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Kaena: The Prophecy [Import]
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Kaena-Prophecy ~ Kaena-Prophecy
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The film starts with one of the most arresting and unusual reveals I've seen in film. Flying through an immense fortress of a ship in space, it mysteriously explodes around us ultimately wrecking onto an unknown planet. The action continues, 600 years later. A village of primitive humans is in the jungle, collecting an offering for their gods. Kaena, a rebellious young woman is clearly above her primitive people, and instead proceeds to explore her jungle-above-the-clouds, traipsing through trees and sketching bizarre creatures. If you have ever read Larry Niven's -Integral Treas- or -The Smoke Ring-, then Kaena's world, Axis, will seem pretty familiar to you. She later finds herself in trouble, running from the power-hungry village priest and cast out into the jungle. The "gods'" minions are also in pursuit of her. Eventually, she comes to meet the sole survivor of that ill-fated ship, and they embark on an adventure to obtain an important relic of his people, which also holds the fate of Kaena's and of the (apparently evil) Selenites - those the villagers worship as gods.
Is the plot a little "done"? Perhaps. But, there's a reason certain storylines return - they work. It is well-executed and the story is internally consistent. There are a few technical flaws in the CG rendering. But the visuals and the world are truly beautiful. Some is left unexplained - the different creatures, the Selenites, etc. Other reviewers have criticized this. On the contrary - this mystery shows a depth of universe and a story broader than a single 90 minute feature. Those reviewers have been weaned on easy American film that does all the thinking and imagining for you.
Go and grab this off that bottom shelf in Blockbuster on your next visit. You'll enjoy it!
1) Kaena -is- admittedly rendered by someone who doesn't get out enough.
2) The Amazon review is factually off on a number of points. Google it for a better description.
3) This should not be PG13. I have kids of my own - this should be PG.
Focusing on a scientific plot, the world of Axis is the center for the story. Following the main character Kaena, the story envelops the themes of false truths, standing for what you believe in, and enveloping a free future. Obviously being used many times before, I thought this would be another modern repeat of eastern world views. I was actually very surprised by the story.
Featuring the voices of Kirsten Dunst (Kaena), Keith David (Sap People), Richard Harris (Opaz), and Angelica Huston (The Queen), the voice emsamble delivers it very nicely. The emotions were definitley apparent but I could not help but think the voice acting of Kirsten Dunst was forced. There were times where it seemed she struggled to present Kaena's character and keep her voice in check.
Out of all the ensamble, Keith David's voice stands above all. Being a veteren voice actor from such cartoon series as Gargoyles, Keith David's exquisite voice brings the enemies to life in a fashion hard to master. You cannot help but hate the creatures presented in the movie because his voice acting is so good.
The animation of this movie was absolutley astonishing. It is of no question that a lot of work and time went into making this movie. Someone's heart and soul went into itty bitty details and it works. Graphically, I give it a standing ovation.
All in all, I would recommend this title to DVD/anime collectors. It is a nice addition and it does play the part for occassional viewings. If a sequel does show itself, I will buy it. "Kaena: The Prophecy" delivers a nice popcorn movie feel while somehow leaving you wanting more.
I love good artwork, and here Kaena delivers. This is not the flat, black-outline art of many Japanese animes, rather it has fully 3-dimensional graphics, similar to that seen in Toy Story and Shrek. But forget all the big-eyed Japanese characters and the cutesy stuff Hollywood produces. The French animators have created a visually dense, rich, and vivid tapestry, with all the deep perspective and dramatic chiaroscuro found in the best of modern adult comics. The opening sequence is memorable - you fly like a bird dead on into an oncoming spacecraft that's in the process of breaking apart, travel through the center, then reverse perspective and pass out through the rear just as it blows up.
The plot is relatively simple: On an unknown planet called Axis, a mysterious globe contained in the wreckage of the doomed spacecraft has generated a massive branching organic tangle that extends 100 miles into the sky, almost but not quite touching a sister planet hovering nearby. In the midst of this tangle, just above the clouds, a primitive group of people dwells. Their lives consist of little more than harvesting sap from the great plant network and offering it to their gods, who provide them with sustenance. Kaena (Kirsten Dunst) is a rebellious teenager, who prefers exploring and sketching her surroundings to harvesting sap. Her dreams have convinced her that a better existence can be found beyond the cloud layer below, and she's determined to investigate. Her refusal to accept the status quo and the commandments of the High Priest (Richard Harris) get her into trouble, of course. Cast out from her village, she eventually encounters a last survivor of the spacecraft and embarks on a dangerous quest to find the mysterious orb, which holds the key to the fate of Kaena's people and Axis itself.
The "villains" of the epic are beings that morph from the great pool of sap on Axis. It appears that the very network that gave birth to the humanoids is draining the life-gving fluid from the planet at its roots. For hundreds of years, the Sap Queen (Anjelica Huston) has been trying to destroy the orb, but to no avail. In fact, she's become so obsessed - like Ahab ready to destroy ship and crew in pursuit of Moby Dick - that her vicious attacks on the orb are threatening the existence of her entire race. So there's a little ecology thrown in with the other plot threads of teenage rebellion and a quest for a better existence. I admit it can get a little overwhelming.
I agree with some of the comments that there are a few technical flaws in the CG rendering and that Kirsten Dunce's voiceover is mediocre. And for a teenager, Kaena has a body and a skimpy wardrobe that would better do justice to Barbarella or to Frank Frazetta's buxom women. Nevertheless, the visuals and the world they depict are georgeous. As another reviewer put it, there are scenes that will linger in your memory for days. So, if you're looking for a visual feast and can put up with a plot that gets a little clearer as the story unfolds, maybe you should give Kaena a try.
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