The Secret of Kells
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In a remote medieval outpost of Ireland, young Brendan embarks on a new life of adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives from foreign lands carrying a book brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the falry Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendans determination and artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the best fortification against evil?
Stills from The Secret of Kells (Click for larger image)
Top Customer Reviews
Through the eyes of salmon, deer and wolf
I have seen the north men invading Ireland
destroying all in search of gold
I have seen suffering in the darkness
yet, I have seen beauty thrive in the most fragile of places
I have seen the book,
the book that turned darkness into light..."
These are the opening words to what is a most remarkable film - Tomm Moore's The Secret of Kells. The Secret of Kells is no mere animated film...it is an illumination. Appropriately so for it is based upon the creation of what may be arguably called the single most beautiful work of human hands to ever have been created - the book of Kells. The book of Kells is a hand-written illuminated copy of the New Testament's four Gospels completed by Celtic monks cica 800 ad and imbued with a strong Celtic sensibility literally woven throughout more tradition Christian iconography. It is widely considered to be the pinnacle of Ireland's national treasures.
The story centres on the monastic community of Kells in Ireland during the age of the Viking raiders. The order has let its scriptorium (the place where the copying and illuminating was done by the monks) become a lesser priority as the abbot works the community feverishly to build high walls and a gate around the monastery. The task is ostensibly to keep out invading Vikings (north men as they are called in the movie) but it becomes apparent that the abbot is trying to protect and hide him and the monastery from the world.
Into the midst of this construction comes Brother Aiden, fleeing from the destruction of the abbey at Iona and bringing with him a brilliantly illuminated text he calls aptly called the book of Iona.Read more ›
The Academy Awards have a tendency to nominate a lot of films that have only been released in limited release and are not very widely seen. Some people see this as a detriment, thinking that the Academy has lost touch because it typically doesn't look at the more widely seen and generally loved movies. In my opinion this is actually a strength, when awards season rolls around I'm looking up those other movies to catch the gems that I missed, knowing that something great is out there that should have been released wide. That's the case with The Secret of Kells. To be honest, and it's kind of sad, I'm not too familiar with animation outside of anime and American anime. Thanks to the Academy Awards, though, I found out about this great animated feature.
Kells is the type of movie that kind of has one foot planted in fantasy and legend, and another foot planted in reality. The Book of Kells is a real historical book created around the 6th to 9th centuries and is considered Ireland's finest national treasure. The origin of the Book of Kells is still widely disputed, so the creation of the book is ripe to made into a film of sorts.Read more ›
Technically, "The Secret of Kells" is about the making of that book. But it's far more than that -- it's a visual hymn to Ireland's history, a coming-of-age tale, and a parable about Christianity coming to Ireland. Modern animation is suffused with exquisite Celtic art, music and a sense of fairy magic, and wrapped around a seemingly simple story about a boy learning about the power of art.
Abbot Cellach is determined to save the Abbey of Kells from the Viking invaders, so he's having the monks (including his nephew Brendan) build a vast wall around the abbey. But when the illuminator Brother Aiden arrives, he brings with him the legendary Book of Iona. Brendan is fascinated by the Book, and ventures out into the forest -- against the abbot's orders -- to fetch ink-making supplies for Aiden.
He befriends a strange fairy girl named Aisling, and nature's beauty inspires his art -- until his uncle discovers that he's sneaking out, and forbids him to have anything to do with the forest or Aiden. But Brendan still wants to become a true master of illumination. And to finish the Book, he must go outside the abbey once more, and snatch away the magical Eye of an ancient sleeping evil...
You can see this movie from many angles -- it's a coming-of-age story, a homage to Irish culture, a story about the importance of art, and a parable about Christianity supplanting Celtic paganism (whilst drawing on its beauty). But however you see it, "The Secret of Kells" is a beautiful story with a calm simplicity, and a slightly quirky sense of humor.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the few films that preserves magic as it should: mysterious, ancient, and a part of the world we live in. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Alfredo Espinoza Rhoton
This is a lovely movie, full of eye candy and a nice story line, and I will be suggesting it to others, but I didn't give it 5 stars because it doesn't quite fit in my collection... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Jean E Haase