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Humanity in danger again!
Ever-imperiled Earth hangs in the balance in 'Titan A.E.'
"Titan A.E.," the new animated film from cartoon veterans Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, features classic cartoon storytelling and an all-star cast.
Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, John Leguizamo, Janeane Garofalo and Nathan Lane all add their voices to the mix. The screenplay by Ben Edlund, John August and Joss Wheldon is aimed at a teen-age market, and pulls inspiration from a number of sources such as the "Star Wars" and "Alien" franchises, and -- oddly enough -- "The Wizard Of Oz."
Damon provides the voice of Cale, a human refugee and reluctant hero who holds the key to mankind's survival in the year 3028. Earth has been destroyed by the Drej, a vicious alien race. Humans have been reduced to running from the Drej, who search out and kill their prey one by one.
Cale's late father (Ron Perlman), a brilliant scientist, invented the Titan, a spaceship that can save the human race. But the ship's location is a secret embedded in a genetically encoded ring. A mysterious space captain, Korso (Pullman), who knew the scientist, gives Cale the ring.
Now Cale and his motley crew -- Gune (Leguizamo) a brilliant navigator; Preed (Lane), a wise-cracking and suspicious first mate; Stith (Garofalo), a weapons specialist with an attitude problem; and Akima (Barrymore), a beautiful, highly skilled pilot -- are mankind's only hope.
If this sounds familiar...
Rings bells, doesn't it? Replace Korso with the name "Obi-Wan Kenobi" (at least for the beginning of the film), Akima with "Princess Leia" and call Cale "Luke Skywalker." Teach them that there's no place like home, and you get the drift. There's even a scene that reminds viewers of flying monkeys.
Yes, "Titan A.E." borrows liberally from other classic adventure stories, but that doesn't lessen the enjoyment.
This $65 million film is full of wonderfully eccentric characters, great animation and witty dialogue. "I happen to be humanity's last great hope," Cale boasts at one point. "I weep for the species," first-mate Preed shoots back.
The film is visually splendid. Bluth and Goldman have achieved a highly enjoyable mix of adventure and fantasy -- creating, for example, a world where hydrogen trees explode. The villainous Drej are a bit disappointing: Made of pulsating blue light, these skeletal creatures are cold and ruthless-looking, but not all that scary.
Still, "Titan A.E." provides that staple of summer moviegoing fun -- a rousing, popcorn-chomping adventure tale that can younger children, teens and adults can enjoy. Maybe Earth has a chance.
"Titan A.E." opens nationwide on Friday and is rated PG. 95 minutes.
Cruising into long, loud summer movie season
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