Chris Delaporte's "Kaena: The Prophecy" suffers the fate of other foreign-made animated adventures that have been dubbed in English but provide no additional narration to keep their story lines clear. Visually, the film is stunning, offering a richly imagined, exotic and sinister planet.
As is often the case with such films, the plot at heart is simple. On the planet Axis, which is a veritable floating forest — a murky, sepia-hued 100-mile-high world of roots and branches surrounded by clouds — a village of humanoids who devote their lives to draining the sap from forest tangle to provide nectar for their rulers, the Selenites, presided over by their ruthless queen (effectively voiced by Anjelica Huston). The queen is a striking figure, to say the least: a tall skeleton with myriad tentacles and draped in what looks to be gelatinous honey.
Unfortunately, the sap is running dry, endangering life on Axis, which propels spunky, curvaceous Kaena (perky voice courtesy of Kirsten Dunst) on a quest to save her people. She encounters Opaz (an eloquent Richard Harris), an old man, the last surviving Vecarian, an extraterrestial race whose enormous intergalactic vessel crashed on the planet 600 years earlier. With the aid of the Prosthetics, worm-like creatures with an exoskeleton who can also fly, Opaz strives to repair the vessel and return to his home planet. The wise and humane Opaz is taken with the courageous Kaena, but as it turns out their goals ultimately conflict: Should Opaz succeed in getting his vessel off the ground, Axis will apparently disintegrate. There are moments in "Kaena" that are absorbing, but too much of the time it simply becomes tedious.
MPAA rating: PG-13 for sexuality and some frightening images
Times guidelines: Too intense for younger children
Anjelica Huston...Queen of the Selenites
Greg Proops...Gomi, the Prosthetic
Michael McShane...Azhod, Kaena's boyfriend
A Samuel Goldwyn Films release of a Destination Films presentation of a Xilam Films production in association with StudioCanal & the TVA Group Inc. Director Chris Delaporte. Co-director Pascal Pinon. Producer Denis Friedman. Executive producer Marc du Pontavice. Screenplay Chris Delaporte, Tarik Hamdine; based on an original idea by Patrick Daher and Delaporte. Dialogue by Chris Delaporte, Tarik Hamdine and Benjamin Legrand. Graphic designers Delaporte, Hamdine and Daher. Animation directors Patrick Bonneau, Patrick Daher, Phillip Giles. Visual effects supervisors Benoist Carpentier, David Danesi. Editor Bénédicte Brunet. Music Farid Russlan.
Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes.
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