Billed as France’s first full-length 3D animated film, Chris Delaporte’s hoarish Kaena: The Prophecy is a sinister evocation of a gravity-defying planet on the brink of destruction. When a Vecarian ship inexplicably explodes and its remnants land at the base of the wispy-treed planet, two worlds are born: a Selentine city ruled by a really angry alien queen (Angelica Houston) and her chamberlain Voxem (who talks into the breasts of his fellow Selentines), and the rootsy Axis, whose people feed sap to the Selentine monsters at the behest of a leader who trades in Old Testament scare tactics. There isn’t an image in the film that doesn’t feel as if it has been swiped from another sci-fi toon or special effects-laden creation from the last 30 years: the offensively big-busted Kaena (Kiersten Dunst) is a more plastic version of Natalie Portman’s Princess Amidala; the sky that flanks her city (not to mention the general air of mystery) evokes fonder memories of Wolfgang Petersen’s The NeverEnding Story; the struggle between her people and the Giger-like Selentines recalls René Laloux’s Fantastic Planet; and the film’s Darwinian closer works as a lame spoof of Ice Age. Banned from Axis because of her curiosity to learn more about the world above (or is it below?) her, Kaena joins forces with the last living Vecarian, Opaz (Richard Harris), and his fey, fashion-designing Prosthetic worm buddies (who seem to have honed their comedy routines by watching The Lion King) to battle the shrill Selentine queen. However startling Delaporte’s images are, not only do they lack emotion, but a theoretical and philosophical foundation as well. Every movement in the film seems to exist solely to show off the filmmakers’ CGI expertise, and when the plot wheels aren’t turning or a new awe-inspiring corner of the world isn’t being discovered by the perpetually slipping-and-sliding Kaena, Delaporte allows his barely-clothed heroine we-shall-overcome outbursts so corny they threaten to tear the fabric of time and space. “You don’t need wings to be free,” she tells one of the kids in the multi-culti Axis village. No, just big tits.
Kaena: The Prophecy is a terrible film, but this DVD ranks among Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment’s best. The image is razor sharp, boasting luscious colors, deep blacks, and pure whites. Detail is startling, as is the depth of range, and edge enhancement is a non-issue. And from the constant thud of Kaena’s footsteps and fluttering of insect wings to the countless explosions and gooey movements of the underground gods, the audio is equally impressive.
Included here is a watchable making-of featurette tracing the origins of Kaena: The Prophecy from its conception as a video game to its reinvention as a feature-length film, and a virtual interview with Kaena herself. The interview is conducted in French, and though it’s certainly amusing, it’s inclusion only calls attention to the fact that Sony did not choose to include the film’s original French language track on this DVD edition. Rounding out the disc are trailers for Kaena, Cyborg 009, Metropolis, Tokyo Godfathers, Steamboy, Memories, Mirror Mask, and a plug for the upcoming EverQuest II video game.
Like Kaena’s breasts, a video and audio presentation that will keep both eyes and ears popping.