Netflix’s new release film library seems to be made up of two different types of films; the ones released on the platform to benefit from providing people with an easily accessible home viewing experience, and the bargain bin trash you’d see go straight to DVD in the 90’s and early 2000’s. The Titan is a perfect example of that bargain bin trash no-one has heard of and no-one will watch because Sam Worthington headlining any film is more repelling than enticing at this point. The plot follows Sam Worthington as Lt. Rick Janssen who enlists in a genetic evolution experiment in order to help prepare the human human race for relocation to Saturn’s largest moon. This is another case where you have a premise with a galaxy of potential that in the end is annoyingly squandered. It’s frustrating because there are some genuinely intriguing ideas in here and at a handful of moments it shows some signs of heading in a positive direction but the execution and pacing throughout is absolutely atrocious. And I can’t even say much for the performances because there’s barely a moment of charisma or sign of personality from almost anyone.
The way this story plays out is so dull that it does its utmost to make you want to stop watching. It moves at a horribly slow pace, so damn slow that for the first hour the story it genuinely feels entirely stagnant. I mean, some things are happening but the developments in the story are so minor and incremental it feels like it’s going nowhere, like if Rocky was 2 hours of training with no end in sight. And in here there is one sequence that teases you with progression, like things are going to start speeding up soon but then it goes back to an aimlessly wandering pace for another 30 minutes. With this premise you’d expect it to be at a certain point in the story by the half way mark or even the end of the first act, but there is I shit you not; 1 hour and 10 minutes of setup in this 1 hour and 30 minute movie. It takes so long to tell this story and get to a certain point that by the time it does I had lost all interest in the story, the characters, and was just counting down the minutes to the credits. There’s an attempt in the last 20 minutes to draw some sort of emotional investment from the audience but it doesn’t work in the slightest as it’s too little too late.
This is a premise that should evoke a sense of wonder, horror, and a certain level of intensity but it’s so flat throughout that none of this is present. Even in the writing of the characters there isn’t an ounce of depth to latch on to or connect with at any point in the story. No one in here feels real, reactions come across as forced, and it feels as though characters are written to overcome certain events just to try and move forward at a slightly less slow pace. And the performances I can’t say do the characters any favours, from Sam Worthington to Tom Wilkinson, main or supporting, no one is putting in any effort to bring any personality or charisma to the screen. Taylor Schilling who plays Worthington’s wife in the film is the only one who seems like she’s trying to bring something to the story. But despite her efforts her character is all over the place and flip flopping in terms of her overall involvement and determination like the wind. The rest of the supporting cast including Nathalie Emmanuel are shoved to the sidelines with almost nothing to do which is a shame.
I don’t really have much else to say about this movie, there’s some pretty good practical effects work, one trying performance, and the blinding potential for an engaging story. But the execution and progression of the story and the lack of depth or development in any of the characters makes this a dull and boring film from beginning to end. The only reason I didn’t check out early is because I guess I was just hoping for it to kick into gear at one point but it never does. It’s the feature film directorial debut from Lennart Ruff so inexperience is definitely a major factor in the overall quality. It’s so bland and flat throughout that there isn’t a single redeeming quality that would render watching this at all worthwhile.