Darn you, muse, and your easily-distracted tendencies!
So, last night, I watched Titan A.E. for the first time and was both a) pleasantly surprised and b) bitterly disappointed.
a) The Happy
- It was a gritty, lived-in, rag-tag sci-fi, one of my favorite types of the genre. I love the idea of very different crew members on a small ship interacting and getting along (or not). (Funny anecdote: I kept being reminded of Firefly through the movie, just in little bits and pieces, only to find out that Joss Whedon had been one of the screenwriters. Lulz for perception.)
- The voice cast was surprisingly star-studded. My especial fangirl moment was when I found out Cale's dad's voice (which I had actually commented on when he first started talking) is Ron Perlman. It made me happy.
- It was actually rather adult in tone. Not "adult" adult, but very mature. And quite dark. I mean, there are character deaths on screen, a few rather gruesome. It was nice to see a Western animation that wasn't really for kids and wasn't something like Family Guy or South Park.
- The music was pretty cool, especially the first real rock song that that shows up as Cale is working his dead-beat job.
b) The Sad
- Mostly just missed potential. There were some great set-ups for characters. Cale, the cocky, cynical, "cute but troubled" guy with daddy issues, the well-educated and grumpy weapons expert Stith, the creepily charming Preed (who, btw, was my favorite of everyone we got to see for however short a time). All with huge potential for interaction and unique development that went nowhere. We barely get to see them acting in these characterizations before they're pretty much forgotten about and they are just vehicles for the lines that need to be said in order to get the story moving. The romance between Cale and Akima felt so forced, when it really could have been great, with her teaching him to hope again and stuff. I dunno, it just felt like they were shooting for so much more and it felt completely on its face.
- I wasn't too clear on the motivations behind the characters at all, aside from perhaps Akima and only her because she insisted on making a speech about it every time she and Cale were alone on screen.
- The animation sometimes didn't seem like it knew whether it was shooting for realistic or cartoony. It threw me off a few times.
All in all, it wasn't the worst movie I'd ever seen, but I wouldn't even say it was that good by a long shot. Apparently, it came out at the same time as Treasure Planet and is actually surprisingly (though just superficially) similar to the other movie. But Treasure Planet handled itself better, making it about the characters before it was about the quest. And it's a stronger movie for it, one that actually makes me cry during some scenes, despite its annoying sidekick characters.
But, despite Titan A.E.'s less-than-thrilling review from me... I want to watch it again. It's like it had so much wasted potential that it drives me up the wall and I want to watch it again to find some sort of redeeming qualities in it. I do this with Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland too. That was another movie with so much potential that it just never lives up to. But I want to watch it again, to pick it apart, to try to find something that would let me like it.
Plus, my muse is going nuts after sampling such potential and the parts of my brain that were chugging along after Pitch Black are starting back up again. Gah. And I actually like where I am in my hedgehog story too...