Movie Forty Four
Before watching The Secret of Kells, I knew very little beforehand. I knew that it was based in Irish mythology and had beautiful animation. While the mythology had me a bit lost, the art direction and animation is even more beautiful than I hoped.
For some background on the story The Secret of Kells tells, I recommend reading about the actual Book of Kells.The Book is a Celtic illuminated manuscript that is breathtaking, and is completely real. The Secret of Kells is a fictionalized account of the origin of the Book of Kells.
The film tells the story of a young boy living in the abbey of Kells who is trained by a traveling master illuminator. The boy’s adopted guardian, the Abbot, has confined the boy within the great walls of Kells as protection, but the boy travels to the forest to get berries for beautiful green ink. In the forest me meets a forest spirit, Aisling, who helps him. After a viking attack, the boy flees to continue his work.
As I mentioned before, the animation is stunning. I was reminded of Genndy Tartakovsky, the animator for shows like Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, and the Star Wars: Clone Wars miniseries. The animation has a simple feel to it, but certain scenes will take your breath away with how colorful and wondrous they are.
The story left me wanting more, despite the best efforts to tell the story of the Book of Kells, I had no idea it was even a real manuscript, I thought it was just a legend. Perhaps those more familiar with the Gospel works or Celtic lore will not need the history lesson. Still, I loved watching The Secret of Kells. It has a relatively short run-time of 75 minutes but much longer and it would drag. I think children will appreciate the pretty animation and adults will also enjoy the tale being told, Irish or not.
I give it 4 Aisling’s Songs out of 5.