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Kaena: The Prophecy [Import]


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Kaena-Prophecy ~ Kaena-Prophecy

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Amazon.com: 56 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Good First Attempt: Gripping, Visually Amazing, and Decent Plot March 20 2006
By Jackie Almasy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Being the very first French CGI movie I have ever seen, I bought it knowing I should not have any expectations and to keep my mind open. After watching the movie, I felt refreshed and bored at the same time.

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.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
WOW... a world that most people can't imagine Oct. 23 2004
By Ganesh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is one of the most interesting animated movies I've seen in 2004 (I bought it in Oct) and although it was released in 2002 I must say that I'm very very impressed with the work this French studio in Paris did. The story line is very well writen and the animation is as impressive as the one from Final Fantasy.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Hypnotic and exciting! Aug. 28 2004
By D. Massey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Wal-Mart must have made a mistake on street date because I bought this on August 25th, oh well. I'm a big fan of CGI animation and this one delivers. I mean the textures of some of the characters are unreal it's like you can reach out and feel them. A very cool story and the voice talent was quite good. The only problem I found was some of the animation has slowdown almost like when playing a video game and there is too much going on on the screen. I highly reccomend it if you are a Sci-fi fan who likes animation.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Feast for the Eyes March 19 2005
By MaineGirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This visually stunning sci-fi feature was produced in Paris by a team of game-developers, which probably explains the mixed reviews: Almost everone praises the realistic artwork, but many complain about character and plot, describing the latter as at best unimaginative and at worst confusing and dopey. If you want a clear, linear storyline with all the details neatly spelled out, this is not the movie for you. But if you're looking for sophisticated visuals and are willing to use your imagination to fill in some storyline gaps, I think you'll enjoy Kaena. I know I did.

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.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A rare, challenging work of animation! Obviously not American May 21 2006
By Brian T - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Scepticism and religion collide head-on in this fantastic, perceptive computer-animated fantasy, a France-Canada co-production.

Originally shown in France in 3-D (and apparently initiated as a video game), the film pulls no punches in advocating science and reason over empty spiritualism in an age of unquestioning belief in things that cannot be proven or seen. It's staggering that such an approach can be taken in an animated feature aimed as much at young kids as it is at adults. One imagines such a film could only be made in a country that knows what sacrifices must be made in order to achieve any kind of true enlightenment. It's doubtful any American animators could have produced a project so willing to confront very importtant issues in a fantasy milieu.

The film is set in an otherworldly forest structure called Axis in which a human tribe virtually lives to harvest the sap of the trees to appease their Gods. Only one, an adventurous 17-year-old girl named Kaena (voiced by Kirsten Dunst/Cecile De France), dares to defy ancestral tradition (which is largely comprised of work and worship) to seek the truth when the gods declare their anger at the decreasing returns of the harvest and start threatening destruction. She knows something's not right, and eventually finds evidence (with the help of some creepy-cute evolved worms) that these Gods are nothing more than a malevolent but superior liquid race called Selenites (who themselves are being used by an even higher power), yet the tribal High Priest, who has unwittingly turned everyone into peons working for this much more sinister force, believes that every ill that befalls the tribe is a punishment from the gods and that only prayer will provided the answers.

There's a crucial scene about 46 minutes into the film where the high priest is seen despairing for answers (which, of course, are not forthcoming, and never have been) and then, with little sense of responsibility, turns around and lies to a questioning villager that God has given him good news: they've passed the final test in a series and are now free to join their maker in a mindless group suicide. Thus, Kaena's struggle to learn the truth - and what lies beyond the clouds that surround Axis - suddenly has a deadline if she's to save her people from literally destroying themselves over their beliefs.

The CG design work in this film is stunning and quite unlike anything undertaken in either the U.S. or Asia to date, although FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN could be considered a close artistic cousin; the visual and aural effect is quite enveloping within the first few minutes. The human characters are slightly exaggerated (along the lines of, say, King Farquahd (?) in Shrek, but far less intentionally comical) and the lead character exudes a vibrant sexuality (check out that chamois bikini get-up on the package) unseen in American animated characters beyond the grotesque amazonian vixens of the HEAVY METAL films. It should come as no surprise that the film lists legendary comic book writer Alexandro Jodorowski as a consultant (if I recall correctly).

The production design, from the lush brown palatte of Axis to the slick, blue-black interiors of Vechanoy, the sentient spaceship that once housed the forerunners of the human tribesmen, is stunningly "realistic" and must have been a pip in 3-D.

Despite the elaborate trappings (and an occasionally tricky plot structure), at its core KAENA: THE PROPHECY is rather daring indictment of organized religion and its continued inability to definitively answer the Really Big Questions, as well as mankind's continued tendency to need answers to such quandaries (hey, it's all in the film, folks!). It's a colourful reminder that we're often better off thinking for ourselves. As such, fundamentalists might want to consider keeping this away from their young ones, who might clamor for it at the local Best Buy, but animation fans and freethinkers will find much to absorb.


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