[Last Anilogue movie for me this year.]
Brendan (Evan McGuire) lives in a small village in medieval Ireland, where he helps his uncle Abbott Cellach (Brendan Gleeson) build fortifications to keep the Vikings at bay. But when the famous illustrator Aiden (Mick Lally) turns up with his cat and a very important book, Brendan discovers not only the wonders of the woods outside the village walls, but also his talents as an illustrator himself.
The Secret of Kells is magical. The main attraction are certainly the visuals and they are absolutely wonderful. So perfect, in fact that I didn’t even mind the religiousness of it all (which is generally rather unobtrusive but you can’t deny it’s there).
Unlike Narnia, The Secret of Kells doesn’t try to hammer home its message about god etc. When they show the book – which is pretty clearly a bible (or at least part of it) – they concentrate on the illustrations and the whole thing about the truth in it, seems to be more about the pictures and how they make you see the world. Of course, the whole thing is set in a medieval abbey and the main players are mostly monks (and a forest sprite), so it’s not really religion-free. But it didn’t bother me that much in this case.
Which might also be due to the perfect animation. The style is completely different and wonderful to look at. It’s a movie you just want to drink up with your eyes.
The characters are wonderful. The stern abbott, the strange illustrator, the otherworldly sprite and the cat. Brendan is cute and works very well as an audience stand-in.
The music is nice and Aisling’s song totally gave me goosebumps. The vikings and Crom Cruach did, too, but for completely different reasons. :)
And to top it all off, it had a nice sense of humor.
Summarising: Recommended, definitely.