It could just be that Netflix is recommending me more science fiction because of what I’ve been watching, but it feels like the streaming service is full of straight to DVD or straight to streaming science fiction movies lately. I must have looked at more than 20 titles before settling on “The Titan.” More specifically, my wife settled on it. We liked the premise, and the female lead is the actress who plays Piper in “Orange is the New Black,” so I had some hope for it.
I should really stop going into these things with expectations. I really should.
“The Titan” is the story of an overpopulated Earth and humanity’s decision to begin colonizing Saturn’s moon, Titan. Scientists know that in order to do this, man will have to evolve and become more than human to survive the atmosphere and conditions of Titan. Terra-forming is not a thing in this reality, but genetically altering human DNA to turn them into animal hybrids totally is.
A war pilot who survived three days in the harsh Syrian desert without food or water is the first chosen for this new program, named Rick Janssen (Sam Worthington). His wife Abigail (Taylor Schilling) and son Lucas (Noah Jupe) are moved with Rick to the desert where they live in a small community with the other test subjects.
Things go well at first, but then Rick’s skin begins to shed, his veins begin to show all over his body and his blood transforms and becomes darker. Another test subject becomes super aggressive and ends up killing his wife and is shot down. During all of this, Abigail runs her own tests on Rick and tries to get answers about what is happening to him. Eventually, only two test subjects remain and chaos erupts.
Besides being predictable, “The Titan” is the victim of trying to tell more than one story, and when it finally settles on one, it’s the wrong one. We have a story of morality and corruption alongside a “science-gone-wrong” action story. The movie settles for the easy route and ends up trying to tell the action story. However, it’s the morality tale that is the most intriguing and more entertaining, there just isn’t enough of it.
Worthington is passable and works best when he’s not talking. Schilling does a fine job as the wife who is slowly losing her husband, and plays the scientist role well too. The scenes with her trying to find out what is happening to her husband and questioning the ethics or morals of the program is some of the better stuff in this movie. But too quickly it turns to typical sci-fi cheese. As if sustaining a thought provoking movie was too hard and they took the easy way out in the end.
Because of this, and the totally forgettable supporting cast, I found “The Titan” utterly forgettable and ultimately a waste of my time. Such a shame to waste good talent on a movie that can’t figure out what it wants to be. Nathalie Emmanuel plays another test subject here. Her most famous role might be as Missandei on “Game of Thrones.” She’s completely wasted here.
I give this movie 2 out of 5 stars.
“The Titan” is Not Rated and has a running time of 97 minutes; it is now streaming on Netflix.