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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good First Attempt: Gripping, Visually Amazing, and Decent Plot
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...
Published on March 20, 2006 by Jackie Almasy

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Honest Modest Production
You would certainly be forgiven if 2003's Kaena The Prophecy slipped below your computer animated feature film radar. I was particularly perplexed why I hadn't heard of it sooner when I discovered that Sony Pictures (under the Columbia Tristar label) distributed this DVD domestically. The actual film comes to us from a small French firm called Destination Films...
Published on January 24, 2011 by ONENEO


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good First Attempt: Gripping, Visually Amazing, and Decent Plot, March 20, 2006
This review is from: Kaena - The Prophecy (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.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW... a world that most people can't imagine, October 23, 2004
This review is from: Kaena - The Prophecy (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.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic and exciting!, August 28, 2004
This review is from: Kaena - The Prophecy (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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Feast for the Eyes, March 19, 2005
By 
This review is from: Kaena - The Prophecy (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.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare, challenging work of animation! Obviously not American, May 21, 2006
This review is from: Kaena - The Prophecy (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful "Kaena The Prophecy" DVD!, August 15, 2009
This review is from: Kaena - The Prophecy (DVD)
One of my all time favorite anime movies, Kaena The Prophecy is a tale of bravery, adventure, laughter and love. A young girl, Kaena, is determined to save her planet that is quickly dying. She's a tough young woman, determined and eloquent. She is an amazing role model for anime lovers of all ages. I watched it about a year ago for the first time at a friend's home, and am now a very proud and delighted owner. Will watch this movie over and over, plus can hardly wait to share it with my granddaughter, that will be fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Honest Modest Production, January 24, 2011
By 
ONENEO (Buffalo, NY) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Kaena - The Prophecy (DVD)
You would certainly be forgiven if 2003's Kaena The Prophecy slipped below your computer animated feature film radar. I was particularly perplexed why I hadn't heard of it sooner when I discovered that Sony Pictures (under the Columbia Tristar label) distributed this DVD domestically. The actual film comes to us from a small French firm called Destination Films (Directed by: Chris Delaporte & Pascal Pinon) using software that was actually written for video game development.

The film certainly rings of Final Fantasy animated movie inspiration with emphasis on a sort of blend of science fiction and fantasy story elements set in a visually rich world. However, while the Final Fantasy series may be remembered for its stunning lifelike animation, Kaena (rhymes with hyena) does more with its plotting and prose than it draws gasps for visual perfection (presumably due to budget restrictions and again, a software set that was never intended for the demands of feature film rendering).

The story goes something like this: Set in a post-apocalyptic alien world, this tale concerns an adventurous young woman named Kaena (voiced by Kirsten Dunst), a member of a race of humanoids who inhabit an enormous tree called the Axis, rising some hundred miles from the planet surface.

Her people's leader, Opaz (Richard Harris), insists the tribe's reason for being is harvesting sap from the ever-dying/ drying tree as offerings to the deities who provide sustenance. Ever obstinate, Kaena finds herself doubting the teachings of her people in favor of exploring the world around her for answers.

The plot really thickens when she discovers that the very existence of her race is credited to an alien space craft that had crashed on the planet some 600 years prior and the idols her people worship are in fact the native race of the planet (the living tree sap Selenites, led by a vicious queen (Anjelica Huston)).

If this plot summary sounds intriguing to you, rest assured the actual material is quite impressive. It flows along with the type of atmosphere one would expect from a science fiction paperback novel coupled to visuals that could best be described as a cross between the imagination of Jim Henson and HR Giger.

About the weakest element here would have to be the humans themselves. Close-up shots of their skin reveal some passable textures but on the whole they animate clunkily and awkwardly. Bodily movement and hair interaction is reminiscent, of well, a video game cut scene. But that's hardly surprising all factors considering.

I wouldn't go as far as to call the plot structure of Kaena muddled, although it takes a rather non-linear approach to weaving its tale that is commonly found in Japanese anime pieces. The story is all there but a majority of viewers should not expect to simply blank out in front of the screen and have the material force-fed to them. Some thought is necessary, especially early on, to make sense of everything being presented.

The film has a PG-13 rating and for the most part this recommendation is pretty spot on. The title character runs around in a skimpy outfit throughout the first half of the picture and there is a brief segment at the end that depicts her fully nude (but tastefully drowned in bright light). Otherwise there really is no violence/ gore to be concerned with and the dialog is appropriate for all ages.

Perhaps the most impressive segment of the picture is a clash between Kaena and a massive sub-terrenes beast called the Marauder. Flawlessly executed and quite thrilling, it can truly be called the crowning achievement moment of the production.

In all, Kaena the Prophecy is a pretty enjoyable experience. Its modest budget and technical limitations couldn't stop the charm of the storytellers' vision from shining through. It definitely lacks the polish and all-age-friendliness that we typically associate with domestic CG-based features but it makes up for it with a more enriching, adult-friendly experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TRULY GREAT ANIMATED FEATURE DESERVING A MUCH LARGER AUDIENCE, August 29, 2011
By 
Roy Clark "rclarknv" (Edge of Toiyabe Nat'l Forest, NV) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kaena - The Prophecy (DVD)
I bought this wonderful KAENA all-CGI animated feature five years ago. I have seen it again and again. It's the best animated movie I've seen, certainly the most compleat: Concept, plot through sophisticated execution, dramatic characterizations, audio, acting - voices of Richard Harris and Kirsten Dunst notably; perfect english dubbing)intriguing drama; action; bizarre landscape art, music/SFX. I am surprised its DVDs are going for as little as 38 cents (used), $2.98 new in Amazon Marketplace. And just $11.63 on Amazon's Kaena page.

Kaena imagery in concept and execution are astounding and right up to this millennium's standards (produced in 2003). I play KAENA on my BluRay deck and it views as if it's HD. Played on a years-old Pioneer deck it still looks superb.

Oh: Wonderful making-of features too, including a funny interview of the animated Kaena character that's really clever and original; making-of features show very imaginative, very young, very dedicated filmmakers creating, making up techniques as they proceeded.

I looked online for info on writer/director Chris Delaporte; sad to say
this is his only feature. I think that absence is a flaming shame. Wish
there'd be a KAENA II.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done., February 8, 2005
This review is from: Kaena - The Prophecy (DVD)
I must say that Kaena is a well done production. At first I thought it was made over in Japan, but no...I was stunned to find out that it was done in Paris. So, I had to give the creaters respect for putting together such a great film, they're programmers after all...so this was just a new little project for them to learn. At first the cover caught my eye since it had 3D rendered characters so I decided to rent Kaena and see how it was. I noticed only a few minors little messups, but that was only due to the fact that I was watching from my computer screen. So, on TV it's fine, but I enjoyed the plot a lot. And I would also agree that it is more of a PG movie than a PG-13.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic animation adventure, May 31, 2005
By 
R. Dufrene (Luling, LA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kaena - The Prophecy (DVD)
I just watched the movie and it was very good. To think that a group of game developers took on this challenge and succeeded shows the kind of talent we have out there. I was in Bestbuy looking for other movies when I stumbled on this gem. I like CG movies and this was well worth the money I spent on it. I wish more people would put out movies like this. If you like computer animation and fantasy in general you will love this movie.
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Kaena - The Prophecy
Kaena - The Prophecy by Pascal Pinon (DVD - 2004)
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