The Titan movie review
The Titan has a trailer good enough to sell it as a worthwhile stop on the Netflix carousel of options. At first, it seems like the film is going to make good on its sci-fi thriller premise before it devolves into a boring, silly monster movie.
Earth is dying. Too many wars, too large a population and too much social media has left the planet on life support. With Earth’s resources tapped out it’s time to find another planet to ruin. Professor Martin Collingwood (Tom Wilkinson, Selma) has the controversial idea to send a select group of soldiers to Titan.
Among the group is Lt. Rick Janssen (Sam Worthington, Sabotage), who feels honored at the opportunity to be part of the mission to ensure the survival of the human race. Rick’s wife, Dr. Abigail Janssen (Taylor Schilling, Argo), is initially supportive, but becomes increasingly concerned as Rick starts experiencing troubling side effects.
Rick is a dutiful soldier and blindly goes along with the tests, medical treatments and training with no questions. Of the recruits, only Tally Rutherford (Nathalie Emmanuel, The Fate of the Furious) comes close to matching Rick’s drive. When a fellow recruit asks some valid questions, Rick shuts them down dismissively since they don’t have kids and can’t relate. For Rick, this mission isn’t just about saving the species, but providing a future for his son, Lucas (Noah Jupe).
While Rick might be too oblivious to question his mission, Abigail begins her own investigation and learns even if the experiment is a success she’s going to lose her husband.
The Titan has a chance to be something special if the film fully committed shifting the focus from Rick to Abigail. From her perspective the film finds an intriguing sci-fi thriller lane well worth exploring, but abandons it too quickly. It’s Abigail that has the agenda of saving Rick and relegating her to helpless spectator feels like a cheat. And at least Schilling is one of the few performers who seems invested in her character.
Rick casually accepts various changes like peeling skin and his hair falling out with barely a raised eyebrow. Worthington isn’t the strongest performer and this role allows him to act emotionless long before Rick takes his first injection.
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Wilkinson is solid, but his sleazy professor becomes more cartoonish the longer the film rolls on. Collingwood’s omission of facts seems more the work of the mustache-twirling villain than a scientist obsessed with saving humanity.
Even at 97 minutes, the film feels like a slog. Director Lennart Ruff seems more determined to stage cool shots in the pool than establishing an engaging pace. There’s too many moments of long gazes and tedious scenes where nothing happens. Almost by accident, Ruff manages to stage an interesting scene, but slams on the brakes to slow the film down before it gets too exciting.
Max Hurwitz’s script glosses over too many important details. It’s never explained why Titan was selected as the new home base for mankind or the end game. By the final act it seems as if Hurwitz has totally abandoned the film’s original premise and makes a last minute switch to making the film a monster movie. It doesn’t work and the body count at the end seems senseless and in some cases needlessly cruel.
The Titan is easily one of the more colossal sci-fi disappointments this year. It’s asking viewers to stay engaged through a slow and tedious ride for a lackluster payoff.
Rating: 3 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix