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


Kaena: The Prophecy Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 2004


More Kirsten Dunst

'The Two Faces of January' Could Be The Finest Patricia Highsmith Adaptation Yet

American-born but Europe-based, the novelist Patricia Highsmith wrote 22 novels and eight collections of short stories, most of which deal with characters who are badly...

The Two Faces of January Movie Review

This sun-drenched thriller is much more than a pretty picture: it's also a slow-burning story about moral compromises that worms its way under the skin....

The Two Faces Of January Trailer

Chester MacFarland is a wealthy businessman whose business ventures are often far from lawful. During a vacation to Athens, Greece with his wife Colette, the...

Met Gala 2014 Fashion: The Good, The Bad, The We're Not Quite Sure [Pictures]

Fashion’s biggest annual event took place last night. The Met Gala 2014 is probably the glitziest event of the year, Oscars included, and gives the...


Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Trailer

The legend of San Diego's Channel 4 news team may have long since dissolved over the years, but anchors Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland...

'Anchorman 2' Sydney Premiere Sees Stars Out For Ron Burgundy [Trailer + Pictures]

Anchorman 2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is almost here and the long-awaited sequel to the oft-quoted movie premiered in Sydney, Australia, to give fans...

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues - International Trailer Trailer

The news used to be a noble profession before the likes of Ron Burgundy with his set of San Diego anchors Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland...

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues - Horsepower Clip Trailer

Ron Burgundy compares a Dodge Durango's horsepower to that of an actually horse before insulting it and challenging it to a staring contest in the...