Updated: Aug 19, 2019
In an early scene of the 2018 Science Fiction movie, The Titan, the volunteers for a dangerous experiment in bioengineering are taken into that most familiar of real-life settings, the lecture hall. They are being lectured (along with the movie’s audience) on how the world has been destroyed and why it will be completely uninhabitable in 15 years. The only difference between what this fictional scientist, Dr. Martin Collingwood (Tom Wilkinson, The Grand Budapest Hotel), is espousing and what pundits, politicians and scientists tell us in our world is that in the world of The Titan, the apocalypse is real.
The year is 2048. After the opening credits, we are shown News footage of nuclear bombs being dropped on We are not in our own world. We are told a stock list of reasons as to why our time on this earth has come to an end. The list includes overpopulation, dwindling resources which lead to resource wars, and climate change. In other words, what many environmentalists are warning will happen in our future is actually happening in the story’s present.
Science Fiction is dominated by this apocalyptic ideology. In movies such as Terminator and The Matrix, humans create machines that go to war with us and in the process we destroy ourselves and the environment. In Twelve Monkeys we destroy the delicate balance between humans and the environment by creating and unleashing a super-virus. Blade Runner takes place on earth but shows the last days of a dying world, with advertisements about going “off world.” Planet of the Apes assumes we destroyed the world far into the future, and will be taken over by superior animals. Wall-E is the last robot on earth, designated with the job of cleaning up after our devastated planet. Many of the epic movies that rake in hundreds of millions of dollars assume this premise, too. In the Avengers series the primary villain Thanos wants to eliminate half the universe’s population, so that there will be enough resources for the remaining half. This premise goes unchallenged in the movie.
Select almost any major science fiction movie or book at random and there will not only be characters explicitly expressing this ideology, but a common imagery, stock characters and plot structure that adds up to what I call The Destroyed Paradise Premise. That is the idea that from our own mismanagement of the earth will come the devastation of the pristine and perfect paradise which has been handed to us. This premise serves as the scaffolding holding together these films. In The Titan, for instance, there would be no reason to leave earth had we not destroyed it.
Our beliefs about the environment are directly transmitted to a mass audience via popular science fiction. Read today’s newspaper, listen to popular podcasts, and watch the news, and you will notice this premise has taken over the minds of almost everyone. I believe it is uncontroversial that most people think our world is a pristine paradise and that we are destroying it.
The Biblical roots of science fiction is uncontroversial. The imagery, plot structure and characters are directly influenced by Garden of Eden story in The Bible, which itself serves as the basis for literary works Dante’s Divine Comedy as well as Milton’s Paradise Lost; two influential works on modern science fiction.
In The Titan, Dr. Collingwood’s plan is to bio-engineer humans to be capable of living in the harsh environment of Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. This moon most resembles earth, but at a stage of development immediately before the advent of life. Humans evolved to live on earth, not Titan, so as the doctor tells the volunteers, “You will become enhanced men, supermen. You. But better.” Where is the line of humanity? How much can we change of our bodies before our souls are changed? This has been a popular theme in science fiction. As we are being confronted with new tech today, we are forced to consider this question more seriously.
How you answer this question is not inconsequential to yourself nor the world. Pop culture figures Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos embody an implicit answer. Elon Musk wants to save humanity from itself; Bezos wants to unleash humanity's potential. Musk’s businesses are designed to prevent our own destruction and to help us flee from our own stupidity. He fears A.I. He believes, as is the premise of most sci fi movies, that "there will be some eventual extinction event.” His belief is that humans are the biggest threat. Bezos’ philosophy is completely contrary to this: "The solar system can easily support a trillion humans, And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited, for all practical purposes, resources and solar power [would be] unlimited for all practical purposes. That's the world that I want my great-grandchildren’s great-grandchildren to live in." Who you choose to support today, will determine what future we will have tomorrow.
There have been countless essays, books, podcasts and lectures exploring what makes us human. But The Titan is not a philosophical essay, it is a work of art. It conveys its ideas in a fundamentally different way, that is, by selecting the elements by which to project its themes. In order for each of us to contemplate these ideas properly, we must understand the artistry in which it is conveyed.
As I argue below, The Titan is a good work of art. Yet, it was utterly lambasted by both critics and audiences. This in itself is not indicative of anything important. What is of importance is why it was attacked. On Rotten Tomatoes it received a 19% from critics (and an even worse 15% from the audience.) Here are a few headlines from critics. From Film Racket “ The Titan takes a timely and tantalizing premise about finding a new home after Earth becomes uninhabitable and squanders it completely.” From The Flick Philosopher: “The science is ludicrous, the story is almost entirely free of drama, and the finale descends into the hoariest, most ridiculous clichés of the genre. But the future smart-house porn is lovely.” Now, why is the science ludicrous? Is it the ludicrous idea that an interplanetary humanity could ever run out of resources? No. It’s the idea that the moon, Titan, is not the only place in our solar system with an atmosphere (which is not the claim of the movie, but that is beside the point). No critics questioned the philosophical premise of the movie, nor did any see aesthetic merits to it.
When these critics attack the artform of this movie, their criticism demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the way in which the director, Lennart Ruff, masterfully used the elements of cinema and literature to create a good piece of art. Most critics, for instance, assumed that Rick (Sam Worthington, Avatar) is the hero. Or, another common criticism, as in Radio Times: “The Titan raises some interesting questions about the world we live in. However, with no depth or spectacle, it fails to provide any answers.” The film is accused of lacking a climax, of having flat characters, of lacking spectacle, of poor cinematic style, of not living up to its “thriller/horror genre,” and much more. It has even been accused of stealing ideas, characters, settings and premises from other sci fi movies such as Prometheus. This last criticism is the most ludicrous I’ve ever read, since the elements of Prometheus were “stolen” from earlier films which were “stolen” from literature.
For the analysis below, you should watch the movie. I am setting out to explain the serious artistic merits of this film, and how the literary elements add up to a common theme in science fiction. Once you have seen a good depiction of this theme in art, you will be able to recognize it in almost every sci-fi movie you watch.
I place movies in the broader category of literature. While it is valuable to analyze movies from the perspective of their own medium, I believe the most fundamental way to assess them is as literature. Therefore, I will not use esoteric cinema terms. Rather, I will use literary terms. For instance, when discussing style I won’t talk about dutch angles or editing, but instead focus on imagery.
**** SPOILERS BELOW*****
CHARACTERS: The Intelligent Mother and the Mad Scientist
At a superficial glance, this film’s hero is Rick Janssen. Looking at the movie posters this makes sense, he is featured prominently. Also, in the opening of the movie a news article is featured calling Rick “a hero.”
However, Rick has very little dialogue in the film and less screen-time than other characters. Dr. Collingwood even points out to Abigail Janssen (Tayloy Schilling, Orange is the New Black) when Rick's plane crashed during the Syrian war, he survived a three day trek through the desert because he was “not alone.” Who was his motivation for surviving? His wife Abigail. In fact, Rick relies on her utterly throughout the entire movie, both spiritually and physically. Only when his wife begins to suspect something is amiss with the injections he is receiving does he finally hesitate in continuing with the experiment. When Dr. Freya (Agnes Deyn, Hail, Ceasar) prepares to give another injection for the experiment, RIck jerks his arm away and looks to Abigail, who hesitantly gives him a nod in acquiescence. His actions are for Abigail.
Numerous shots place Abigail as the central figure in the family. She is the mature, intelligent mother who oversees their family. Both her boy and her husband are portrayed as childish in relation to her.
While she relies on Rick as a source of strength, she is the moral guide in the family, making the important decisions. Just as Rick made it through the desert to get back to his wife, so now Rick is echoing Abigail’s desire to undergo this extreme experiment because “it’s a small price to pay for my son’s future.”
Dr. Abigail Janssen is the protagonist of this story. It is her curiosity which pushes the story along. She discovers the doctor’s plan. She confronts the doctor. She redeems the newly created monster that is Rick by kissing him. She rescues Rick from a lobotomy. She stands in-between the Nato soldiers and her family.
Although a scientist herself, she is often isolated from the scientific community on the island. At scenes like the one pictured above we see Abigail begin to suspect the doctor of wrongdoing. And in a beautiful shot that reflects the island imagery as well as the garden imagery (discussed in Imagery section) Abigail is confronted with her own complicity in this wild experiment. Prior to this scene, she has discovered Dr. Collingwood’s real plan: to erase Rick’s humanity. He is not making Rick a “better you.” Instead, the mad scientist is engineering a new race; in this movie it is called “forced evolution.” Abigail is losing her family, because if Rick becomes “Homo Titanius” she wonders if he will be Rick anymore. In a powerful scene she confronts the doctor and accuses him of “turning my husband into a fucking animal.”
Abigail is the intelligent and redeeming mother, she sees what others do not. In the scene where Abigail confronts the doctor it is not an accident that Rick has been blinded by the doctor, literally.
She begins to see the truth, and we now understand that Rick is incapable of seeing the truth and thus relies on her. This special sight is a common theme with Abigail. In an easily overlooked scene, Abigail’s character and the meaning of the story is laid out visually using picture frames.
The first image (left) is a picture of Abigail graduating college. In the photo with her is a friend who looks like one of the other volunteers of the experiment, Tally Rutherford (Nathalie Emmanuel, Game of Thrones). In the next picture is her diploma. Then there is a wedding photograph and then next are newspaper clippings, one of which has the headline: “MIA: Hero Pilot Found Alive in the Syrian Desert.” Since we learn that she met Rick in college these can be understood as a timeline of her life with Rick.
When I first watched this movie I was visibly struck by the wedding photograph. I’ve never seen a bride look like that on her wedding day. It seemed completely jarring in relation to their apparently happy marriage. Was she not actually in love with him?
After a second look, I realized that this photo holds the entire theme of the movie. This is her Cassandra moment. The myth of Cassandra from Ancient Greek literature is a popular tale featured in Homer’s two epics. Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy, but was cursed with being unable to convince anyone of the truth. In other words, she can see disaster ahead, but not prevent it.
In the photo, Rick is pulling her toward him and Abigail has her hand over his heart. He is wearing his soldier’s uniform and she is wearing her white wedding dress. It reminded me of a famous painting called The Black Brunswicker, wherein a German volunteer heads to the battle of Waterloo against the wishes of his lover. (It is interesting to note that the director of The Titan, Lennart Ruff is German).
Abigail knows that her husband is going to leave. In The Titan he is a volunteer. He may have even volunteered for assignments in Syria. Yet, He relies on her for guidance and survival. As the doctor says “he wasn’t in that desert alone.” While Abigail is looking out into the world having a premonition of their future, Rick is looking at Abigail.
The plot of The Titan unveils as Abigail begins to see the truth about the island paradise in which this mad scientist has been manipulating her and her family. When Dr. Collingwood comes to greet the new arrivals, Abigail is welcoming and happy. The doctor relies on Abigail’s acquiescence for Rick’s participation. In this first scene with the doctor, she is separated from Rick as the doctor is in the position of power.
In the most explicitly philosophic moment of the movie, Dr. Collingwood says to Abigail: “No one attempts the impossible without a belief in something greater than themselves. Even if that something is a someone. Rick didn’t cross the desert alone.”
Viewing the movie from this perspective, and with an awareness of the manipulation of this mad scientist, the entire movie crackles with meaning. Collingwood has selected these volunteers, but he believes only Rick will survive. He has “more than hope in Rick,” he has faith. This garden, which is controlled by Collingwood, is designed to monitor everyone all the time. And Collingwood does not think the 300 injections will be sufficient to change a person into Homo Titanius. They must have a “belief in something greater than themselves.” The doctor gives that to them.
Along with the greedy businessman, the mad scientist is one of the most common tropes in modern literary history. It harkens back to Victor Frankenstein, the young undergraduate student who uses electricity to animate flesh, and to the stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne, where a knowledge-obsessed scientist ignores moral norms in order to discover and master the creative force of the universe. But most prominent for The Titan is the work of H.G. Wells, in particular The Island of Dr. Moreau, where an estranged doctor has operated on the minds and bodies of animals to turn them into the idealized Man of his vision.
Much like Moreau, Collingwood uses whatever means necessary to create and control his idealized “Man.” In The Island of Dr. Moreau, the doctor has created a religion in which to control the beasts. He even gives them laws to abide by: “Not to go on all fours That is the law, Are we not Men? Not to suck up drink That is the law, Are we not Men?” and many more. Collingwood does not create laws, instead he manipulates Abigail, the source of Rick's moral code.
Most importantly, he uses the morality of environmentalism to control the volunteers. In the lecture scene, we see Rick, in a moment of religious fanaticism, confronts another volunteer who was questioning the doctor’s science:
Rick asks the questioner, “Why are you here?”
“I’m just pointing out that this is not…”
“You’re pointing out nothing and you’re going on and on… He’s talking about the end of the earth … You got kids?
“Then shut the fuck up or get the fuck out.”
Science is the religion of this movie.
Science Fiction operates on parallel lines with science. When Luigi Galvani experimented with electricity on a frog, he inspired many rational men to continue investigating the properties of electricity, and he terrified many religious men to fear science. The thought that a mad scientist will experiment on people has been one of the basic fears expressed throughout the history of science fiction. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was the first expression of this fear. Victor Frankenstein, uses this newfound theory of electricity coupled with ancient alchemical theories to animate flesh and create new life. The monster was born from this experiment.
In the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne (Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, The Birthmark, Rappaccini’s Daughter) we see Hawthorne’s fear, the scientist who, without proper moral training (meaning religious), becomes obsessed by a desire for knowledge at the expense of human considerations. Even in modern blockbusters like Venom we see this; here a scientist is willing to sacrifice homeless people for his mad experiments with an alien symbiosis. This willingness to let humans be killed in the name of science is critical in understanding The Titan.
Art shapes our consciousness by presenting carefully selected concrete images that we can see and hear and thus contemplate. Literature does this with concepts (words). Movies do this with words and images and sounds. Hawthorne is one of science fictions’ most influential authors. His fictional scientists were great and awe-inspiring. They stood outside and above normal society in their pursuit of knowledge. And they were terrifying too, in their willingness to play with the lives of their friends (Heidegger) experiment on their wivese (Birthmark) and transform their daughter into a being as poisonous as she was lovely (Rappaccini). Hawthorne was most influential in not only the creation of this new character, the mad scientist, but also in his development of what has been called the Eden Complex: a set of elements that runs throughout almost all of science fiction from Hawthorne’s time to the latest box office hit.
IMAGERY: The Eden Complex
Islands have long been used in literature as a metaphor for the world in which the writer lives. The myth of Plato’s Atlantis allowed for the author to criticize the seafaring empire of Athens without doing so directly. In Gulliver’s Travels the eponymous character visits numerous islands each one serving as an analogy to various European cultural norms. In The Titan the island serves to show our own world and the decisions we are making about our planet’s future and how to survive our impending doom.
These elements include garden imagery, fairy tale esthetics, the emphasis of man’s natural limits, a scientist or some striver who seeks to be god or godlike, an Oedipal dramatic structure, and a symbol structure based on stark contrasts. Some of these elements are generic characters like the mad scientist and others are plot structures like a power struggle between various factions over the control of the future. Next, we will focus on two: Garden Imagery and Fairy Tale Esthetics.
Having a garden is not sufficient for the significance of this set of imagery. Rather, it is when gardens serve a thematic purpose. In The Titan we are brought to an island, which is itself like a giant garden. The imagery emphasizes the control and power that the scientist has over everyone’s lives. The houses in which the volunteers live appear to be in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. It feels as though the houses emerge from the land as natural geological formations. Everything feels cultivated and shaped by a purposeful man.
A garden is mixture of the natural and the man-made. Gardens are cultivated. This idea of cultivation has been exemplified in literature since the Bible. The earth was “created” by God and the Garden of Eden was cultivated as the perfect paradise for Adam and Eve. Until, that is, they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and were thus banished forever. This acquisition of knowledge leading to a fall is likely the most overused trope in all of literature. Nevertheless, it must also be understood as the most influential of all literary images, and literature is the most influential of all fields in the transmission of ideas.
The Titan uses this imagery constantly. Not only is the very home in which the Janssens live a cultivated garden, with rocks sheared flat to serve as walls and its wild trees growing both outside the home and inside it. The volunteers, too, become “unnatural,” or, other-than-human
Fairy Tale Esthetics
It is quite rare that a science fiction writer creates without having read the works of previous, trendsetting authors. The same is true of sci fi movie makers. This is one reason why such a concept as “genre” exists, wherein a familiar stock of elements are utilized to tell a story. In the case of science fiction, there is a heavy influence from fairy tales on the genre. Whether or not a science fiction writer today has studied fairy tales esthetic, they have certainly watched and read dozens of sci fi stories, which are ripe with fairy tale imagery and characterizations.
Fairy Tales in every single culture rely on simplistic imagery. From this comes their transmittable power. They are simple stories that can easily be retold without much change from parent to child generation upon generation.
In The Titan we see several simple image contrasts. The most prominent is water and space.
Whether or not one is familiar with fairy tales, the prominence of water in the film is quite striking. Rick spends time in the water with two people. First, after gaining the ability to breath underwater, he spends a significant amount of time with either his wife or with Tally Rutherford.
His time with Tally is spent underwater, a world only the two of them can occupy. And with his wife he spends it on the surface of the water, a world in which he is quickly becoming estranged.
One way the movie shows us the growing inhumanness of Rick is through frozen water. (I know, I know. It’s just ice. But stay with me) One night, Abigail wakes up shivering. She goes downstairs to see that Rick has set the thermostat to 50 degrees. He is sitting with a bucket of ice trying to cool down. He asks her to put her hands in the ice bucket with him, and she can only bear it for a few moments. Rick tells her he doesn’t feel any cold.
If we understand the esthetic of water as essential to life on earth, this scene, with its eerie blue/green lighting, is showing us that Rick is no longer at home on earth. The doctor’s experiment is turning him not merely into a superman, but into a creature not meant for this earth.
The next scene is Rick and Abigail running to a spot he loves, which shows the beauty and grandeur of the earth. It is a clear homage to Adam and Eve before the fall. The two stand on a hill looking down on a river cutting through a mountainous region.
In the closing images of the movie we have this scene echoed on the moon, Titan. Rick overlooks a river that cuts through a mountainous range, but rather than blue and green we have an otherworldly orange and red. The species Homo Titanius has found a home on this planet. Adam has found his new garden paradise, and he now awaits his eve.
To emphasize the garden paradise imagery, the final image of the movie is almost a mirror image of the opening image. We are shown flowing waters, then the camera moves upward and we see Saturn in the background with Rick soaring through the sky master of the paradise, just as we saw flowing waters and the camera revealed Dr. Cottingwood’s island. As Cottingwood created new man, so now Rick and Abigail must create new men on a new planet. This is Adam immediately prior to the creation of his Eve.
CONFLICT: Who Controls the Future?
When Rick and his family arrive at the island base at the start of the movie, it’s emphasized by Dr. Freya to be a fully functional city “even with a cinema and a supermarket.” When Rick asks “All under NATO Command?” A U.S. Military officer says “Joint initiative with the Defense Science Office and The British Department of Science and Tech, of course. To be sure Lieutenant we are highly classified.” Immediately we are made aware of potential conflicts. “Joint initiatives” can become problematic, because there is unlikely to be joint agreements on everything.
There are several conflicts occurring on multiple levels in this narrative. There is the conflict of Tally versus Abigail over Rick, of the doctor versus his assistant over the morality of the experiment, of the space/science axis versus the bioengineering axis over the experiment's nature, NATO versus the US Military over control of the base, and the main conflict of Dr. Collingwood versus Abigail over Rick. All of these conflicts has one major theme: a conflict of visions over the future.
As mentioned earlier, when Collingwood first comes to visit the Janssens, Abigail is relegated to another room. He has complete control over Rick. We discover that this control is allowed by Abigail, she has read the doctor’s work and knows what they are doing there. She supports it. As the movie progresses, Abigail moves into a more central position of power. This is another element in the “eden complex:” The illusion of central position. After Abigail starts to notice that all the volunteers are turning into monsters—visualized by dark veins streaking throughout their neck and body—she begins to wrest control from the doctor. Abigail's first power-grab occurs a little over one third of the way through the movie. As mentioned above, Freya comes to give Rick his injections. Now that Abigail is becoming suspicious as to the motives of the doctor, she begins to question what is in these injections. In a beautifully acted moment, Abigail begins to push back:
Freya: This is potassium Citrate. Helps flush the kidneys. Abigail: Potassium Citrate’s taken orally. Freya: But it’s in magnesium sulfate so it bypasses the gastric tract.
Abigail: How much magnesium?” Freya: Ten Grams...
Abigail (interrupting): That’s high.
Abigail is not yet prepared to directly challenge the professor, though she indicates to Freya that she wants to speak with him. Shortly after this scene, Abigail begins to notice more problems. Her husband is becoming a monster and she knows it. The most prominent beat of the movie is a scene indicated above, where Rick has been temporarily blinded and Abigail says to the doctor “I won’t sit here and watch him turn my husband into a fucking animal!”
In the fight to save the future, the doctor’s vision is to use vivisection and gene-splicing with animals in order to create a new species of man that can live on Titan.
This battle between Abigail and the doctor represents the larger conflict of visions mentioned earlier. The doctor seeks to experiment in regions of the unknown in order to create something brand new. As he says, “We are in uncharted waters, Abigail.” (There’s that water again.) He has set forth on this expedition of knowledge, and he does not even know if it will work.
The space science axis is another potential way forward. Though in the movie we are not told how the space/science method would operate, we are given an understanding that it would not operate outside the moral norms of society and family.
As the NASA scientist says at the end of the movie “The crazy bastard [Dr. Collingwood] did it. Rick changes everything. He gives us hope. Your family is a miracle, Dr. Janssen.”
The mad scientist was wrong in his immorality, but his madness lead to a breakthrough that may save the future. This new merger will serve as the new way forward.
The new project is NASA TITAN II, and it is headed by Dr. Abigail Janssen.
THEME: Woman as the redeemer for man’s future
The simplest understanding of this story is that a knowledge obsessed scientist seeks to manipulate a very special family, but the mother refuses to give up control . In this battle of communities, the one that wins in the end is the family unit. The doctor believes he can lie or cheat anyone he wants in order to achieve his vision. Abigail believes in her family and fights to keep them safe. More importantly, Abigail is fighting for control over knowledge, and, of course, knowledge is power.
As mentioned in the Eden Complex section, this is an Oedipal structure, as is most of sci fi. Oedipal, not in the Freudian sense but in the Sophoclean sense. In Sophocles’ Oedipus The King, the land of Thebes has been stricken by a plague. There is a prophecy that in order to save the future of the city, there is a moral transgressor who must be expunged. Oedipus, the King of Thebes, seeks to discover the truth about who killed his predecessor, King Laius of Thebes. Famously, he discovers that he, Oedipus, killed King Laius by accident at a crossroads before he reached the city of Thebes. He had been fleeing his homeland of Corinth in order to avoid a prophecy that he would kill his father and sleep with his mother. This is a plot about a transference of power from father to son, or from king to king. Since all parties made fatal errors in their judgement about the future, there has been a missing of the mark in this transference of power, or, what is known as an “Oedipal Tragedy.” This same structure is present in Christopher Marlowe's Faust, where a man makes a deal with the devil to gain ultimate knowledge for a given amount of time in exchange for his soul. At the end of Marlowe’s play, Dr. Faustus begs god to save him from his fate, but a trap door opens and he falls to hell (oedipal tragedy). In Goethe’s Faust, he is redeemed by the love of a woman (Oedipal Comedy). In Shakespeare's The Tempest, similarly, Ferdinand lands on an island and falls in love with Miranda. Her father, a powerful wizard, demands that Ferdinand perform a small task, to move the forrest. He succeeds in this task and the wizard gives Ferdinand Miranda’s hand in marriage. This is a successful transference of power, thus an Oedipal Comedy.
The Titan is about this same transference of power. The power over knowledge for the future by the mad scientist and the mother who wishes to put her family first. It is an Oedipal comedy, since the transference is in fact successful. Abigail becomes head of the NASA II TITAN program.
This movie was attacked by both critics and audiences. The reason audiences disliked this movie is that most are not taught to understand movies in a literary light. Critics failed their audiences by not understanding the significance of this movie. This is a movie that deserves to be held in the same vein as short stories like The Sandman (E.T.A Hoffmann) Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, A Descent into The Maelstrom (Edgar Allan Poe), The Island of Dr. Moreau and more. It is a movie aware of its literary roots and portrays a unique combination of those elements.
Whenever I discuss a piece of art, I never hope to have people “appreciate” it. Appreciation is an appropriate term for watching a sunset or receiving a sandwich from a friend, it is not appropriate to art. We do not seek to appreciate art; we seek understand it. Since science fiction is such a powerful force in shaping the world in which we currently live, as well as our potential future, it is critical that we not only understand the art itself, but that we acquire the skill of assessing these works of art, contemplating them, and judging them accordingly.
Whether you watch The Titan and enjoy it or dislike it is beside the point. This artwork is well done. Each element is used appropriately to convey its theme. It expresses the underlying philosophical premises quite clearly, and provides one with much food for thought (or perhaps, water for reasoning.) Help me save the artwork that is The Titan, so that we can see more of it. And, in bringing to light the art that best conveys certain environmental ideologies, we can each have a better conversation surrounding this controversial topic.
For those interested in exploring further, I have posted a series of video podcasts on The Titan. You can watch below. Or you can listen wherever you can hear podcasts.
Listen to PART I
Listen to PART II
Listen to PART III
Listen to PART IV