What's visually stunning proves intermittently stunted on the narrative front, however. Orphaned when the evil Drej atomize Earth, protagonist Cale (voiced by Matt Damon) must journey across space to unlock the mystery of his late father's final project, the Titan spacecraft, in a test of faith and filial identity that echoes Star Wars. The Titan itself ultimately poses a cosmic potential familiar to admirers of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Comical sidekicks (Nathan Lane, Janeane Garofalo, John Leguizamo), a sultry love interest (Drew Barrymore), and a roguish mentor (Bill Pullman) all verge on the generic, narrowly redeemed by dialogue from a writing team including Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon.
It's likely that Titan's target audience of young males prompted the filmmakers to walk a tightrope between softer family features and more violent, hard-edged anime. Titan's brief bloodshed and coy nudity stop short of PG-13 terrain, though younger viewers might be unsettled by the violence. Young teens will find the proceedings tamer than the video games and anime fantasies that have influenced it. --Sam Sutherland
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