AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

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AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

Post by Dacey » August 2nd, 2020, 5:10 pm

Covid be thwarted! The Animated Views team gathers virtually for the first of our AV Roundtable Flashbacks, revisiting anniversary year films from the past couple of decades, blasting off with Fox Animation’s Titan A.E.!

https://animatedviews.com/2020/av-round ... -titan-ae/
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Re: AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

Post by EricJ » August 2nd, 2020, 7:03 pm

Wasn't "Planet Ice" originally going to be a project for Ben Edlund, in the wake of Fox's success with the animated "The Tick", before that fell through?
Or am I thinking of something else?

(And yes, it's pretty clear that Don Bluth getting the picture was just the momentary studio elation of "We got one, we got one!" after Anastasia's surprise success, and the need to rush some version of the project in before it expired.)

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Re: AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

Post by droosan » August 2nd, 2020, 9:42 pm

I visited the Fox Animation Studio back in 1997 for an interview, that didn't pan out into a job offer .. which was fine with me, as I wasn't keen on making the move to Phoenix, at the time. I was given a souvenir 'Fox Animation Studios' logo magnet, which is still stuck on my fridge, 20+ years later. :lol:

The director of Planet Ice -- as Ben says -- was originally Art Vitello (of Tiny Toon Adventures fame). And .. though the glimpses of pre-production artwork I saw during my visit ranged from 'intriguing' to 'wow; WAY cooler than the final film' .. the project still came across as a bit of a disorganized mess, IMO .. but to be fair: all movies (animated or live-action) go through such a phase, especially early-on.

There was also some interesting visual development being done toward realizing Planet Ice as a full-CGI animated film. Recall, at the time, that only Toy Story had dared to portray humans in CG animation .. and they were extremely 'uncanny valley'; even CG humans in later productions (like Shrek) couldn't seem to stray from realistic anatomy & textures, even if they had 'cartoony' proprtions. The exploratory CG human designs I saw for Planet Ice were pushed well into the 'cartoony' realm .. moreso even than in Bluth's finished version of Titan A.E.; it could have been a pioneering animated film in that regard, if Fox Animation had stuck with full CGI, and those concepts.

I think part of the problem was that Planet Ice wasn't just being developed at Fox Animation in Phoenix; there were apparently a number of outside vendors working on concepts and assets .. and those were scattered across the country, in the days before the internet was as robust as we now take for granted. It was a massive project which was bleeding money, by the time Bluth took it over .. and (to his credit, IMO) saved the movie, and got it made.

I did later get to work with a bunch of those Fox Animation design & layout artists on The Barnyard animated feature .. most of them migrated to O-Mation in Southern California, shortly after FA's Phoenix studio was shuttered.

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Re: AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

Post by Dacey » August 2nd, 2020, 11:52 pm

Very fascinating information, Droo. :)

I am thankful, actually, that Shrek came out when it did, because I love the way those films look. They're very unique as far as their design is concerned, and I think Fiona is a good example of how to do a "realistic" human while still managing to make her animated. Had it come out even a few years later, there's a very good chance she would've looked like Susan in Monsters Vs. Aliens, which is fine, but everyone in Shrek probably would've looked different if the film had come out in a post-Incredibles world (similarly, after Tangled, Disney basically found the style they would use for all their future movies).

Oddly enough, as things turned out, the first "cartoony" CGI movie we got in theaters was Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Shame we're never going to get that "The Art of Titan A.E." collectors book so some of this artwork could be seen by the general public now.
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Re: AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

Post by droosan » August 3rd, 2020, 4:11 am

Yeah; and I only saw about 8-10 bulletin boards' worth of pre-production art for the movie, during my one afternoon visit .. I imagine there must've been so much more created, in the years before and after then. And it's not like there's a 'Fox Animation Studios' archive (much less a 'Don Bluth' archive) .. so, who knows where all that artwork is, 20+ years on..? :?

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Nice to see StarChaser: Legend of Orin namechecked in the discussion. :) Also of note as sci-fi anime 'precursors' are Lensman and Space Adventure Cobra. Then there's my absolute favorite of the Star Wars-inspired anime genre: Crusher Joe (just recently-released on Blu-ray in North America, by Discotek Media) ..


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As for the Titan A.E. / Star Wars blurb ..

When The Fifth Element was released a few years prior, one of its advertising blurbs stated "It's Star Wars, for the 90s!" After seeing the movie with some co-workers, we looked at each other and were like .. "no, it's not." :roll:

But a few years later, after the release of the 'special editions' and a couple of the prequels .. that Fifth Element blurb was brought up in a conversation, and it was agreed: "y'know .. I guess it kinda was." :mrgreen:

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One of the characters I found really intriguing in the early portion of the Titan A.E. was Tek (voiced by Tone Loc) .. his design and personality were just really interesting. On my first viewing, I was certain he'd turn out to be an important character later .. but then, you never see him again. :|

I wasn't too fond of Gune, either. But Stith was kinda awesome. :)

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Re: AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

Post by Ben » August 3rd, 2020, 5:43 am

Baby Bowler! ;)

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Re: AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

Post by Daniel » August 6th, 2020, 3:14 pm

"♫ All the thoughts he ever spoke, appear in orange smoke. That's what makes the Orange Bird unique. ♪" I swear every time I see him the song gets stuck in my head. :lol: Nice poster, James!

Terrific read!

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Re: AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

Post by Randall » September 11th, 2020, 2:59 pm


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Re: AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

Post by Ben » September 11th, 2020, 3:09 pm

Good luck to him! It would be nice if someone would pick this up and support him again.

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Re: AV Roundtable Flashbacks -- Titan A.E.

Post by Daniel » September 12th, 2020, 3:14 pm

Nice to see Don Bluth back in the game.

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