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
Although the characters, fantasy elements, and plot specifics of this movie are fictional, there is a real Book of Kells, an illuminated, heavily illustrated rendering of the Four Gospels of the Christian Bible, that dates from the Early Medieval period (probably the early Eighth Century) in Ireland. The best historical and archaeological evidence suggests that, starting shortly after it was finished, the book was moved several times (including, as depicted in the movie, during an Viking invasion) and lost for various periods. It has been housed at the library of Trinity College, Dublin, since the 17th century, and is considered perhaps the single most valuable cultural artifact of Irish history that has ever been discovered. Some of the design concepts for the movie echo aspects of the original Book of Kells; for instance, the shapes of the repeated tree patterns as Brendan enters the forest are quite similar to the arrangement and shapes of the columns and arches in the "Eusebian Canons, Folio 5R" page of the real book. 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.
See more »
During the closing credits, Aidan is heard reciting part of the Irish poem "Pangur Ban." See more »
"Do you want to see the most beautiful page? The one that will turn darkness into light?"
The story of The Secret of Kells is a simple one. A monastery in Ireland hurries to complete a wall that will hopefully protect it and its village from the coming destruction of the Vikings, when it is visited by a monk who also flees the Vikings. He brings with him a special book that he is writing, and a young boy who lives in the monastery tries to help him complete it, and meets a shape-shifting forest girl in the process. The friendship that's made between the two may end up saving both the book, and the lives of the monks and villagers.
The aspect of The Secret of Kells that's most noteworthy is the visuals. This is one of the most gorgeous and visually inventive movies I've ever seen. The art style is like moving illustrations from a book of English fairy tales, and it constantly changes from scene to scene, offering new things to see while keeping the same basic theme. It really is a beautiful movie, and I don't see how anyone could watch it and not be thoroughly impressed by the amount of creativity and work that had to go into making this.
On the whole, I think this will appeal to older teens and adults more than children, as it's a quite serious story, and pretty violent in some places. There's not much of the humor or kinetic antics that younger viewers usually like in their animated movies, but anyone old enough to appreciate The Secret of Kells will be quite pleased with this little gem.
29 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this