23 February 2006

Disappearing Ink #1 - Kaena: The Prophecy

I used to think that Miyazaki's Spirited Away was the weirdest movie that I had ever seen -- that is, until I saw Kaena: The Prophecy. Watching this movie is a lot like playing an imported video game. First off, the animation at times looks as if it were made for the cut scenes of a game, though at other times, the animation is absolutely stunning. The plot is a bit elusive; almost as if the "omitted" game play portions of the game were integral to the plot. Never once during the viewing of this movie did I feel qualified to explain to someone else what was going on, though that's not going to stop me from attempting to do just that in a bit. Lastly, this movie actually is an import from France (which explains the prevalence of edible slug creatures). Though the dub is quite good, with performances by Mary Jane Watson and the original Dumbledore, perhaps something was lost in the translation.

The basic premise of the movie is that Kaena lives in a village located in a giant tree (complete with its own atmosphere) suspended in space between two planets. There are some sap monsters making things tough on the villagers, and Kaena must lead her people to a new age of freedom. Notice I didn’t mention a prophecy, well neither did the movie except for in the title.

It is because of these shortcomings that Kaena has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of only 7%, and that is a real shame. While this movie is flawed, it definitely breaks the mold of traditional animation. It creates a highly stylized world unlike any I have seen before. If you just let your imagination fill in the many blanks, what you end up with is something truly worth checking out. It is bizarre, but I like it. I give this film a B-, though I highly recommend it to animation fans looking for something new.

1 comment:

Nanahuatzin said...

Spirited away weird?.. What about Mononoke princess, Grave of the Fireflies, Steamboy or La Planète sauvage or Vagabond Castle?

Yet i agree this movie is not for everyone. It is not the industrial product of an animation house.

This is the first full 3d film frome in France, and like Final Fantasy, show it,s roots in the video game world. Which does not measn it is mario bros, but it is very diferent from most animation films.

It is a "must see" for all animation fans, and scince fiction fans. But not for those that only want some enterteinment.a