In the 90s, science fiction was trying to become popular again. We hear about popular films like the Matrix, Robocop, and The Fifth Element. But there’s a lesser-known cartoon film released in the late 90s that wasn’t well received, but had great ambition. That film is Titan A.E.
The story is fairly simple. Cale is the son of a genius who invented the Titan, a device that can create a planet via a number of technologies. However, this device scares the energy-based Drej, who then destroy the Earth. Humanity is spread across the galaxy, without a real home. Cale is introduced to Korso, a colleague of his father, who thinks that he holds the key to saving humanity. So, Cale, Korso, and the young Akima must work with a ragtag gang to find this amazing machine before the Drej discover it, and destroy all that the human race hopes for.
Sounds like a great concept, right? The idea of an energy-based alien species has so much creativity. However, the film doesn’t take it to it’s fullest potential. So, why am I talking about it at all? Because it did one thing good, and that was illustrate humanity’s desire to find meaning. Each person desires to have a purpose in their life. Respectively, the human race also is looking for a communal meaning. What makes humanity valuable to the other species? What can they bring to the bigger picture?
We are told that the Titan was one of the turning points for the human race. It’s very existence showed to all other species that humans could build something amazing. However, that scared the Drej. Their ignorance causes them to choose to destroy all that humanity represents. With the destruction of humanity’s homeworld, they lost almost all value. The race, as a whole, became a beggar, trying to maintain life, and not fade into oblivion.
(Spoilers)What is interesting is Cale’s skeptical nature. He believes that humanity won’t have value in the end, even though he saw the amazing technology that his father developed. This belief drives his skepticism, and that causes the friction for the plot. Sadly, it turns out that Korso’s incentives turn self-centered, where he hopes to profit off of the destruction of the Titan, and in following, humanity’s hope.
This continues to aggressively attack what is the driver for all people; the hope that makes us tick.
So, I recommend Titan A.E. For all science fiction fans. It is a fun ride, that illustrates the search humanity has for hope and meaning.