Kaena: The Prophecy

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Brian Thibodeau, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Messages:
    992
    Likes Received:
    0
    Region 1
    Format: Animated, Color, Closed-captioned
    Aspect Ratio(s): 1.85:1
    Audio Encoding: Dolby Digital 5.1
    Rated PG-13
    Columbia Tristar Home Video
    DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004
    91 minutes

    DVD Features
    •* Making of featurette
    •* Virtual Interview with Kaena
    •* Bonus Trailers

    Directors: Chris Delaporte,*Pascal Pinon
    Voices: (French version): Cecile De France, Michel Lonsdale, Victoria Abril, Jean Plat.
    Voices: (English version): Kirsten Dunst, Richard Harris, Angelica Huston, Gregg Proops, Keith David, Michael McShane.

    Scepticism and religion collide head-on in this fantastic, perceptive computer-animated fantasy, a France-Canada co-production. This isn't a formal review so much as a heads-up that this intriguing movie is finally available in North America. I've had the R2 disc for ages now and was wondering when, indeed IF, such a film would get released here. Well it has, albeit with an not-unexpected dearth of fanfare.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...v=glance&s=dvd

    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 an 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.

    Link to the French DVD, which also has the English 5.1 track:
    http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASI...722123-7420221

    And a link to Columbia Tri-Star's site for the film, which includes a small gallery:
    http://www.sonypictures.com/homevide...ecy/index.html
     
  2. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I wouldn't go that far. If the elder hadn't been lying, but was still a man of honest but misguided faith, that would be a more scathing indictment, but I must admit I hadn't really thought of that angle.

    I'll have to pick this up; even if I found it a very flawed movie, it has a few sequences that are amoung the most beautiful I've seen in a movie.
     
  3. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    1,294
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanx for the info, I'll buy this unseen. Loved final fantasy (and fantasy in general), looks like this will be right up my alley. [​IMG]
     
  4. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,657
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Brian!
    I'd been curious about this title, now I'll have to check it out!
     
  5. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2000
    Messages:
    4,118
    Likes Received:
    0
    I didn't realise it was a French film. I had just assumed from the visual style that it was from somewhere in asia.

    Considering that commercials have been running a lot on CN, I'll probably rent it at some point...

    Jason
     
  6. Steve Bjorg

    Steve Bjorg Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Netflix finally delivered this flick on my doorsteps. The rendering quality is far below Final Fantasy, but the story is equally imaginative. While, I thought the movie itself was at best C grade, the opening scene, and the BASS of the opening scene definitively make this movie worthy of a honorable mention.

    If you pride yourself in having the loudest, badest bass setup in your neighborhood, you simply MUST give the opening scene a spin. I'm thinking about buying this DVD just for that scene! And I'm living in an apartment!!!
     
  7. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Messages:
    1,435
    Likes Received:
    1
    I enjoyed KAENA- Surprising to find out the movie was originally shown in 3-D.



    My DVD review is here.
     
  8. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2000
    Messages:
    6,280
    Likes Received:
    416
    I saw this movie on the rental shelves for quite some time but kept passing it by. i finally picked it up and watched it last night. The film was visually imaginative but it did suffer from some pacing problems. The animation quality was generally good but there were some areas where the quality decreased. The story was somewhat pedestrian; however, at least it was a reasonably intelligent piece of science fantasy unlike the foul, putrid shit that was CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK.

    It is amazing how films like this get almost no publicity or release while unadulterated f'ing crap like CHONICLES OF RIDDICK get huge marketing pushes and huge theatrical releases.

    People on this continent just cannot accept that animation can be used for more than cute comedies. They are just unable to accept an animated movie that has a serious story.

    One thing I really didn't like on the DVD for this film was the lack of english subtitles. I listened to part of the French track which I believe was the original language track and I far preferred the french voice work; however, the lack of a subtitle option forced a person to listen to the english track. They also did not provide english subs for the "interview" and "making of" pieces which I think is absolute B.S.

    It's odd but in some ways I was more impressed with the short "interview" with the main "star" than with the movie itself. The animation and voice work in the interview segment created a very real feel to the character of Kaena.











    i
     
  9. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 1999
    Messages:
    1,633
    Likes Received:
    0
    Frankly, I think calling this story better than Riddick is overstating things. I thought Kaena's plot was total crap, recycled from countless other films and totally incomprehensible (they never even explain the villain's motive or anything, like, hey say the people are using up all the sap, yet they give all the sap back as offering anyway, so... huh?), and the characters were all pretty lame.

    Riddick was at least slightly original, if totally bizarre and overblown. I didn't like that either, but it never aggravated me like Kaena did.
     
  10. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2000
    Messages:
    6,280
    Likes Received:
    416


    Different strokes for different folks. I felt just the opposite. The story wasn't particulary original and the motive wasn't spelled out but I was able to figure out what the motive was.

    CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK was hardly original. Production values were high but I think the story stunk a lot worse than this movie. For example, in RIDDICK there was a long drawn out scene where the "heroes" have to outrace Crematoria's sunrise. Part of the scene clearly shows why they have to stay ahead of the sunrise by showing how one of the "heroes" is instantly cremated by the rising sun; however, apparently they have special water that protects you from blast furnace heat, since Riddick merely has to pour two small bottles of water over his head and VOILA, suddenly he can swing out into direct sunlight and rescue a comrade and only steam slightly, instead of being parboiled like a lobster.

    Later on, he repeats the feat when he is once again exposed to sunlight. This time he starts to steam but apparently no longer requires to even be protected by the magic water; his skin apparently evolves quick enough to withstand enormous heat. Stuff like this makes the film so stupid that nothing can save it. And don't even get me started on the moronic ending. It is too bad that so much good special effects work was wasted in the service of a story that insults the word crap.

    I don't as a rule get mad at movies but as an SF fan I wasn't just aggravated by CoR.....I was royally pissed off.
     
  11. Jeff>K>B

    Jeff>K>B Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey Edwin, since you rented this in BC, I'd like to know if this was the 5.1 surround version, or just a stereo version like I received from Future Shop last year (and sent back without opening it). Which of these two covers did it have?

    amazon.ca or Future Shop (which shows 5.1 on their website but not on the box I received).
     
  12. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2000
    Messages:
    6,280
    Likes Received:
    416
    The version I rented had the cover shown on the Future Shop site. It was 2.0 stereo only and had French and English tracks, but it did not have a subtitle track for the French soundtrack. The disc had two bonuses: a making of featurette and a "mock" interview with the main character. The "making of featurette" was French only and the interview was English subbed. I had originally posted that the interview was not subbed which was incorrect.

    The import version is showing only an English soundtrack. Now I am wondering if the original soundtrack was English. I assumed that the OST was French since the film was a France-Canada co-production.
     
  13. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2000
    Messages:
    4,118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Question: What does Riddick have to do with this movie?

    Please people, keep discussion to the film at hand, and not compare it to some totally unrelated film. It is rather pointless.

    Jason
     
  14. Jeff>K>B

    Jeff>K>B Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Edwin. Kind of lame that for a France-Canada co-production, we end up without the full surround version, unless you order the import.
     
  15. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Messages:
    1,435
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes, the SPHE release of this movie in the USA does lack a French track and subtitle tracks for other languages (only a English subtitle track for the movie).
     

Share This Page