A young boy in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids is beckoned to adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives with an ancient book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers.
Young Brendan lives in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids. But a new life of adventure beckons when a celebrated master illuminator arrives from the isle of Iona carrying an ancient but unfinished book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendan's determination and artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the best fortification against evil?Written by
In the United States, the film never played on any more than 37 screens. See more »
I have lived through many ages, through the eyes of salmon, deer, and wolf. I have seen the Northmen invading Ireland, destroying all in search of gold. I've seen suffering in the darkness. Yet I have seen beauty thrive in the most fragile of places. I have seen the book. The book that turned darkness into light.
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During the closing credits, Aidan is heard reciting part of the Irish poem "Pangur Ban." See more »
I would not have known about this film if not for its "surprise" Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature film. Thankfully, it came to pass that I was able to watch this animated little treasure.
The story is about the child Brendan who was the nephew of the imposing and overprotective Abbot of the township of Kells. The main pre-occupation of the Abbot is to build a wall to protect Kells from the attacking Vikings. One day, Aiden, the renowned illustrator from Iona, sought refuge with them. Aiden opens Brendan's eyes to the art of illustration and the lure of the outside world. Along the way, Brendan befriended the white forest sprite Aisling, as he sought to recover an ancient crystal invaluable to the meticulous art of book illustration.
"The Secret of Kells" is unlike most of the animation released these days. It is a throwback of sorts as the illustrations are done in stark geometric lines and design without much care for realism, as much as symbolism. The movements of these lines are reminiscent of the simplistic yet fluid animation style used at the beginning sequence of "Kung Fu Panda." However, it is the magnificent use of color that is the main source of wonderment for the audience. The reds used in the Viking invasion sequence is unforgettably haunting.
Try to catch this quiet gem of a film. It is a welcome respite from all the senseless bombast of current animated fare such as "Monsters vs. Aliens" and the like. The sparse Celtic musical score is effective in evoking the sense of fantasy that imbues the film. OK, the story might be a little shallow and the ending a bit wanting. I would have liked to know more about the Book that Brendan and Aiden was working on. But the clear star of this film is clearly its amazing stylized artwork, said to be based on the artwork in the real Book of Kells.
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