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54 Reviews
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly beautiful animated film
I took my kids (age 13 and 7) to the cinema by chance one afternoon and this was the only thing on. Since granny is Irish, we thought we'd go in and I'm so glad we did. It is one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen. My 13 year old girl was entertained, my 7 year old boy was enthralled, I was captured by the beauty of the animation.

It was very...
Published on 16 Dec 2010 by Bookworm

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange, harsh and mystical
A wierd and mystical story, and quite bloody. I don't see it as a complete children's movie, which it really isn't, considering it was origianally meant for a more adult audience and then reworked to be more mainstream and appeal to a younger audience. I guess what's going on will need a bit of explaining for those children not versed in the story of Ireland, with the...
Published 17 months ago by Elisabeth Ek Solheim


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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly beautiful animated film, 16 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
I took my kids (age 13 and 7) to the cinema by chance one afternoon and this was the only thing on. Since granny is Irish, we thought we'd go in and I'm so glad we did. It is one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen. My 13 year old girl was entertained, my 7 year old boy was enthralled, I was captured by the beauty of the animation.

It was very slightly scary in a few places (for a 7 year old) but it has a good, solid, old-style story with wonder, forbidden friendships, duty, fear, growing. Even those who don't follow the younger ones into an enchanted world (I confess I did), can appreciate the animation. I could not get over the way the celtic designs were woven into the scenery, the trees, the mists. And the songs and Irish poetry made it a true feast for the eyes and ears and one I won't forget in a hurry.

In fact, Granny is getting it for Christmas because we told her so much about it!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for the eyes and music to the ears..., 11 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
This remarkably underrated and overlooked film is by far the best animation I have seen in a while. The story is based upon how the equally wonderful Book of Kells came to be, through the adventures of a young boy, Brendan, and his friend, a fairy called Aisling.

The story isn't what grabs you, it is the beautiful and painstakingly detailed hand drawn animation that keeps you hooked right up until the somewhat abrupt climax. Also worth a mention is the fabulous soundtrack which left me thinking I may well invest in the audio cd.

Truly this is a masterpiece and well worth five stars. It is a film both young and old will enjoy, which will be enhanced further by a decent soundsystem and widescreen tv - definitely an audio-visio experience!
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpeice, and a refreshing change from marketing-driven animated features, 20 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
It's heart-warming to know that the British Isles can produce - in Tomm Moore - an animator with a vision that is undoubtedly set to rival the great Miyazaki. Amazingly, this stunning independent film was made for a mere £5 million - the catering bill for a modest Hollywood film - and was completely hand-drawn. Which doesn't mean it's crude or sketchy. It's as polished as a Ghibli or Pixar film. Every scene looks fabulous, and the film has audio and music to match. Yet surprisingly, even when it first opened in Ireland, the box-office was low and the film struggled with its American cinema distribution. Why? A few jaded early reviews probably didn't help - I vaguely remember reading gripes about the 'weak' plot, and other niggles, that put me off the film. How wrong they were, as the Oscar nomination proved. The story is fine, and the characters are well-delineated and engaging. The dialogue is crisp, well delivered, and the story moves along briskly. As for the DVD - the standard typography and choice of image for the DVD cover is not ideal - it wouldn't look out of place in the young kids' bargain bin. But I guess that it's the old Miyazake trick - lull the kids into a false sense of familiarity via the DVD cover and the starting few minutes, and then let the imagination rip later. While the film's visual panache will undoubtedly appeal to (and possibly frighten) 6-8 year olds, it's probably older intelligent children in the 9-12 range who will enjoy it the most - and possibly all the more after a look at the real Book of Kells in the online facsimile, and a read of the famous short poem "Pangur Ban". The DVD extras include two short 'making of' featurettes, and an apparently (I never listen to them) rather dry audio commentary. Overall, a gem.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange, harsh and mystical, 17 Jun 2013
By 
Elisabeth Ek Solheim "EES" (Norway) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
A wierd and mystical story, and quite bloody. I don't see it as a complete children's movie, which it really isn't, considering it was origianally meant for a more adult audience and then reworked to be more mainstream and appeal to a younger audience. I guess what's going on will need a bit of explaining for those children not versed in the story of Ireland, with the burning and slaughter of monasteries by the vikings, as well as the fading of the old powers as Christianity takes hold, at the same time as ancient evil awakes and threatens the fey as well as the humans...The story is a little odd and confusing to me. It is quite interesting artistically, and the simplified celtic style makes it quite uniqe animation wise. Some of the scenes, especilally those involving the mystical creature Aisling, are quite beautiful and skillfully rendered, and her song is quietly magical. All toghether Im confused as to weather I like it as a piece or not, or just fragments of it, but Im fascinated all the same. :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aisling and Brendan, 19 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
I ordered this film for my grandchildren. What a wonderful artful, animated film beautifully put together with lovely celtic symbolism. A richly told half real/half fairytale story. I love that the celtic myth and truth is sensitively mixed together to form a basis for the existence of the Book of Kells. Although it is mystical it is in no way occultic which makes a refreshing change. I would thoroughly recommend this film for children and adults, who love all things celtic and Irish. Well done to the producers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celtic Magic, 15 May 2014
By 
Mr. Mark Gray "brennus" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A wonderful, magical story rich in Celtic folk law and with a beautiful sound track. Really, ignore the few one and two star reviews. The reasons these people give for such low scores is laughable (it's not 'Christian' enough? It's not Monsters, Inc? Come on, people; give your brains a chance!)

I have honestly fallen in love with this story and so has my wife. A truly beautiful film.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irish animation that feels like Miyazaki or Del Toro,, 7 Nov 2012
This review is from: The Secret of Kells [DVD] (DVD)
As you look at the DVD cover and as this film opens you wonder what all the fuss about 'the beautiful animation' was all about, it looks like an episode of 'fairly odd parents' or a cheap cartoon network program. But then you really look at it, you see the detail, the colour, the framing, the subtlety and the boldness combined and you realize you are looking at art. It truly is hypnotically beautiful to watch, it pulls you in, aided by a mesmerizing soundtrack, you are absorbed into the story and when the credits roll the room your in seems suddenly duller and lifeless.
Story-wise it is told in a similar style to the way Guillermo Del Toro (director of Pan's Labyrinth) or Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) tells a story, child protagonists who we don't look down on but through whose eyes we see their world. It is never patronizing to the point that some moments are quite scary, a risk a disney film has not taken in a long time, yet it trusts that kids will be able to understand and cope with the scares. The relationship between characters and nature echo Miyazaki and it comes to a brilliant, yet perhaps brutal, climax.
The voice acting is superb with Brendan Gleeson striking the right balance between fierce paternal authority and loving father.
If I had one small problem with this film it would be the epilogue style ending. It feels a little heavy handed and almost 'preaching' but this is a tiny flaw in a film that is truly 5 stars and in my opinion stands together with some of the greatest animation of all time.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Animated Animation, Stolid Story, 25 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I've been to Trinity College and seen the Book of Kells and it's very nice. Like so many antiquities it's hard to impress a modern audience; we take many things for granted. However, imagine what The Book of Kells must have been like to someone alive hundreds of years ago; the intricate images, the blazing colours - no wonder people saw the power of God in the pictures. One way of bringing the impact of these images to a 2000 and odd audience could be in glorious animation, as Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey do in `The Secret of Kells'.

`Secret' follows young monk Brendan and his involvement in the protection and creation of the Book of Kells. The film is undoubtedly breath-taking in terms of imagery, crossing the feel of Kells with modern 2D animation. The use of colour is exceptional and leaps off the screen, particularly in High Definition. As a visual feast there is little to fault with the film, but there needs to be something behind the surface to make it worthwhile. Unfortunately, this is not the case as the story is a little bland and has the feel of an educational film designed for the school market. With Vikings, burnings and magic there should be plenty to keep an audience entertained, but the voice acting is played so blandly that a lot of the life is sucked out of the film at the same time that the animation is trying to invigorate it.

In the end it is the tone and pacing of the film that lets `The Secret of Kells' down. Many people will love the film for the animation alone, but I cannot help thinking that with stronger voice acting and a faster story, this could have been a modern classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treat., 2 May 2013
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a visually stunning animation, and with a great storyline too. I'm surprised there wasn't more of a fuss about this when it was released - I can't recommend it enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine animation, 12 Dec 2012
By 
Richard Johnston (Limerick, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Kells [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This Blu-Ray edition of the award winning animation makes for a very beautiful viewing experience. It is well worth the moderate price.
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The Secret of Kells [Blu-ray]
The Secret of Kells [Blu-ray] by Nora Twomey (Blu-ray - 2010)
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