Monday, September 27, 2010

A Decade of Dreck #32: Kaena: the Prophecy

Charge Shot!!! is celebrating the end of the decade in the most masochistic way we know how - by watching and writing about the 100 worst movies of the last ten years as defined by film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Click here to see RT's complete list, click here for more about the Decade of Dreck project, and click here to see all of the movies we've done so far.

I am a French Canadian-American, and quite proud of it. My ancestors came to New France in the seventeenth century, easily giving me a claim of having a family line that existed in (North) America the longest of most of my friends save those who can trace their descent back to the Mayflower or some such event. In fact, an ancestor of mine, one Charles Boivin was recorded as having fought the British at the Battle of Quebec during the Revolutionary War.

However, I will gladly denounce the steaming heap of crap that is the French Canadian-produced Kaena: the Prophecy. It's a great argument both for and against Quebec seceding from Canada.

I can offer no explanations for why Kaena exists, let alone why some poor bastards got a fairly stellar voice cast together to dub it into English. It's a CGI sci-fi picture that looks terrible, the story is riddled with cliches, mostly of the uninspiring variety, and at the end of the day one is left wondering what happened to the eighty-five minutes that they spent watching it.

Seriously, you could have done some good in the world. You could have volunteered an hour and a half of your time with the homeless, you could have written a poem that changes the English language as we know it, you could have gotten your life together and moved out of your parents' basement. But no; you had to go and waste your time watching Kaena: the Prophecy. You dumb bastard.

Kaena's eponymous heroine lives in a giant tree. Her fellow tree dwellers are forbidden to go past a certain point in the tree would anger the gods or something. So, whaddya know? Kaena wanders past the forbidden demarcation and has an adventure! Who saw that coming?

You know when your movie revolves around a race whose entire civilization is built around tree sap it's bound to be a rough one. But form the get-go, I had nothing but utter contempt for Kaena and these damn tree people. You're worried about your tree sap running out? Too bad! You suck. Any people whose entire livelihood is based around tree sap probably deserve extinction. It's just the way of the world.

So when Kaena wanders too far, she discovers an old alien and his highly-evolved worm companions (seriously) and she helps them save her tree-planet from evil sap monsters and we learn about the value of believing in yourself and friendship and sacrifice and stuff.

And for the record, I don't think there was actually a prophecy of any kind in this movie.

The character and production designs in this computer-generated monstrosity are just godawful. Kaena and her tribe look like terrible marionettes with half-formed, wooden features. The kindly alien she meets looks like a terrible rip-off of the Dranei from Warcraft, and the evil aliens battled at the film's merciful end are poorly designed to the point of incomprehension.

The whole thing looks like something out of Heavy Metal and it's about as inspired. However, Heavy Metal had two things going for it that are sorely lacking from Kaena and those are ultraviolence and boobs. Maybe with these crucial additions, you might have a moderately salvageable movie. But then there's the dubbing.

I know I shouldn't rip on a foreign language film's English dub track as an existential flaw, but it's really bad here. Have you ever watched the crappy new Garfield cartoon that's on Cartoon Network every afternoon? It's really bad, and French, because apparently the French love Garfield and are therefore completely unqualified to receive God's love.

Look at this: all of Kaena looks like this.

You'd think with a English voice cast that includes Kirsten Dunst, the late Richard Harris (in his last film role), and Anjelica Huston among others that there might be something worthwhile going on here. Alas, we have a boring, offensively ugly (seriously, it looks like Beast Wars), braindead abomination that should have been stopped in Windsor, Ontario before it snuck down and infiltrated our great nation's film industry.

On the behalf of French Canadian-Americans everywhere, I apologize for Kaena: the Prophecy.

Kaena: the Prophecy is ranked #88 on the Rotten Tomatoes Worst 100 list with 7% freshness. Its RT page can be found here.

(Hey, just a heads up: "Decade of Dreck" is going to be taking a month long hiatus for October due to my "Nights on Bald Mountain" feature coming back. Don't worry, I'll be back in November!)