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One Movie Punch

Mar 31, 2018

Today’s movie is “The Titan” (2018), directed by Lennart Ruff, based on a story by Arash Amel and written for the screen by Max Hurwitz. The film follows the forced evolution of Lt. Rick Janssen (Sam Worthington) to survive on Saturn’s moon Titan, under the guidance of Prof. Martin Collingwood (Tom Wilkinson), and his wife, Dr. Abigail Janssen (Taylor Schilling).

Spoilers ahead.

I don’t consider myself a scientist, but I do like to keep up with the latest advances in science, and in particular astronomy, which I took as a lab science back in college. I’m also a big fan of science fiction, particularly when it deals with bleeding edge concepts like forced evolution and planetary colonization. All that is to say that I probably know too much about science to enjoy this film. I’m sure Neil deGrasse Tyson would have a heyday with it.

This film has gaping plot holes that ruin the entire experience for anyone that is science-educated. First gaping plot hole: If you are going to start a forced evolution program because Earth is becoming uninhabitable, why not adapt humans for Earth instead of a completely different atmosphere that is a minimum of four years away? Second gaping plot hole: Who cares about money at the end of the world? Third gaping plot hole: How has their child not aged at least four years at the end as they gaze up at Titan and he gazes back at them? It takes at least four years to get there!

It’s too much for me to manage, and it’s not the only problem. Schilling is the only bright spot on the cast, with Worthington too emotionless and Wilkinson too canned. Ruff’s direction and composition lacks consistency, with tone clashes and pacing issues, and muddling any message to be taken from the film. The major strengths for the film are the costumes, sets and effects, with effective practical effects and subtle special effects.

“The Titan” (2018) seems to be a film born from a desire to capture the film’s final image of Rick on the surface of Titan, then creating a story to justify it. And unlike the heyday of hard science fiction in the 1960s and 1970s, when inventive tales like this could flourish, our collective understanding of science makes giant plot holes hard to stomach. Science fiction fans will appreciate this film’s effort, especially the effects, but fans outside the genre may have difficulty getting into it.

Rotten Tomatoes: NR

Metacritic: NR

One Movie Punch: 5.6/10

“The Titan” (2018) is rated TV-MA and is streaming on Netflix.