The Secret of Kells (2009)

DailyView: Day 323, Movie 463

St. Patrick’s Day brought an animated film called The Secret of Kells to the DailyView tonight and it is a gorgeous artistic masterpiece. This film was nominated for the Academy Award in 2010, losing to the eventual winner, Pixar’s Up.

The animation style was very reminiscent of last year’s Wolfwalkers, what was considered the third in the Irish Folklore trilogy from director Tomm Moore.

The protagonist of the film was named Brendan (Evan McGuire), a boy who lived with his Uncle Abbot Cellach (Brendan Gleeson) in the Abbey of Kells. Abbot Cellach wanted to build a wall around the Abbey to prevent any Viking attacks and has not allowed Brendan outside of the Abbey.

However, things change when Brother Aidan (Mick Lally) arrived with his cat Pangur Bán, after his own monastery was destroyed in a raid. Aiden brought with him the book that he was still illuminating the pages. Aiden sent Brendan out to the woods to find gall nuts to make ink. Once out of the Abbey, Brendan meets the fairy Aisling (Christen Mooney) who helps him find the gall nuts. They become friends and she said he was welcome to come back again.

I found this animation style absolutely gorgeous and perfectly suited for the story being told. The sequence where the Vikings were attacking the Abbey of Kells is one of the most sensational animated sequences I may have ever seen. It was stunning, both visually and emotionally.

The narrative may be fairly simple, but the imagery and the colors were out of this world. The character design are beautiful and fit wonderfully in the tale being woven.

I will say that it felt a little rushed at the end, with the basic story wrapping up quickly. The last ten minutes of the movie was spread over years of story time and I would have liked more where the film skipped a chunk of time. Still, it resolved the main conflict skillfully.

This was exceptional. One of the best visually animated films I have ever seen.

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