Kaena: The Prophecy Movie Review

This feature-length CGI-animated 3-D film, a first for France, is startling in its design of a vine and root enveloped world whose spaces and shapes are the stuff of ghoulish visions and eerie nightmares. The visual sensibility behind it is truly impressive, but a mucked up narrative makes for a universe of confusion.

Rebellious Kaena (voiced by Kirsten Dunst), a dynamic teen with a body that's as attention-getting as her acrobatic skill, defies the Grand Priest when she discovers that his promises to save Axis, her village, by obtaining life-sustaining sap, are based on lies and deceptions. Imploring the gods is simply not working. The shortage of the vital fluid is caused by The Queen (Anjelica Huston), a telepathic menace whose voice is a weapon of destruction. She's been hoarding the supply to use as a sacrifice to her gods in order to get them on her evil side.

Kaena runs off on a bold mission to find another way to save her enslaved village. Once out in interspatial territory, entwined with wild shoots and columns like so many roots and arteries, she meets the 600-year old, violet-eyed Opaz (voiced by Richard Harris) and his team of flying worms. She also comes under attack from the vicious over-scale Marauder, a ferocious predator standing more than six meters high. The purpose of this semi-blind beast appears to be to prevent the villagers from fleeing beyond the cloud boundaries of their tree city.

The calm, super intelligent Opaz senses Kaena's critical destiny in the salvation of the Selenites and the Vecarians as well as the rescue of his computer, Vecanoi, that The Queen's been trying to finish off. One of his worm attendants, however, is convinced that Kaena is an intruder or, worse, an enemy. This judgmental creature whines and whines about her being a threat but, fortunately for Kaena, the pestering of an insecure worm is ignored. Yes, one finds some simple whimsy in these nether regions.

Unfortunately for the audience, the story narrative assumes a prior understanding of the issues that are at stake, which doesn't assist the development of sympathy for its own creations and the forces that give them meaning. A great struggle between good and evil is sensed, but you're suspended in a web of persistently vague references. Tarik Hamdine is credited as a co-screeplay writer with co-directors Chris Delaporte and Pascal Pinon. This team has a solid fix on their allegory about the evil quest for power--they just don't know how to relate it very well.

As for the ideal demographic for this adventure, my prophecy is that this is the territory of arcade denizens whose receptivity to the thin narrative depth of video game scenarios will have conditioned them to feel at home within a maze of limited coherence. So, send your 15 year old to see it first and then prepare you for it. If you are that 15 year old, then no problem.

Aka Kaena: La Prophétie.

Cast & Crew

Comments

Kaena: The Prophecy Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 2004

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