20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox .
R4 . COLOR . 94 mins .
M . PAL
Don Bluth, the man who brought us "The Secret of Nimh" and the laserdisc game phenomenons of "Dragons Lair" and "Space Ace" took over the reins of this big budget animated adventure, the first for 20th Century Fox Animation Studios. It's ballooned budget meant expectations were high and with the depature of Bill Mechanic, ex Fox CEO, the project went into a downhill spin before Bluth and Goldman came to the rescue. A wise decision? Maybe, but the bad taste left in the wake saw the demise of the Animation Studio and a big loss at the box office. A pity, for the film is actually quite good and deserved better praise than it received in the reviews I had read.
In the year 3028, the human race is about to cross the finish line because the Drej, a race of creatures that are pure energy, have decided to blow up Earth. Our only hope is the Titan, a space ship that is capable of creating an entirely new world. Young Cale (Matt Damon) has watched his father pilot the Titan into outer space, never to see him again until 15 years later when he realises his purposes in the grand scheme of things.
The Drej are back, as they too know his worth and soon Cale and his band of friends, Akima (Drew Barrymore), Korso (Bill Pullman) and their creature companions are searching for the Titan with the help of a map housed inside Cales hand. It's now a race to find the Titan before the Drej destroy mankinds last hope at survival.
Whilst the plot is very simple, the execution is top notch. The real star of the movie here is the mix of traditional animation with that of CG environments. At first it throws you but you soon come to appreciate just how effective it all is, and you soon realise why the budget skyrocketed. The characteristic Don Bluth animation style is still there but it feels a whole lot more refined and fresh. This aint no Dragons Lair.
Escaping from an exploding planet Earth.
The amazing animation rendered and drawn here comes up pristine on this DVD making it one of the better, if not best looking DVDs released of late. The anamorphic widescreen presentation is full of intricate detail and definition. This gives the image a very film like look and feel. The amount of care and effort that went into the CG elements makes the images look even more lifelike.
Color saturation is perfection itself with very rich blue and orange hues throughout the entire movie. Every scene is a beautiful palette of colors that keeps you in awe from start to finish. Black level is excellent giving a depth to the image that further emphasises the quality of the transfer. Eye Candy this is, a whole showbag full. Mmmm, good food, yes...
We immediately lose out to the region 1 version of this disc because there is no DTS 5.1 soundtrack available here. Nevertheless, the Dolby Digital soundtrack supplied is every bit as good and definite demo material.
Dialogue is of a good standard with only a hint of it on the low side. Most of the time the ambience is dictating the current scene which is the way a good soundtrack should be. Directionality and activity in the surrounds is spot on. Coupled with a rockin soundtrack, we have ourselves a great sounding movie.
The most standout example of what this soundtrack can produce is toward the end of the movie in the ice field. The sound here is simply amazing, ice being crushed in every corner of the room, the size of these objects comes to life via the subwoofer and the tight confines our heroes get into really do bring home the claustrophobic situation. An excellent scene indeed.
He's got the whole world in his hands...
First off, we get everything the US release has barring the DVD-ROM content and the THX Optimode setups. Boo hoo, THX on DVD is nothing more than a prepaid stamp of approval.
We begin our extras section with a commentary by directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. Whilst a good commentary in terms of the animation insight, it is still a tad rehearsed and lacks real emotion. Following this up is a 20+ minute making of feature titled "The Quest for the Titan" and contains interviews with cast and crew, animation examples etc which is definitely a nice little piece.
A selection of deleted and alternate scenes greets us next. The alternate ice field and final battle sequences a rough and dirty in comparison to the actual film content itself and only differs slightly. Although I felt the ice ring scene to be a little more intense here. A music video by the band "Lit" and a collection of some 100+ gallery images, 2 theatrical trailers and 2 TV spots round out the rest.
Whilst not being as succesful at the Box Office as 20th Century Fox would have hoped, this sure is a definite keeper for fans of CG and traditional animation. "This is the movie Star Wars fans have been waiting for" is the quote on the cover and to some extent it holds true. The sense of adventure is there, the story is pretty simple and whilst the alien characters aren't as creative as those found in the Mos Eisley Cantina, it does have the cool looking Drej and a vast array of mega planet destroying weaponry and explosions.