I’m beginning to wonder if any of us will live to see James Cameron’s Avatar sequels; perhaps not the most serious problem we have right now, but at the rate we’re going, there may not be any cinemas to show the franchise in. So the sight of Sam Worthington morphing into something space-age in The Titan will have to do for now; Worthington has kept the leading man roles going in the interim, and this sci-fi thriller about space exploration is a decent enough, undemanding home entertainment for today’s world of couch-potatoes.
Except Lennart Ruff’s film has a few surprises up its sleeve; although the focus switches, Worthington’s aspiring space explorer arguably isn’t the main character here; it’s Taylor Schilling from Orange is the New Black as his wife. Although The Titan flirts with being a generically-modified super-soldier thriller like The Guest, or a updated Alien rip like Life or Sputnik, or even a personal drama like Proxima, it finally settles for being a Frankenstein/Shape of Water type love story, and that’s probably for the best.
Rick Janssen (Worthington) is heading to Titan, although neither he not the film actually get there. Instead, we’re looking at the training programme, with seem to involve astronauts getting injections of animal hormones to create colonists capable of survival. So Janssen’s wife Abigail (Schilling) begins to suspect something his wrong, and we have an Astronaut’s Wife scenario whereby she tries to get to the bottom of what’s going on inside her husband.
Of course, it’s not hard to figure out that Martin Collingwood (Tom Wilkinson), who is overseeing the mission, is up to no good; he uses various kinds of climate change chat as an excuse for his experiments, so we know that he’s on a highway to hell. ‘ There hasn’t been anything like this since the Nazis’ one character complains, and The Titan actually makes a fair point about progress; are there limits to what we’ll do to ourselves to survive?
Popping up on different streaming services in different countries, The Titan has enjoyed an audience specifically via Netflix, and that’s probably right because it’s an easy to watch mixture of sci-fi, horror and yes, romance. This version of 2048 actually doesn’t look too bad considering what’s happened in 2020, and even if you have to become a monster to go there, Titan sounds quite appealing as a destination. This is a glossy, accessible slice of sci-fi that, while it settles for a conventional resolution, at least entertains while the gap between blockbusters lengthens.
Signature Entertainment presents The Titan on Amazon Prime Video 2nd October
Thanks to Signature for access to this title.