A Missed Opportunity Ending With A Truly Woeful Ending
The Titan is a fascinating film to watch for all the wrong reasons. What begins as a promising, absorbing science fiction thriller quickly devolves into a nonsensical, directionless film full of plot holes and poor characterisation. It’s a shame too as there’s some genuinely good ideas here with a decent musical score elevating a lot of the scenes but around the midway point The Titan crumbles under expectation before aimlessly stumbling into one of the worst endings to a film released this year.
The story begins with a near-future Earth on the brink of extinction. With the remaining fragments of the population on the brink of starvation following a lack of food and natural resources left on the planet, humanity looks to the stars to colonise. Deciding Saturn’s moon Titan is the most likely candidate to harbour life, the government intervenes and begins a program to force-evolve human beings into being able to acclimatise better to the conditions on Saturn’s moon before eventually starting anew for the human race. It’s here that we’re introduced to the story’s main protagonist, family man and war hero, Lt. Rick Janssen (Sam Worthington).
After a brief introduction where he proclaims in no uncertain terms that anyone without a child or family are unable to comprehend saving humanity, the story picks up in pace to show a handful of candidates training under increasingly hostile conditions whilst given specific enhancing drugs to help them all become super humans in order to salvage the human race and survive on Titan. It’s during these opening scenes that The Titan is at its strongest and there’s a good undertone of hopeful optimism helping to drive the narrative forward during some of the more mundane scenes involving Rick bonding with his son and wife as well as brief discussions with the other characters taking part in the experiment. None of these feel particularly rewarding though and more often than not, scenes linger on a little too long, devaluing some of the good work put into some of the dialogue exchanges.
The Titan’s directionless feel is accentuated by the incessant need to constantly switch perspectives from Rick to his wife Abi (Taylor Schilling) and back again. Whilst this shifting perspective isn’t necessarily a bad thing on its own, the lack of characterisation and character progression certainly makes this more inconsistent than it should be. Rick in particular plays the same monotonous, expressionless tone through most of the film’s run time that really makes it difficult to empathise or warm toward him and around the midway point The Titan abandons all the good work done in the first half in favour of a messy, action-orientated plot. Without spoiling too much, the film takes a turn for the worst and becomes increasingly difficult to become invested in, eventually ending up with a spectacularly bad ending that makes you question just what in the heck you just watched.
The Titan feels like a real missed opportunity. The opening scenes are full of promise and wonder, driven by a strong narrative and thematic core that just seem to crumble and eventually implode the longer the film goes on. Boasting a truly woeful ending and a distinct lack of characterisation, The Titan fails to follow up on its promising opening arc with anything substantial enough to be considered decent sci-fi.