Titan A.E. is a 2000 animated sci-fi space adventure film from Fox Animation Studios and Twentieth Century Fox. The title refers to the fictional spacecraft that is central to the plot, with "A.E." meaning "After Earth."
The film's animation technique combines traditional hand-drawn animation and extensive use of computer generated imagery. The film is in color, running 94 minutes in length, and is rated PG for "action violence, mild sensuality, and brief language." Its working title was Planet Ice.
Titan A.E. was not financially successful. After it made only $9,376,845 during its opening weekend, Fox Animation Studios was shut down. The film only grossed a total of $22,753,426 in theaters. A video game in the works for PlayStation was cancelled in order to save money. It is often listed with Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, The Iron Giant and Treasure Planet as an example of an animated science fiction/fantasy films that failed to attract an audience.
In the year 3028 A.D., Earth is attacked by the Drej, aliens made of pure energy. The Drej mothership destroys Earth with an energy beam just as hundreds of space vehicles (as well as the secret Titan ship with Professor Sam Tucker aboard) manage to escape with the last of mankind aboard. One of the escapees is Sam's young son Cale, who carries with him a ring given to him by his father.
Fifteen years later, Cale works on a salvage station, eking out a rough life and hating his father for having disappeared aboard the Titan so long ago. Without a home planet, surviving humans have been reduced to outer space drifters and are constantly bullied and looked down on by other space-faring races. A human captain named Joseph Korso and his pilot Akima seek out Cale and explain that he must help them find the Titan which contains a mechanism that will create a new Earth and therefore unite all of humanity. Meanwhile, the Drej want to find the Titan so that they can destroy it.
With Korso's help, Cale discovers that the ring his father gave to him contains a genetically encoded map to the Titan, and thus begins his race across the universe with Korso and his ship and crew, including Preed, a wisecracking rat-like humanoid, Gune, an eccentric, green-skinned scientist, and Stith, a tough, hard-as-nails weapons expert who resembles something of a kangaroo. Before long, Cale and Akima find out that Korso is searching for the Titan in order to hand it over to the Drej. They narrowly escape from him and Preed (who is revealed to be working with Korso), only to become stranded on a drifter colony. Cale and Akima manage to repair one of the wrecked spacecraft on the station and use it to make their way to an ice field in which the Titan has been hidden, with Korso in hot pursuit.
Within the Titan, Cale and Akima discover that Professor Tucker had been one of the main architects in designing the craft. The designers, anticipating the destruction of Earth, gave the Titan the ability to create a new planet and loaded it with the DNA of every living Earth species for the purpose of repopulating the new world. Unfortunately, the ship's energy has been long since drained and it will not start up.
Korso finds and boards the Titan accompanied by Preed, and confronts Cale and Akima, but Preed turns on Korso. A confrontation follows, and Korso kills Preed by breaking his neck, then fights with Cale before falling over a railing. Cale grabs hold of Korso's hand trying to save him as Korso goads him to let him fall to his death. Cale refuses to let go, but Korso slips from Cale's grip and falls, presumably to his death. Akima and Cale, joined by Stith and eventually Gune, then work together to defend the Titan against the impending Drej attack, and Cale realizes that the energy comprising the Drej and their ships may be used to power up the Titan's systems, and they work to bring the vessel online. Korso shows up again, but unexpectedly sacrifices himself in order to bridge a jammed circuit breaker just as the Drej mothership fires a destructive energy beam at the Titan. Channeling the beam's power into its system, the Titan powers up and drains all the Drej energy, destroying the enemy mothership while it creates a new planet.
The film ends with Akima and Cale standing upon their newly-created world. Akima wants to name it "New Earth," while Cale suggests naming it "Bob." The final scene is of all the human refugees coming to the planet labeled "New Earth [Planet Bob]."
One of the reasons most commonly given for the financial failure of Titan A.E. is its poorly identified target audience. People were unsure, having seen trailers for the film, if it was intended for the older sci-fi fan crowd or whether it was pitched more at children. This confusion was further increased by the mixture of people used to write and direct the production. Joss Whedon, was, at the time, famous for the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as for making contributions to films such as Speed, whereas Don Bluth and Gary Goldman were more noted for creating G-rated children's cartoons such as The Secret of NIMH. Bluth later added to the confusion when he stated during an interview with HBO's First Look, "This is not one of those cute, little kid musicals; this film is nothing but action." This movie was one of the first American-produced animated features in decades to not be a musical. The film treats its soundtrack as a purely background element. However, the film garners a 65% "fresh" rating among users at Rotten Tomatoes.
An odd element of the film was the mixture of traditional cel animation and advanced computer graphics. In several of the scenes (notably the interior of the Titan), the rough drawings are apparent but this can then be contrasted with the higher quality computer graphics of the cat-and-mouse sequence amongst the Ice Rings of Tegrin. The closing CGI images of the New Earth were widely panned.
The original idea for the film was to render all the characters and backgrounds in CGI as did Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, but had to use traditional cel animation with CGI aliens and special effects due to cost concerns.
To tie in with the film, there was a series of prequel novels released, as well as a prequel comic book mini-series.
Cale's Story told the adventures of Cale, ending with the beginning of the film.
Akima's Story told the adventures of Akima, ending with the beginning of the film.
The Dark Horse Comics prequel comic told the story of Sam Tucker and his crew, and their quest to hide the Titan.
"Over My Head" Ã¢â‚¬â€ Lit
"The End is Over" Ã¢â‚¬â€ Powerman 5000
Cosmic Castaway Ã¢â‚¬â€ Electrasy
"Everything Under the Stars" Ã¢â‚¬â€ Fun Lovin' Criminals
"It's My Turn to Fly" Ã¢â‚¬â€ The Urge
"Like Lovers (Holding On)" Ã¢â‚¬â€ Texas
"Not Quite Paradise" Ã¢â‚¬â€ Bliss 66
"Everybody's Going to the Moon" Ã¢â‚¬â€ Jamiroquai
"Karma Slave" Ã¢â‚¬â€ Splashdown
"Renegade Survivor" Ã¢â‚¬â€ The Wailing Souls
"Down to Earth" Ã¢â‚¬â€ Luscious Jackson
Titan A.E. became the first major motion picture to take part in end-to-end digital cinema. On June 6, 2000, ten days before the movie came out, at the SuperComm 2000 tradeshow, the movie was projected simultaneously at the tradeshow 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 private internet LAN line.