Popular culture public discourse has devolved to the purpose that folks usually reply to a headline with out truly taking the time to learn the story. Little doubt that would be the case right here. I can already see the refrain of Movie Twitter avatars sniping within the replies. Whereas it’s completely true that animation is a universe of potential that may stand by itself and never each characteristic wants the reboot therapy, a live-action Titan A.E. truly is sensible. Bear with me.
The adage that in the event you can’t beat ’em, be part of ’em is extra prevalent in Hollywood immediately than ever earlier than. Because the leisure trade continues to recycle its personal libraries advert nauseam, reboots and remakes are inevitable. You stand a greater probability preventing in opposition to the ocean tide than you do viewers’s nostalgia-driven obsession with the previous. However lately, I argued that as an alternative of constantly remaking Corridor of Fame classics that already occupy unimpeachable perches within the pantheon of leisure, we ought to be trying to ideas and IP with potential that, for no matter purpose, didn’t totally coalesce the primary time round. Titan A.E., an $80 million movie that failed to interrupt $40 million on the field workplace and at the moment holds a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 6.6/10 on IMDb, and a 48 on Metacritic, definitely qualifies.
The movie—which takes place within the 12 months 3028 when humanity is about adrift among the many stars after the destruction of Earth—is much better than its combination scores would have you ever consider. The narrative and character beats could also be cobbled collectively from sci-fi predecessors; shades of Star Wars solid over the archetypes and Blade Runner‘s steampunk angle informs the tone. However simply because Titan A.E. is considerably anticipated doesn’t imply it isn’t deserving. The rationale nobody reinvents the wheel is as a result of wheels already work.
Functionally, Titan A.E. is a quick paced imaginative and prescient with a particular aesthetic comprised of conventional animation and laptop generated imagery. It’s the kind of anime-adjacent eye sweet which will truly present the identical endorphin-igniting sugar rush when translated to the massive display in reside motion—assuming the proper filmmaker is tapped to shepherd such such a bombastic house opera. (My editor, an animation professional, notes that it’ll be laborious to exchange director Don Bluth’s singular type). It’s enticingly sci-fi, however not exclusionary in its style bent. Simply sufficient to hook you in with house battles and evil aliens.
As a premise, it doesn’t get rather more well timed than threats of extinction, refugees looking for a house, and a race of beings pushed by hatred and concern. Critic complaints levied in opposition to the film on the time of its launch steered it was as deep as a Saturday morning cartoon. At worst, that seems like an satisfying swashbuckling journey by the celebrities. At finest, borrowing Titan A.E.‘s darker and extra mature sensibilities—which contact on abandonment points, the query of whether or not humanity is even value saving, and pseudo caste methods amongst clever species—would give the broad attraction blockbuster one thing to say. (A welcome deal with in a summer time drowning within the likes of Snake Eyes and Area Jam 2).
Titan A.E. was the final movie underneath Fox Animation Studios earlier than it shuttered. After Disney’s acquisition of Fox, the property falls underneath the Mouse Home’s possession. Sarcastically, this is a chance, not an obstacle. As I wrote lately, Disney is in dire want of latest live-action franchises exterior of Marvel and Star Wars. They’ve tried and failed, at nice expense, to conjure up new hits with the likes of John Carter, Tomorrowland, The Nutcracker and the 4 Realms, Tron: Legacy, The Lone Ranger, A Wrinkle in Time, Prince of Persia, Oz The Nice and Highly effective, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice during the last 15 years (which is why Jungle Cruise is so necessary).
As an alternative of de-emphasizing the twentieth Century banner, Disney ought to greenlight a PG-13 live-action remake of Titan A.E. underneath the studio. Fox was recognized for its profitable adult-skewing franchises resembling Kingsman, Deadpool and Alien whereas Disney is betting massive on James Cameron’s Avatar sequence nonetheless being a draw for twentieth Century. Titan A.E. can exist on the intersection of those tones and kinds, sustaining business attraction and a slight edge that doesn’t match with Disney’s household pleasant mandate. It’s not as if Bob Chapek and firm are going to cease making an attempt to develop much-needed new live-action franchises, so the creatives may as effectively faucet right into a dose of experimentation.
Titan A.E. is a greater film than it’s preliminary reception gave it credit score for. However it isn’t some paragon of popular culture that’s resistant to tweaks and enhancements. We’d relatively see an up to date live-action crack at this high-upside idea and missed pedigree than 2 Taxi 2 Driver.