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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful and unusual animated film, 23 Mar. 2010
By 
Andres C. Salama (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
This animated feature (a co-production between Ireland, Belgium and France) deals with what is surely one of the oddest subject ever for a movie: the creation in the 9th century of a famous illuminated manuscript, the book of Kells. In this fantastic retelling of that story, a prepubescent boy named Brendan, living in a monastery ruled by his uncle, a stern abbot who is worried preparing the defenses of the abbey from the impending attack by the feared vikings, must get into the forbidding surrounding forest to find the materials that a master illuminator named Aidan needs to finish the book. To do that task, in the forest he unexpectedly finds the help of a friendly fairy named Aisling. Gorgeously and delicately drawn by hand (there is some computer animation in a few key passages) in a manner that wants to resemble both medieval and traditional Celtic art, and with a very creative use of color and all sorts of geometric shapes, this film is relentlessly strange, but is a good strange, not of the off putting variety but of the eye opening sort. If one were to nitpick - beyond some anachronisms, like an African monk in 9th century Ireland - one would have to say that the blend of Catholic mysticism with Celtic paganism in this movie never really coalesce. And the comic relief is sometimes a bit broad. But these are minor problems with an otherwise delightful and superbly imaginative film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret of Kells based on the Book of Kells, 10 Mar. 2010
By 
A. Lowry (Wicklow, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
This is a beautiful movie based on the Book of Kells - one of Ireland's national treasures available to view in Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. This movie is a "must have" for anyone with Irish connections or with an interest in Irish history. The music is lovely and is played by Kila one of Ireland's most talented and innovative bands. Great to see an Irish animation company getting an Oscar nomination for this wonderful movie. This makes a wonderful gift for any child or adult. I absolutely loved it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant animation not quite matched by the story, 10 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
There aren't too many Irish made Oscar nominated movies so I was looking forward to watching "The Secret of Kells", directed by Tomm Moore.

The standard of animation was very high, breathtaking at times. The animators seemed to have been inspired by beauty of the Book of Kells itself as they have created some of the most colourful and vibrant images I've seen in a movie in a long time.

The story is about a young boy (Brendan) living in the monastery of Kells where his uncle is the Abbot. His uncle is obsessed with building up the defences of the monastery to protect them from the marauding Vikings. Other monks are transcribing sacred manuscripts. A monk arrives from the island of Iona with an uncompleted book after Vikings have destroyed the monastery there. Brendan is talented at drawing and takes a lot of interest in the new monk and the book, much to the displeasure of his uncle.
Aided by a fairy (Aisling) he meets in the forest Brendan finishes the book just before the Viking attack.

Interestingly the story has elements of both Ireland's Christian and pagan heritage but the ending seems quite abrupt especially when the film is only seventy-five minutes long.
Actors such as Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally, both very familiar to Irish audiences, voice the main adult characters. Evan McGuire is excellent as Brendan.

So a treat for animation fans while the story might spark curiosity in people to discover more about Irish heritage and history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A convincing story with a very good art style, perfectly animated, 15 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
This is an entrancing film that all of my family enjoyed, although it may be too scary for young children. It has a genuine story, while the visuals give it a dreamlike quality. The art style looks simple, but the animation brings it to life wonderfully, much like Sunrise's Kaiba.
The story is based around the writing of the Book of Kells, but is in no way historical fiction; it brings in Celtic fairies and puts together events anachronistically. There are however plentiful references to both history and Old Irish poetry. There is a real sense of incoming terror as the Vikings threaten the village, and of desperation as two monks defy their abbot to finish and protect their masterpiece.
It does bear the imprint of modern political correctness (the racial make-up of the monks and never referring to Christianity) and an evil god is defeated a tad anticlimactically, but it is a film that will delight anyone who appreciates mature fairy tales, Gaelic poems, "trippy" viewing or just innovative and distinctive animation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare gem, 7 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
Without doubt, one of the most beautiful and moving films in recent years, with great 're-watch' potential. The film works at several levels, making it work for both adults and children: as an exciting children's story about a boy's encounters with dragons, vikings, white cats and whiter wolves; as a homage to the exquisite artwork of the Book of Kells itself; and as a morality tale about the true nature of religion. Genuinely exceptional.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Irish Film, 2 May 2010
By 
Stephen Reid (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
This has a great story for how the Book of Kells was finally finished. The story has just the right about of magic and mystery in it and you get attached to all of the characters in the film. The characters of both Brendan and Aisling were brilliant and their friendship really comes across.

It is a great film and definitely worthy of its Oscar nommination.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The monk and the fairy....., 14 Nov. 2014
By 
R. A. Caton "Arcaton" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
This is a wonderful film. Very stylised animation, based off the illuminations in The Book Of Kells. Very simple story, and an engaging young hero. I would like to see the reacion of a young (pre-teen) audience to it.... but I liked it well enough.
The extras on the disc are interesting, showing among other things the development of the character styling....

But there is a sweet short film, in Gaelic with English subbies about the life and times of a young laddie born with his head back to front. That's correct, with his face always gazing behind him.
Sweet wicked humour.
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