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  • Presented as the first full-length 3D-generated animated movie from France, Kaena was first an idea for a video game that was expanded into a `real' movie. A fantasy/sci-fi tale, it takes place on of flying forest made of gigantic vines inhabited by a tribe of humans, who, in order to appease their gods, must harvest the sap of the vines. Trouble is, the harvest is no longer what it was and the gods are somewhat angry. A young woman, Kaena, who looks like a cross between Lara Croft and Princess Mononoke, understands that the gods are up to no good, and fights them with the help of unexpected allies and funny sidekicks. The plot follows the well-used pattern where a young misfit must save the world from dark forces, battle monsters and unearth world-shattering secrets, and the script borrows from many previous ones (fans of French sci-fi comics will recognise bits of the `Adventures of Alef-Thau', written in the 80s by Alexandro Jodorowski, who is also credited on Kaena). The script is also certainly quite European in spirit, with more overt sexuality and a indictment of religion probably unimaginable in a mainstream US-made cartoon.

    While a little lacking in plot, Kaena mostly succeeds as pure eye-candy. Since the representation of realistic humans is still out of reach for computer graphics (Cf. the mixed results in Final Fantasy), the authors have chosen a half-comic-book style (like in Ice Age) which is quite pleasant, at least if you like people with really big eyes. The movie creatures are quite nice, particularly the talkative worms with their tired faces and their walking and flying devices. But it's the sets which are the most beautiful, with a particular attention to lighting, colouring and texturing: many scenes are shot in a golden light, slightly overexposed with lens flares and other atmospheric effects. The mixture of quasi-photorealism and more traditional CG style works quite well. The vine forest, the village and the spaceship scenes are exceptionally rendered, and among the most beautiful seen in a CG-rendered movie so far. The world of the gods, by contrast, has a dark, liquid and sticky feel (the gods themselves are liquid, gigeresque creatures) with bright shining reflections, and is truly original. Sometimes, there's a little too much of everything, as if the movie was a demo for CG effects (hair, particle systems, volumetrics.), not unlike the first Technicolor movies where everything had to be brightly coloured. But that doesn't detract from the WOW! Factor of the movie.

    All in all, Kaena is a very recommendable movie, and one can hope that the authors will follow with a bolder script.
  • Have you ever played a game on the PS2, PC or XBOX and just drooled over the cut-scenes, those small cinematic snippets shown between levels? This entire movie, scene after scene, *is just like that*. And I'll tell you why: when it was originally conceived by the director and writer, that is precisely what they had intended to do... they wanted to create a game.

    Looking at the "Special Features" and the Making-Of featurette on the DVD before watching the movie, I learned quite a lot about why and how it was made. The majority of the CG artists who worked on this film were, at first, all novices, most of whom had some minor experience in doing CG game work. When they first started on "Kaena", the 3D software darling of Hollywood, Maya, hadn't even come out on the market. These CGI animators were all using, basically, a freeware 3D modeling/animation suite. They worked on a shoestring budget, I might add, which is one of the reasons why all of their animators were so inexperienced and were learning as they went along.

    Their animation/CG crew began as a five-man team and eventually grew to 50 persons at any given time. At a few key points they had up to 100 people working on the entire project, but most of the time they had a fairly core group of people all working in the same office building. Looking at the scenes individually, I can definitely see where they gave certain scenes to certain teams- as a 3D artist myself, I've gotten quite adept at picking out different styles and techniques used. MOST of the biggest differences between the scenes can be found in the lighting setups, which in some spots are breath-takingly exquisite and at other times amateurish at best.

    Due to the original intention for this project to be a video game rather than a feature-length film, I can totally understand why the storyline would have some plot holes here and there- I expect that those gaps would have been filled in during gameplay. So taking that into account, I can honestly say that this film has a pretty solid storyline and some fairly well fleshed-out characters, all things considered. It is also good to keep in mind that this story wasn't written by "professional" sci-fi writers- it was written, in part, by the director who hadn't done anything like this before in his life.

    Looking at the entire project with the trained eye of someone who's been involved with the business for a couple years now, I think that "Kaena" is not only a superb film, but it is a testament to what is possible when enough people throw themselves into a project like this. No major studio backing, no major software endorsement, no real experience in this field whatsoever... it's amazing that it even got rendered, let alone having been edited, scored, printed and distributed worldwide.

    This movie is similar to "Final Fantasy" only in the sense that it was done completely with CGI. In every other way, however, this one stands alone and it SHOULD be given the proper credit that is due.
  • This movie reminded me, more than anything else, of "Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within." I think that critics of movies like these sometimes criticize them for being A: animated, and B: science fiction. That's sort of like criticizing "Terminator" or "Lord of the Rings" because, as one reviewer wrote: "that could never happen." Well, yeah. I mean, isn't that the point, to create something that can only exist in the imagination? I have a hard time seeing the relevance of comparing "Kaena" even to other animated features like "Toy Story" or "Ice Age." SciFi is a genre unto itself and needs to be judged on its own terms. "Kaena" is a fully-realized fantasy. It has a comprehensive story, background and setting. The voice-over narration (English) is particularly good, especially Kirsten Dunst in the title role. The only real criticism I have is that the quality of the animation is uneven, ranging between mid-90's video game at one extreme and almost breathtaking at the other. The choice of a very muted color palate for most of the scenes doesn't quite make up in atmosphere for what it loses in vibrancy and realism. Overall, I give "Kaena" an 8 based on the strength of its story and characters.
  • OK, let's get the bad news out of the way right now. The plot is weak. There are some gaping silly holes in the story, numerous unexplained critter origins, shaky science, and a few threads that don't resolve at all. Automatic scoring deductions, across the board.

    So what's good about the movie? First, the graphics. This is the natural evolution of French animation, of which there isn't nearly enough. Rene' Laloux's "Fantastic Planet" is one of the all-time animated psychotropic classics, and there is much in this film that pays homage to it: the visuals of the Axis "forest", the xenomorphic life forms, the conflict between master and slave races, etcetera. At the same time, the animation technique is the sort of hyper-real CGI used in Final Fantasy/Spirits Within, where each hair follicle is individually rendered. Like these two sibling films, Kaena abounds with brilliant bong hit graphics and mind-bending action sequences.

    One common pitfall for animated features, particularly those of foreign origin, is the voice acting. To its immense credit, Kaena has a fairly decent dub, and I felt none of the accustomed grumpiness that comes with de-synced speech for any of the characters. The main characters were all well voiced. The IMDb cast list doesn't appear to mention all the voice actors, and I'm pretty sure the little kid was voiced by the same person who plays Shippo on Inuyasha (Jillian Michaels?). Sounds that way, at least.

    However, while the voice acting is fine, the same cannot be said for the dialog. Long in exposition and short in character development, I get the feeling that this was an editor's nightmare. The balance between ensuring that people understand events and helping them care about the consequences of those events can be a difficult one to achieve. This has been the bane of science fiction films since the genre's inception. Unfortunately, dialog in Kaena finds a way to fail on both sides of the equation -- albeit at different times.

    Without revealing any more details, I will say this much. The story tries to operate on a grand scale, but is undercut by the uneven development, jerky scene transitions, mediocre dialog, and the aforementioned plot-holes.

    This is a film to be enjoyed as a raw sensory experience, not as a total cinematic product. It's not going to end up on any top-20-all-time lists and its pretensions to epic film status are undercut by its many weaknesses.

    The overall effect, however, is extraordinary; it merits viewing as an exploration of what can now be accomplished with CGI. I enjoyed it immensely from this perspective, to the point where I was quite distracted from the numerous shortcomings.
  • Kaena has been produced both by Canadians and French so to those who might be wondering, Canada being a bilingual country, this film has been made both for English and French audiences from the start. Kaena is a lovely orphan who lives on her own. People from her village toil incessantly in a desperate attempt to satisfy their God's thirst for a certain material, which they're having more and more trouble to produce. Kaena being somewhat on the edge of that society, having no authority above her is the only one who is not working and therefore she can afford to take some time to think. Thinkings gets her to doubt what she has been taught about Gods and fearing for her people's safety she sets out to discover the depths of the threat that these Gods have been enslaving her people with. This film is a journey to the truth and a quest for freedom. Will Kaena find what she seeks? Will her people be saved from the wrath of the Gods? If you wanna know just go and watch it because despite what some may think of the outfits of Kaena or of the designs, all you will see is a great show of colors and of emotions. Those who have been seeking humour in that film have been misled because this film was intended to bring the viewers to a state of emotion and to reflect upon some struggles humanity still has to face. Far from being a movie for the kids, it is suitable for teenagers, young adults and older viewers alike. I have seen it in French but since i'm a native speaker it was no problem for me but the choice is up to you.
  • Kaena is a fun fantasy ride through gorgeous cgi animation

    The movie takes place in a planet (or plant i should say) called Axis. The people of Axis live their lives according to the "Gods". The movie centers around a teenage outcast named Kaena. Kaena is an explorer and dreamer who believes greater things exist outside the small land of Axis. As the resources of the land start to drain out, the Gods become angrier and more demanding. Kaena, doubting the existence of the Gods, is sent away. On her journey, she searches for the answers she's always dreamed of. Maybe there is life out there in the "great oblivion"...

    I'm really not sure why this movie received such bad reviews. It may not be the most complex story in the world, but it's still enough to capture the viewer's interest. It also has surprising good voice acting performed by Kirsten Dunst (who voices Kaena) and the late Richard Hariss. Even Greg Proops makes a decent comedic performance as a worm. Not to mention, the animation is spectacular, especially the scenery. Overall, I really enjoyed this movie.

    Recommend if: *you enjoy anime/animation *you like fantasy/science fiction

    Avoid if: *you have younger children (they may find some of the creatures scary)
  • I was fascinated by the story, the characters and the CGI was well done, but it lost 2 points from being a 10 because, while very, very good, the CGI was very brown, muted and had an almost sepia quality to it, additionally, a lot of the action is in heavily shaded locations. This made some of the scenes very hard to make out, and when there was quick action on the screen, it turned into a muddy blur.

    Add to this the liquid quality of a lot of the scenes and a kind of HR Giger look of the sap aliens, and you get some scenes that, because of the difficulty, distract from the over-all enjoyment. You tend to dwell on the previous scene, trying to understand what you just saw and heard, and miss some of the present action.

    I thought the voice acting was superb. The wonderful Richard Harris, in one of his final roles, was great as usual. Kirsten Dunst was very good also, and added a lot of energy to the role. The worms and other "comedy relief" characters were fine.

    Over all an intriguing fantasy, with above average voice acting, and very well done graphics, even if sporadic at times. I would have preferred a tad more lighting, and perhaps a splash of colour now and then. Worth watching in any regard.
  • Short and sweet storyline:- Set in another "world", Kaena is the rebellious girl of her tribe.She finds herself beckoned to save her people and world, with the help of some new "friends".

    This is the best anime using CGI since Final Fantasy and is just as good.Certainly outshines The Animatrix, which is also a favourite of mine.

    Don't let other peoples bad reviews put you off-take a gamble, rent the DVD(video doesn't do it justice) and make your own mind up. I saw this from a downloaded, poor quality copy that was passed on to me.I liked it so much that I went and bought the widescreen DVD the next day.

    I confess to being a little bemused at the PG13 rating, as my two youngest daughters(7 and 10 years old) loved it and will watch it again.The only thing I can think of is a chase scene but even that was not scary to them.They have seen worse on Itchy and Scratchy!! It's a must see for anime/fantasy fans of all ages.

    10/10 every time from me !!
  • With this movie Chris and Tarik create a world in the best tradition of some of the European comic book scene. I was not suprised to see one of my favourite comic storytellers, Alexandro Jodorowsky, also listed in the credits. Its look and feel also reminded me of some classic pc fantasy adventure games, and it seems to have had plenty of influences from other sci-fi movies.

    The rendered images have a beautiful painterly look, achieved with fantastic lighting, special effects and colouring. Somehow they have managed to get away from the crisp clean CGI look to create an organic looking world with a dark atmosphere. And its pretty amazing they achieved all this using only commercially available software. To go along-side the visuals is a great music score by Farid Russlan.

    The movie is not your typical mainstream cartoon. It is a fantastical adventure, and they have really used the 3d medium to create their own unique style. It is an interesting story of differing and clashing cultures,environments, and the relationships between those cultures. But I think the writers could have taken the script a little bit further.

    Interestingly in the end you see that there are no real goodies and baddies, just different species trying to survive. You also see a nice alternative for the origin of the human species, and the writers have left themselves room for a sequel.

    So to sum up, it is a thoroughly enjoyable movie, and one that shows that a smaller studio can compete with the bigger US ones, and at the same time create a totally novel experience that is breathtaking to watch.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I am be a seeker of symbolism even in a CG movie but I really enjoyed the movie.

    I found the closed trusting nature of the people to be very similar to many of the hyper Christian and other religious comunities over the world. They are to scared to think for themselves and move into the real light (in contrast to that offered by the GODS and the priest) As in the real world, when someone of the group does break away, find the real light and come back to 'save' them, the antagonism found in the movie is very similar to the real world.

    Consider the fact that I am gay, I should have surely noticed the TOO MUCH FEMALE CROTCH thing if it was there but I did not. I actually found her to be quite butch and in style with timbres style build. Nothing overtly sexual about that.

    As a matter of fact, quite a few of these lunatics that have commented on this movie and who went on ranting about the sex thing should consider seeing a therapist.
  • The most striking aspect of "Kaena: The Prophecy" were the CG visuals. If you enjoy that type of presentation and want to spend some time with this movie, you'll probably enjoy it -- otherwise, if that's not your cup of tea, you may want to see something else.

    The characters are partially developed, so we know who they are, and when conflict occurs, we care somewhat about the outcome. However, the story was a definite drag on the movie. Perhaps it's my own pet peeves about names of things and people that are simply slung into the middle of a sequence, with no real explanation or background to accompany it. I know I prefer to understand what the characters are talking about, rather than have a new name dropped in "hey, look at this cool name for a person/character/device/planet I thought up." I don't mind if a character doesn't understand everything that's going on -- but I at least like to have a clue about what they're talking about.

    That, plus the very stylized, heavy cgi presentation will probably limits the films wider appeal. Shots of flowing liquid and aspects of things that are difficult to tell whether they are liquid or solid are interesting up to a point -- but I know I have a low threshold for them.

    Kirsten Dunst did a good job, since although I knew she did the voice of Kaena, it didn't make me think of her, as some voice actors do. The late Richard Harris' work was fine, but his voice was so distinctive I did think of him rather than the character at times. Much of the deficiencies in the writing are in his character's lines (since his character understands more).

    Also for a movie that added "The Prophecy" to its title -- I expected more of a formal prophecy in the storyline.

    So, overall, not terrible. CG-lovers will like it of course, but I wouldn't see people going in droves to see it.
  • KAENA isn't bad, but it is just not what is considered "ground-breaking," and there are many who claim it is. It's impressive considering that it was done on a low budget and dreampt up by people who at the beginning of the project had very little knowledge of film-making. KAENA is a great example of how a little resourcefulness can pull the rabbit out of the hat, but overall it certainly is not a revolution in CGI animation.

    This is why it is not a CGI revolution: -Sometimes they had to cut corners by reducing the frame rate to 12 FPS. Ugh. I would've just cut the shots out altogether.

    -The character models often did not deform right. For example, if a human model lowered his arm, the skin would fold like clothing. Sometimes this would lead to noticeable distortions in the characters. Maybe they didn't care too much for painting skin weights properly.

    -The animation was very linear in some places. Objects and characters would basically switch between poses one at a time, a problem especially noticeable when characters are talking. You can almost see the animators pulling the sliders for their blend shapes! Here's an "O", here's an "M"...

    -Weight and inertia problems. Often people and objects did not move as they should under certain stress conditions. For example, Kaena landing on the floor after a very long jump. Not enough emphasis was put into the animation to make her landing credible. Or, when a huge sap monster stomps around, the camera shakes, but it does not seem as though the monster has as much mass as the screen area he occupies suggests. This happens so often, it's hard to buy into most of the character movements throughout the film.

    -The texturing was really monotonous. Most of the humans were very smooth-skinned, the wood texture for the roots was used too much (why couldn't they have something grow ON the roots? Or at least do something to give the surfaces more detail...it's almost as if they made a single NURBS surface for the floor in some shots), and sometimes, bump mapping was used very little on surfaces that were immediately noticeable to the viewer. It serves for some really dull and monochrome backgrounds.

    -Design inconsistency. This is a huge problem. Some humans looked more proportionately accurate than others, for example, Kaena had a somewhat realistic human body design, and others would be drawn more distorted, like cartoons. In addition, the sap monsters have really detailed models and effects, where many human characters were smooth or cartoon-like. The animation was also inconsistent this way-- sometimes Kaena would have more expression in her face than her body, and sometimes it'd be the opposite. It's almost as if, wow, many different artists worked on this film (but, we aren't supposed to know that, right?).

    -Motion blur. Please, if you aren't going to use deformations, turn up the motion blur. It seems as if the animation is STROBING. It would really help in those low frame rate shots.

    But... there are some good things about the art of Kaena. The fluid effects were nicely done (although they did not often interact well with other objects), the lighting was well done, in somewhat of a chiaroscuro fashion, and some of the models are convincing; mainly the sap monsters because of their amount of detail. Bravo in these respects.

    On the whole, I'd give the film a 6. It is impressive that so much was created with so little (they should get some sort of award for their resourcefulness, actually), but in the end, it doesn't come close to rivaling the big-wigs of America and Japan, and it's astonishing that people continue to boast otherwise about this film.
  • Gil5556 June 2006
    The graphics are the most Outstanding I have ever seen. What an excellent work of Art! Even though I started watching it almost 20 minutes after it had begun, it kept me interested. This is the kind of excellence I would like to see more often. This Piece of Art has heart. Not bad, for a movie I missed the entire beginning of. I believe anyone would really enjoy this movie. The movement of color in this movie is breathtaking, and the quick movements of the characters keeps you on your toes. The fun and funny characters make it a joy to watch. I'm quite surprised that this was not seen more in the United States. It's a winner all the way.
  • YourOldBuddy16 January 2004
    Best CGI film I have seen. Best looking as well.

    The story is simple but intricate. Its full of interesting characters and the voiceover is good enough.

    Very good film.
  • Kaena wants more than her village life which centers around collecting sap from the tree Axis for their gods. The village elder sees the rebellious girl as a threat as the god demands more sap from the dying tree. She explores and encounters alien Opaz who reveals he is the sole survivor that crashed on her planet. The native Selenites killed his people and stolen their technology. The ship's core Vecanoi survived the crash and the Axis tree grows from it into space. Kaena has to retrieve the core from the base of Axis.

    This is an exercise in CG animation with a clunky story that needs too much exposition. It has one character in Kaena and the rest are forgettable. The CG is functional video game graphics from the era. It's an interesting world for a video game but needs much more work to make it a good story.
  • That was the caption in the cable guide that got my attention. OK, so I'm a frustrated artist who can really appreciate the end result of CGI work. And it keeps getting better and better with each new release. I just caught this one on cable and missed it at the "one theater" that IMDb says it was shown at. Sure, the storyline has gaps and the characters could use more development but the artwork is state of the art and phenomenal. From an artist's point of view, drawing 16 frames per second to simulate motion has always been an overwhelming task but not with computers. It still takes an army of programmers but what they're doing today was impossible just a short time ago. The freedom of expression as evidenced by this work is truly unlimited. Every scene had me in awe. The delicate motion of bodies and fluids was mesmerizing. Now if they can only get people to look like real people instead of textured geometric shapes. One can only dream.
  • Story did nothing for me. Have seen the same story many times, although the religious imagery was very interesting. When she is reborn and leads her tribe to the promised land, we see many echoes of Christianity. In a sense, the movie gives its own answer of where we came from. At the end, it is Moses leading them through the sea. But what is the deal with the long-toothed rat running around before they descend into the ocean? Gave me a flash of Ice Age and the rodent with his nut. At times, this movie is very sensual in a strange way. When the monsters mate, we have liquid erotica. Overall, an interesting visual mix of the ugly and the erotic.

    And Kaena is HOT!
  • ieatmold5 October 2004
    i thought it was really a pretty good movie. Don't expect the childish humor you might find in shrek or sharks tale. Though it sounds funny to say this about a cg film with the main character being a large chested tomb raider figure, i thought the movie actually had something deeper to say. It is modern mythology that shows a representation of conflict in society through our religion and trying to understand and cope with the world around us...she tries to find real meaning and continues throughout the film searching for a better way of life and peace...in any case worth watching. I don't know what else to say about it... they want me to write at least ten lines...thats about it...yeah
  • I had seen (via CN/AS) ads for the DVD and was very curious. I am an avid fan of anime from anywhere and anyone. The delivery and technique that is put into them is just beyond words.

    Very, very good. The fluid like structure of the movie was about the hardest part for me. I couldn't define what began and what ended at some points. On the overall, it was a solid story with a woman taking the weight of her people's survival on her tiny shoulders. HURRAY!!!!

    I do hope there is a prequel as well to get more definition of who's who. David Keith has always been a STRONG animation voice for me and he does well with this one. I recognized him voice the instance he spoke. Although I am not a 'gamer' and have no reference to 'copy-cat'/'look-a-like' comments here, I scream for utmost ORIGINALITY. This 90+ min is just that, creatively original. Keep up the most excellent work Chris Delaporte and Crew. Well done, well done!!
  • The last comment was just really overcritical and showed a level of condescending pomposity that I'm not too happy with. When it comes to CG movies, one has to not hold the bar so high.

    Saying that she looks like Lara Croft seems like quite a stretch. That was said, just because that is one of the few CG characters in video games that the mainstream identifies with. I'm sorry, but Kaena doesn't look like a whore with a ponytail and Uzis.

    In my opinion, it doesn't look anything like Ice Age or Toy Story. It was created by a French company and has little resemblance to anything from Pixar or Blue Sky studios. Already, the bar was set to low by the last person to comment.

    I'd prefer if the voice action was done by unknowns or lesser known actors. To be honest, if I saw the original version, I'd probably like it better.

    This is a rare movie to originate from Europe and come to the US. A lot of effort was put into it and the idea that it is just another look alike "animated" movie, than Pixar and other American studios, as well as the European and Asian companies, have wasted their time.
  • This is really something, lots of soul and typically french. Scenes and surroundings in the movie will never be produced by USA, cause they don't have it. The story could have been a little better at the ending about the Gods (What happens to them) even though they are very interesting.

    I would really like to see a prequel to this. How it all started.

    The colors and characters are unique (maybe not kaena, but she had to look human and be sexy so no matter what u would be able to compare her with others, thats how it is - admit it).
  • Dolphin22 March 2004
    Idea of this film is fresh and interesting, but implementation is pretty tiresome. Episodes, dialogues, and characters look very regular, sometimes banal. There is a lot of objects and characters rendered with high quality and well detailed, but character' movements very far from looking to be real. Kaena itself - it's a strange hybrid of Lara Croft and japan anime girl. Most terrible thing in this movie, almost all scenes rendered in one color gamma (brown). When there is a lot of movements at the episode, it looks like light spots blinking. Due to lack of contrast you can't understand, what, actually, happens. All this sometimes make you very tired when you watch this movie. On the other hand there are a very funny weird creatures, like worms that type i like in french animation. It makes at least a small part of this movie worth seeing.

    One line - I'm not talking about Ice Age, it can't be response even to Final Fantasy
  • I had so much hope for this film. I remember seeing the previews and thinking that this was going to be an amazing film filled with beautiful visuals and a groundbreaking and imaginative story. Well, I can honestly say that I was only half-right. This was a classic example of a movie that had the potential to stand out and become a force in the computer animated film genre, but instead fell short because it lacked in story and strong characters. With both of these lacking considerably, it was impossible to fully enjoy the perfect surroundings and surreal imagination (which was not missing from this film at all). Instead, what this film boiled down to was a fairly well endowed girl fighting to save her people from these sap creatures that wanted nothing more than to destroy a blue orb that they felt destroyed their people and planet. With all of this destroying and cross-referencing happening, it became obvious on how the directors lost track of their original target and instead found themselves all over the cinematic CGI-created map.

    So, let's begin with the characters. Our heroine, Kaena, was horribly voiced by Kirsten Dunst giving us this modernized voice for a very primitive character. I kept waiting to hear her say 'whatever' and get on her cell phone. The voice behind Kaena gave no depth to the characters or the surroundings. Every time she opened her mouth I kept cringing in my seat wondering why so much was spent on this mismatched voice. The only one that was worth listening to was Richard Harris who did a superb job behind Opaz, giving the right amount of age and wisdom to make us feel sympathy and delight for this strange creature. The rest were pure rubbish. They were all underdeveloped and uncared for which just pushed the overall tone for this film into disgust. I cared nothing for the villagers or even the villains. The reason, I knew nothing about them. How did these villagers evolve and why? Within a time of 600 years, the tree had inhabitants like humans, did anyone else find this odd. Also, who were the sap monsters? The lighting gave no accurate description and they gave us nothing to build on. Were they evil just to be evil? Somebody help me here! This apparent lack of development forced the ending to be nothing but dribble filled with sap and forced emotions.

    It became apparent about the middle of this film that the directors had jumped in way over their heads. They had built a world too big for them to handle or fully develop. With so much happening in this film and so many 'new' characters, I couldn't devote my attention to any specific one. Every scene gave us a new visual, and that may work in some films, but for Kaena it just gave us something new to see without any form of explanation. Who were the other inhabitants of the tree and why did they just show up randomly? How could the sap monsters control some and yet not others? What was the connection between all of these characters? My answer to this last question was that there wasn't any. The directors forced too much onto this film causing the pure basics of film-making to be lost. You will find when watching this film that scenes come uneven, fades between them are chaotic, and you never quite know where you will end up next. This creates a sense of uncertainty with the film that should not have been evident. This was no Final Fantasy, but instead an uneven wanna-be that had the potential, but never explored it. Kaena felt like that project that you had two weeks to work on, but somehow find yourself working on it the night before. The whole film seemed like a visual procrastination.

    I will give credit to one aspect of this film that I thought was enjoyable and that was the CGI graphics. I don't know who they had working on their team, but there were some beautiful moments to this film. Not all of it was above par, but there were just scenes that would linger in your mind for days. There also seemed like there were moments when the CGI would transform into regular animation for a brief second or so, I don't know if it was intentional or part of the story, but for me it worked. If the film would have combined these two styles, I think they would have had a stronger story. The dream sequences were some of the most creative I have seen in film lately. I was impressed of the visuals, but as I said before, the poor characters and story overshadowed them.

    Overall, this film could have been great. The imagination behind the story is there, almost on the tip of its tongue, but gets lost somewhere when too much food is forced into the mouth of the story and characters. I really wanted to enjoy this film, but I just couldn't get past this. The voices were mismatched and the story was just too overwhelming. I needed better voice actors and a better-knitted story. Also, perhaps if Kaena's breasts were just a bit less I could have appreciated her character a bit more. Whew, those were unnecessary unless the directors of his film were targeting young boys. They were, like the story, a bit too overwhelming.

    Grade: ** out of *****
  • gilfern28 January 2019
    I just watched this on Amazon Prime and was thoroughly disappointed. I don't get the 5-10 reviews scores (one of the reasons why I watched). The story was disjointed and underwhelming. Visually it wasn't bad for the time but the characters were horribly one dimensional and lacked any arc. Boring and derivative. I was hoping it would get better as it went along but it didn't. It stole aspects from the movie Alien and Predator and did nothing with them. I specifically created this account to review this so the stars rating would go down. Please don't waste your time like I did... ugggghhh.
  • It's like James Cameron did enough peyote to kill a herd of healthy elephants, re-wrote the plot of "Avatar", printed it out, ate the pages, and crapped them out, and the result was this movie. There was no elaborating on how anything happened, or what was going on, and I was more confused than a walrus that fell asleep in Antarctica and somehow woke up in a bathtub in the middle of Mexico city missing a kidney and a one of of his gonads. I couldn't make it past 15 minutes of this movie. The animation was dry and wooden, much like Ron Jeremy's phallus. This movie is the sole reason why me and my entire bloodline are now binge- drinking alcoholics. Anytime I want to kill an erection in 15 seconds or less, I think about watching this movie. To anyone considering watching this movie, I recommend taking a cast iron skillet, and savagely beat yourself with it for an hour and a half, and it would be preferable to 15 minutes of this atrocious nightmare of a film.
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