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Notes On: The Titan (2018)

Sam Worthington “stars” in a lifeless science fiction drama, which doesn’t really work on any level (maybe apart from a gorgeous house of the protagonist). 

The year is 2048. The civilization as we know it is about to perish due to the mass starvation and floods. A government-funded project recruits several volunteers, who are injected with a special enzyme. The substance will change their bodies so that they can live on a different planet called Titan – the one place that can sustain the lifeline of the humanity.

“The Titan” begins with a spectacular premise. The decadent vision of the humanity’s downfall is a solemn, but prospective place to start a sci-fi drama. However, instead of deepening the concept, the script by Max Hurwitz (was on board on “Manhunt: Unabomber” as a screenwriter) quickly jumps to the lab facilities and blue injections, leaving behind the story or character development.

And here’s the thing. If the film is not necessarily looking for in-depth psychology, it should offer a substitute.

What is offered then?

Sam Worthington’s iconic moppishness. As profoundly pointed out in a review by The Guardian’s Jake Nevins, the Austrialian actor is known for his effortless approach in acting. Rick Janssen, the exemplary father and soldier, is almost sadistically boring. Every word he says is lifeless and his whole sacrifice is like a gentle, swift wind on a Sunday morning. It is far from moving though.

Despite that, Worthington is only partially responsible for the final result, which is “The Titan”. His role as Rick Janssen might be as flat as a hockey puck, but I can’t picture any actor nailing it.

Notwithstanding the grandeur of the initial idea – “The Titan” is really about Rick Janssen’s metamorphosis. “The Titan” tries to be a mixture of “The Fly” and “Ex Machina”. Even though the director Lennart Ruff draws from both, his film is nowhere near any of them. Whilst Cronenberg’s film was heavily dependent on the psychedelic body horror, Garland’s movie was an acting spectacle set in a hermetic set. “The Titan” is neither an engaging horror nor an inventive, air-tight flick.

Worthington’s molting, spending much of the screen time underwater or being feverish, obviously on account of the mysterious enzyme. Yet, this whole process is just inadvertently plain. After a while, you will be much more interested in the architecture of the magnificent house of Rick, rather than his whole suffering and change.

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Since Worthington is not the strongest lead, the weight of the acting is naturally transferred onto Taylor Schilling (Worthington’s wife Abi) and the dark emissary of the government, Professor Collingwood (Tom Wilkinson). Surprisingly, Schilling’s Abi is more preoccupied with Rick’s health than he is with himself. The actress echoes with much more understanding of her role and becomes an anchor to prevent you from sleeping. On the other side, there’s a government’s demonic figure, a man obsessed with his own success. Even if both Schilling and Wilkinson are solid here, their roles are insubstantial in the film’s ocean of nothingness.

Imagine a cheap, perfumed wax. You can barely feel any scent of it at all, but it doesn’t piss you off. It’s too little of a matter to concern you even slightly that you paid money for that gimmick. The same happens with “The Titan”. It is not a film so profoundly bad that it makes you question why are you losing time on it. There’s just no particular reason for you to see it – apart form paying the goddamn subscription on Netflix and making the most out of it.

The Titan (2018)

Dir. Lennart Ruff

Cast: Sam Worth-not-too-much-ington, Taylor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson

Hate Grade: 6.5/10

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