The “A.E.” in the title stands for “After Earth”. The movie opens with the destruction of the Earth by an alien race. It’s a thousand years in the future and that race fears humankind’s new Titan technology. They destroy the entire Earth to try to destroy the tech, but the main scientist escapes with it in a ship. Hundreds of other ships manage to escape the destruction, too, including one that holds the young son of the scientist.
Fifteen years later the son, named Cale Tucker, is working in a salvage yard in an asteroid belt. Things aren’t going great for him or humans in general. Because they were scattered all over the galaxy they are looked down upon by the other alien races that are around.
One day Cale is approached by a human captain about finding the lost Titan ship. The son wants nothing to do with finding his father, who he sees as abandoning him. The captain reveals that the ring that the father gave the son actually holds a way to find where the Titan is now. The Titan has the ability to create a whole new Earth for humanity to settle on, so they have to find it. Adding to the urgency is that the race that destroyed the Earth is also searching for the Titan in order to destroy it.
Cale joins their crew, which is mostly made up of other alien races. There is one other human on board, Akima, and there is an attraction between the two of them.
As the movie goes along, Cale finds out that not all of the crew have the same agenda. Some want to profit from these events by selling the Titan to the aliens who want to destroy it. It’s up to Cale to see that this doesn’t happen.
Considering that many Americans think “animated” equals “cutesy” and “for children”, when they heard the description of this movie they were probably figuring that the destruction of the Earth is not something they wanted their kids to see. In addition, there are no cute characters singing songs that would get released as Top 40 hits. In short, this wasn’t the kind of mainstream animated movie Americans were used to. Consequently, it didn’t do very well at the box office.
20th Century Fox studios stupidly decided that it didn’t do well because it was traditionally drawn animation instead of the fancy cgi animation that had come along since Toy Story was released. They closed their animation studios and contracted with a third party to do all future animated movies in cgi.
If you don’t like sci-fi films then you may want to avoid Titan A.E. If you are looking for a movie that is a little different from the endless parade of flashy cgi animated films that have come along in the last decade, though, you should give this movie a try.
Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars