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"Titan A.E."

Directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman.
Written by Ben Edlund, John August and Joss Whedon.
Starring the voices of Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore and Bill Pullman.
Release Year:  2000 

Review Date:  6/25/00 

Folks-- 

This weekend, I have had a couple of revelations:

A) Going out to a rave and not going to bed until 6 am DOES NOT have an affect on your ability to hit home runs in a softball game played just six hours later.  You can, in fact, hit three home runs in two games if you put your mind to it.

B) Sometime in the middle of next year, I'm going to move from DC.  Today, after leaving the movie theater at 3:45 pm, I got onto I-66 towards downtown only to get caught in a traffic jam that made my 10-minute drive about 40 minutes.  The profanities that I was screaming during the final 20 minutes make the Scorsese flick "Casino" look like a Saturday-morning cartoon.

C) "Iron Chef," the ridiculous game show on The Food Channel, may be the second-greatest television show ever created (next to, ahem, "The Simpsons").

I must give credit to recently-engaged Bellview member Amy "Cueball" Staab for my spanking-new "Iron Chef" fetish.  If you have seen this show, I don't think I need to say more; if you haven't seen it and you have The Food Channel, you need to check it out like nobody's business.  The format is pretty simple--one of four "Iron Chefs" (master chefs recruited by the show as the best in the world at cooking certain regional specialties like French food or Chinese dishes) takes on a challenger by preparing a five-course meal for a panel of judges.  The catch?  The chefs get one hour, timed, and they have no idea what the dishes will be based on until they get to the show.  The dishes for each show are based on the "special ingredient" that the producers select for the basis of the show; when I watched it Saturday night, the special ingredient was salmon.

SALMON?  JUSTIN, WHAT THE HELL IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT SALMON?

Ahh, not just any salmon, my friend...*unisex* salmon.  That's right, one out of every 5,000 fish is unisex, and they cost around $300 each in a store...and, that is if you can even find them!  They are so special that the iron chef on last night's show hadn't even eaten any of it before!  So, because the show is taken directly from Japan, the best parts of the show are the play-by-play dub job that is relayed to us gringos--watching these chefs prepare the food while a sideline reporter calls the action!  And, we even get possibly the most hilarious intro sequence in the history of television and NBC Olympic-style profiles of the challengers before any cooking begins!!  I will become a fan...

Anyway, I really did see a movie today...I just had to get that iron chef stuff off my chest.  Melissa "I Should Have Used a Dating Service" Cappiello, Monica "Anime" Cappiello, and Tiffanny "Two F's, Two N's, Too Many Questions" Cappiello were all over "Titan AE" like white on rice, so I figured, I don't see too many cartoons, but this one looks a little bit different and I wouldn't mind checking it out.  Although this movie made a surprisingly quiet splash last weekend (barely debuting in the top five last weekend), I had heard good things and happily, the movie was pretty good.

The story:  in the year 3028, the father of a young boy named Cale (voice of Matt Damon) has designed a spaceship, called the Titan, which is capable of saving humanity should it ever come into grave danger.  Luckily for the movie, the earth is destroyed by an evil race of aliens called the Drej in the first five minutes.  Father and son are separated, presumably for the worst.  Fast forward to 3043, 15 years after the destruction of Earth.  Much like the rebels in another, umm, really famous science fiction movie, Earthlings are scattered all over the galaxy after their desperate escape from the earth years ago, and could really use a miracle.  Just before Cale was separated from his father, Dad gave Cale a ring which is the key to unlocking the Titan should Cale ever locate the spaceship.  Cale--who is a blue-collar laborer when we see him again in the year 3043--is located by a Han Solo-like rogue named Korso (voice of Bill Pullman) and enlisted by Korso to help save humanity by finding the Titan and activating the ship's special powers.

Every so often, I find the ability to just get lost in a film; today, I did that, and I really got into Cale's quest to find the Titan and--I admit, it's predictable--save all of humanity.  The supporting cast, though very underdeveloped, was good; voices by Janeane Garofalo, Tone-Loc, Nathan Lane, and John Leguizamo were very well done, and Drew Barrymore--as Korso's partner Akima--was not as annoying as I usually find her and her intentionally slow pace of speaking.  What really intrigued me the most was the artwork; I don't know if the idea is revolutionary, but all of the good guys were drawn in 2-D and all of the space artwork and bad guys were drawn in 3-D, computer animation.  This leads to some very cool looking backgrounds and flying/chase sequences between the Drej and Cale's gang; with the accompanying hard-rock soundtrack, this made for some great moments of getting lost in asteroid fields, ice storms, and hydrogen balloons.  And, I still love cartoons, so the days of watching "Transformers" and "Voltron" and "Thundercats" all came back in a rush...

...but, don't get me wrong, "Titan AE" has a couple of problems.  Its biggest one is its shameless ripping off of scenes from the "Star Wars" trilogy--from Han Solo and all of the non-human characters that Korso employs, to its R2-D2 holographic image of an important character in the middle of the movie, to the stealing of the scene in "Star Wars" where Luke and Han are fighting TIE Fighters in the Millenium Falcon's gun turrets.  The supporting characters don't have enough to do, and its ending is a little weak.  But, overall, a great movie that--especially as a matinee—is a great value and is a good time.  Two of the three Cappiello girls went with a rating of $8.25 Show, while one went with a Matinee.  However, all of us thought the ending was a little sketch and are already set to see "X-Men."  But, you better hurry on "Titan AE"...our theater was pretty empty today, and surprisingly devoid of teenage boys...which, I thought, is this movie's target audience.  Oh well...maybe "Chicken Run" is where all of those teens were...

Rating:  $8.25 Show

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09