In contrast to big-budget Hollywood CG features, The Secret of Kells is a welcome reminder of how warm, personal, and compelling traditional drawn animation can be. The story takes place in the eighth century, a perilous time when Viking raiders threatened to destroy Irish civilization. Since his parents were killed by Vikings, 12-year-old Brendan (voice by Evan McGuire) has lived within the walled monastery of Kells under the stern eye of his uncle, Abbot Cellach (Brendan Gleeson). But his life changes when Brother Aidan (Mick Lally) arrives at Kells with a wondrously beautiful but unfinished illuminated manuscript, created to be “a beacon in these dark times.” Brendan realizes he wants to become an illuminator and complete the book, despite his uncle’s opposition. His decision helps him win the friendship of Aisling (Christen Mooney), a silver-haired wood fairy–and requires him to battle the monstrous pagan god Crom Cruach. The visuals in The Secret of Kells were inspired by the eighth-century manuscript the Book of Kells, which has been preserved in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. Fans of Samurai Jack will recognize another influence on the flat, angular figures and their stylized movements. Brendan’s adventures are exciting enough to keep children entertained, while its graphic beauties will delight adult viewers. The Secret of Kells surprised many observers when it earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, and it’s a film no one interested in animation should miss.
Follow 12-year-old Brendan (voice of Evan McGuire) as he battles Vikings and confronts an ancient serpent god on a mission to locate a legendary crystal and complete the mythical Book of Kells. Brendan lives in a heavily fortified medieval outpost known as the Abbey of Kells, where the ongoing threat of Viking raids causes the peaceful monks to live in a state of constant fear. Along with his uncle, Abbot Cellach, Brendan labors to fortify the abbey walls daily so his people will be protected from invading forces. When the mysterious Brother Aidan arrives at the abbey carrying an unfinished tome filled mystical secrets, Brendan becomes illuminated, and his dormant talents are awakened. The book must be finished, but accomplishing that mission will be no simple task. As the Vikings close in, Brendan ventures into the surrounding forest and prepares to confront his darkest fears. Accompanying him on his dangerous mission is Aisling, a half-wolf/half-human fairy whose powers will help to guide Brendan through this enchanting yet dangerous new world.
The Secret of the Kells is not your typical cartoon. This movie is rich in Celtic history and beautiful Celtic art. The movie is irrestible to watch a second or even a third time. We can not more highly recommend this wonderful creation! 5 Golden Stars from CelticRadio.net:
Picture Gallery from The Secret of the Krells: