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[whitespace] 'Titan A.E.'
Drejs of Humanity: Akima plots her escape from the evil aliens' mothership.

Titanic A.E.

New animated science-fiction adventure is lost in space

By Richard von Busack

IN THE YEAR 3028 C.E., they'll still be saying "You gotta problem with that?" and "Who's your daddy?" That takes the sting out of a short life span. The Drej--"beings of pure energy"--Dutch-rub the Earth with their superior technology, and the human race heads out to float around on rusty spaceships, awaiting a white teenage messiah with attitude. He, Cale (voiced by Matt Damon), is the son of a God-like scientist, who built a machine called "the Titan" before leaving the kid. Dad implanted a stigmata-like space map to the Titan in the palm of Cale's hand. Off he goes on a quest with his new pals: Korso (Bill Pullman), a tough rocket-jockey of the Harrison Ford school; Akima, the proactive-enough co-pilot (voiced by Drew Barrymore); Gune (John Leguizamo), who is this year's Jar Jar Binks; a sarcastic alien version of Lost in Space's Dr. Smith named Preed (voiced by Nathan Lane); and Stith, the irritable weapons officer voiced monotonously by Janeane Garafalo. Together, this crew hunts for the Titan.

The computer animation is state of the boring art; the Drej have less personality than early electronic pinball-machine villains, and when they blow up a spaceship you expect them to rasp, "Game over. Hahr. Hahr. Hahr." The low quality of the scripting defies the fact that witty writers--John August of Go, Ben Edlund of TV's The Tick and Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer--are credited on this dull, machine-made entertainment. I wonder which one of the troika wrote the scene where the heroes survive an unhelmeted moment in deep space by holding their breaths. (Edlund, I bet.) Titan A.E. is cornbreaded-up beyond the hope of any hipness with the music, which is half John Williams symphonette society, half crappy rock bands (Lit, Electrasy, Bliss, et cetera). By the way, the aliens go after us humans because, claims Korso, they're "afraid of what we [the human race] might become." If this bilge is a hit, the aliens shouldn't worry too much on that account.

Titan A.E. (PG; 94 min.), directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, written by Ben Edlund, John August and Joss Whedon and starring the voices of Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, John Leguizamo and Nathan Lane, opens Friday at selected theaters valleywide.

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From the June 15-21, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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