Initial DVD releaseSeptember 7, 2004 Duration LanguageFrench, English
Pascal Pinon Release dateJune 2003 (France)
July 2004 (USA) WriterPierre Bordage (dialogue), Patrick Daher (story), Chris Delaporte (screenplay), Chris Delaporte (story), Tarik Hamdine (screenplay), Alejandro Jodorowsky (dialogue), Benjamin Legrand (dialogue), Kenneth Oppel (screenplay) DirectorsChris Delaporte, Pascal Pinon CastCécile De France (Kaena (voice: French version)), Kirsten Dunst (Kaena (voice: English version)), Anjelica Huston (Queen of the Selenites (voice: English version)), Michael Lonsdale (Opaz (voice: French version)), Tara Strong (Essy (voice: English version)), Keith David (Voxem (voice: English version)) Similar moviesKingdom of Plants 3D, How to Grow a Planet, The Botany of Desire, The Private Life of Plants, Little Shop of Horrors
Kaena: The Prophecy (French: Kaena: La prophétie) is a 2003 French-Canadian computer-generated fantasy movie. The United States release of the film is distributed by Destination Films and features the voices of Kirsten Dunst, Richard Harris (in his last role before his death), Anjelica Huston, Keith David and Ciara Janson.
Chris Delaporte started work on the film in 1995 after leaving at Eric Chahi's company Amazing Studio halfway through development of the Studio's only game Heart of Darkness. Originally intended as a video game, the project spun off into a film. There was however a tie-in video game produced.
It was both critical and commercial failure.
The film begins with an alien ship crash landing on a desert planet. The alien survivors, known as Vecarians, are quickly killed by the planet's predatory native inhabitants, the Selenites. The ship's core, Vecanoi, survives, and from it sprouts Axis, a massive tree reaching up into space.
600 years later, a race of human-like tree-dwellers have evolved living in the branches of Axis. One of them, a young girl named Kaena (voiced by Kirsten Dunst), is an adventurous daydreamer who longs to explore the world beyond the confines of her village. Kaena's inquisitiveness is opposed as heresy by the village elder, who commands his people to stay productive and toil for the villager's gods (who are, unbeknownst to them, the Selenites living in the planet below).
Led by prophetic dreams of a world with a blue sun and plentiful water, Kaena eventually defies the elder and climbs to the top of Axis. There, she encounters the ancient alien Opaz (voiced by Richard Harris), the last survivor of the Vecarian race that crash landed on the planet centuries ago. Opaz has used his technology to evolve a race of intelligent worms to serve him and help him escape the planet. Upon learning of Kaena's dreams, Opaz enlists her help in retrieving Vecanoi, which contains the collective memory of his people.
However, Vecanoi rests at the base of Axis, where the Selenites dwell. The Queen of the Selenites (voiced by Anjelica Huston) blames Vecanoi for the destruction of their planet, and has spent most of her life (and sacrificed the future of her people) attempting to destroy it.
Cécile de France as Kaena
Michael Lonsdale as Opaz
Victoria Abril as La reine
Jean Piat as Le prêtre
Kirsten Dunst as Kaena
Richard Harris as Opaz
Anjelica Huston as Queen of the Selenites
Keith David as Voxem
Michael McShane as Assad
Greg Proops as Gommy
Tom Kenny as Zehos
Tara Strong as Essy
Dwight Schultz as Ilpo
John DiMaggio as Enode
Ciara Janson as Kamou, Roya
Jennifer Darling as Reya
Cornell John as Demok
Gary Martin as The Priest
William Attenborough as Sambo
The project started as a video game in 1995.
Kaena was a box office bomb and earned terrible reviews. The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The L.A. Times and The Boston Globe all agreed it was a lifeless, dull cartoon with an overly convoluted plot. There were unflattering comparisons to a much better-received French animated film, The Triplets of Belleville, and the similarly unsuccessful CG film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. A few nevertheless admired the visuals. The proportions of the main character drew comparisons to Lara Croft.