Bringing TITAN A.E. to the screen was an epic journey in its own right for directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. "This is by far the most challenging film we've ever done," Goldman declares. "We thought our previous film, Anastasia, was tough, but this was Anastasia squared!"
"Audiences are demanding," Bluth adds, "so we keep having to reach higher."
The challenges Bluth and Goldman faced were threefold. They wanted to take filmed animation to a new level by integrating two-dimensional and three-dimensional worlds. In addition, they were determined to fashion a gripping and moving story amid state-of-the-art film technology. Finally, they wanted to create elements that would broaden the audience, expanding upon animation's traditional base of children.
TITAN A.E. is the first animated science fiction film — a genre that typically has wide teen appeal — produced in the U.S. in decades. The film's new look encompasses exotic spacescapes, visceral action sequences and wild alien creatures.
Although relatively new to the genre, Bluth and Goldman quickly became enthusiasts. "The astronomy and science fiction elements were mind-boggling to me," offers Bluth. "Creating new worlds and letting our imaginations run wild in the process was an exciting adventure for all of us. It was a challenge to figure out how to put all that up on the screen — and at the same time make audiences feel emotional about the characters.
"Beneath the film's sci-fi 'skin' there's another story going on," Bluth continues. "The movie to me is about the indomitable human spirit and the search for an identity. It asks, What are we about? Are we worth saving? Can we ever have a home again? And it starts with the power of one person:
"You don't have to be a sci-fi fan to appreciate its story and characters. On the human level, I think our movie can connect with anybody. And that's what every film tries to do, whether it's a western, musical, whatever. If the audience doesn't connect, then something important is missing. You have to feel something to make the experience complete."
Gary Goldman agrees. "TITAN A.E. isn't really a 'hardware' film. Yes, we give you as much 'eye candy' special effects and cutting edge animation as we can, more than you've seen in any other animated movie, but I also hope our characters are endearing, that audiences like them, connect with them, and want to see more of them."
The audience connects to the film through the story. TITAN A.E. takes us into a universe without the Earth — and a people without a planet. With no place to call home, humans are forced to wander through space as refugees, living as second class citizens on drifter colonies, or among alien creatures. Humans are hunted by the Drej, the same all- powerful alien race that destroyed their planet.
In this hostile universe, the rebellious Cale toils unhappily on a grungy salvage station in space. Cale is a cynical young man with a big chip on his shoulder: He believes that his father, a brilliant scientist who invented the Titan, had broken an important promise. Consequently, Cale has no emotional connection with his fellow humans.
Cale's attitude changes when he learns that his father has left him a genetically encoded ring containing a map to the Titan, a spaceship that holds the secret to the salvation of the human race. With this new knowledge, Cale reluctantly embarks on an incredible adventure, led by Korso, Akima and their alien crew of the Valkyrie. With the Drej close behind and betrayal from within, Cale makes new discoveries about himself and the human race. While completing his mission to find a New World, Cale must become a renegade warrior and a new kind of hero.
Says producer David Kirschner: "Don Bluth and Gary Goldman have done
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