Monday, August 05, 2013

Doin' Laundry On Planet Earth

Today was even nicer than yesterday. It was a mere 75 degrees in my living room when I got up this morning. I couldn't believe it. That never happens in early August. I celebrated the comfortable weather with the last movie I took out of the Oaklyn Library last week, the animated sci-fi adventure Titan A.E.

Don Bluth's last animated film to date takes place in the distant future. Earth was destroyed by the alien Drej race. Humans now live as workers for aliens or in wandering colonies living on space junk. Cale is a young human living on an alien scrap-collection colony. He's found by a group of humans and aliens who are searching for the Titan, the mysterious vessel which may be able to save humanity. The Drej don't want humans threatening them and will do anything to find the Titan before they do...and some members of the group may not be entirely loyal.

In one of the most infamous cases of movies trying to beat each other to the punch ever, Titan A.E came out around the same time as Disney's boy-oriented sci-fi tale Treasure Planet in 2002...and both wound up losing. They actually got pretty decent reviews at the time (and continue to do so), but they were too violent for audiences who were still used to animation being for families. Titan failed so badly, Fox closed its animation unit, and Don Bluth hasn't done anything on the big screen since. (Disney had its own repercussions - it would only release two more traditionally animated films after that, sticking to computer animation until 2009.)

The ultimate irony is...Titan A.E and Treasure Planet are actually quite good. I really like both, and I don't think either remotely deserved what they got at the box office. Titan ran into major executive meddling problems. Fox wanted to rush it to beat Treasure Planet. Bluth wanted his usual quality, and apparently considers the film's visuals unfinished. I'm not sure why. The visuals are incredible, even the obviously CGI Drej. Some of the explosions alone, including the opening destruction of Earth, are amazing. The story is another thing all together - it had more writers than most libraries (including Joss Wheadon), and the tinkering and confusion does show, especially if you're not heavily into dark end-of-the-world sci-fi.

For all its problems, both this and Planet have become cult favorites since their releases. I highly recommend this one for Bluth fans, animation fans, sci-fi nuts, and older boys who normally scoff at "kids" animated films.

Headed out to do the laundry after the movie ended and I had flounder in white wine sauce with mushrooms for lunch. I dropped my nephew Skylar's birthday card and money in a mail box on the way. It was a glorious day for a walk. The sky was a rich blue. The sun was bright and warm, but not overwhelming. The wind felt wonderful. Needless to say, the Oaklyn Lions Pool was busy and there were lots of people out and about, including packs of kids.

The laundromat was surprisingly busy too for late in the day. Almost every washer was taken but the one at the end when I came in. I ended up with that one. It did clear out a bit after that, and I had no problems getting a drier. Thankfully, I had a very small load anyway and was in and out in a little less than an hour.

I quickly put my things away, then went online to get some stuff there, including finally sending that e-mail to Stockton. I just as quickly changed into my uniform, got dinner together, and rushed off to work. Work was crazy, not helped by me coming in during the second half of rush hour. It was busy until at least 8:30-9, calming down just in time for me to head out with no relief.

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