The Titan (2018)

The Titan
Director: Lennart Ruff
Writer: Max Hurwitz, Arash Amel
Cast: Sam Worthington, Taylor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson, Agyness Deyn, Nathalie Emmanuel, Noah Jupe, Corey Johnson, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Diego Boneta, Aaron Heffernan
Seen on: 17.11.2022

It has become clear that the Earth will soon become inhabitable for people. There are only a few places left. One of them is the Arctic where Rick (Sam Worthington), his wife Abi (Taylor Schilling) and their son Lucas (Noah Jupe) are moving to. Rick has signed up for a military experiment that will hopefully make him and a handful of others able to travel to Saturn’s moon Jupiter and settle there, as humanity’s hope of survival even if the Earth isn’t an option anymore. But the longer tthe experiment continues, the more doubts Abi starts to have.

The Titan was really bad. It doesn’t make much sense, doesn’t do anything interesting with its premise and ultimately doesn’t even manage to tell us a story with any tension or excitement. Literally the only thing that made me pay attention to it was my fascination that completely modified Rick still looks like Rick somehow. That is not enough to build a film on.

The film poster showing Rick (Sam Worthington) and Abi (Taylor Schilling)  in front of a starry sky with diagrams and a glowing blue planet and a space station.

From the get-go it is clear that we have to put all thoughts aside of “is it really the best idea to populate space to save humanity?” This is the film’s premise, and we have to roll with it, even though one wonders whether it wasn’t more feasible to use the technology shown in the film to change humans to live on a very changed Earth instead of sending them to Titan. We should also not wonder why Titan is the best option, the reason the film gives is entirely made up. It’s also not advisable to think about the logistics of sending people to Titan when the Earth’s resources are already depleted.

Putting all this aside, we’re left with the science of the experiments themselves. It is a science fiction story after all. But there, too, the science doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. I’m not a geneticist, nor a biologist, but with everything they explained, I thought, “things don’t work that way, I’m pretty sure.” Even if their science was correct, which I honestly doubt, they obviously have a believeability issue.

Rick (Sam Worthington) and Tally (Nathalie Emmanuel) working on their diving in a pool.

So, we turn away from the science in this science fiction film. There are some horror elements that are entirely cliché. There are some drama elements that are underexplored. I mean, if we take the film on a more symbolic level, there are of course some questions of idenity that could be interesting to explore. How much of you can be changed before you stop being you? It’s basically the ship of Theseus, only with genetics. But the film never makes any interesting points there either.

And it is often quite lazy in its storytelling. At some point, the experiments mean that Rick can’t talk anymore. In the film this means that Abi and Rick can only look at each other anymore. Why doesn’t Rick pick up a pen and write something down? It would be such a simple thing (as a first step before learning sign language) but the film completely ignores that possibility because it doesn’t fit.

Ultimately, what you’re left with is an unfocused and simply boring film that gives the distinct impression that it doesn’t have any idea what it’s doing or saying. And that is no fun to watch.

Abi (Taylor Schilling), looking quite banged up, looking at a very changed Rick (Sam Worthington).

Summarizing: skip it.

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