Turmoil At Fox Animation Set Titan A.E. Up To Fail

Bluth has had a notoriously difficult time making money with his films. Although often quite original and possessed of excellent animation, audiences tend to stay away. He had hits with “An American Tail” and “All Dogs Go to Heaven,” but films like “Rock-a-Doodle” and “A Troll in Central Park” simply didn’t snag box office receipts. “Titan A.E.” is Bluth and Goldman’s last feature film to date, the pair having made only one music video and a few video games since. 

The failure of “Titan A.E.” is likely a combination of production woes (that increased its budget) and the above-mentioned aversion audiences carried for sci-fi in an animated medium. 

Regardless of its lack of popularity and mixed critical response, “Titan A.E.” is perfectly enjoyable space entertainment. It takes a lot of common space opera tropes and animates them to within an inch of their lives. Multiple sequences stand out, and a funny cast of talented voice actors makes the characters come to life. Although looking dated to modern eyes, the CGI-animated Drej were spindly and ineffable, looking truly alien. They were something that could not have been realized in live-action. 

In 2022, it seems almost risible to imagine a sci-fi animated feature film. Indeed, most high-end sci-fi films in the modern era — “Star Wars,” “Avatar,” and “Avengers” — are largely animated with ultra-realistic textures and movements. If one can animate a photorealistic Na’Vi, then drawing one by hand almost feels quaint. “Titan A.E.,” then, is a fascinating throwback, a relic of an era long since passed. It’s certainly still worth discovering. 

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