Story 2 and Fantasia 2000, respectively, and was nominated for Best Science Fiction Film at 27th Saturn Awards, but lost to X-Men, another film from 20th Century Fox. Drew Barrymore was nominated for "Best Voice-Over Performance" by the Online Film & Television Association for her role as Akima but was beaten by Eartha Kitt from The Emperor's New Groove.
|Annie Award||Outstanding Individual Achievement for Effects Animation||Julian Hynes (visual effects)||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production||Philip A. Cruden (production design)|
|Outstanding Achievement in An Animated Theatrical Feature||Titan A.E.|
|Golden Reel Award||Best Sound Editing - Animated Feature||Christopher Boyes, et al. (editors)||Won|
|Best Sound Editing - Music - Animation||Joshua Winget (scoring/music editor)||Nominated|
|OFTA Film Award||Best Voice-Over Performance||Drew Barrymore (Akima)||Nominated|
|Satellite Award||Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media||Titan A.E.||Nominated|
|Saturn Award||Best Science Fiction Film||Titan A.E.||Nominated|
To tie in with the film, a series of prequel novels written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta were released on February 10, 2000, by Ace Books, the same day as the official novelization of the movie written by Steve and Dal Perry. A comic series focusing on the character Sam was also released in May 2000.
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