When the Academy Award nominations came out for Best Animated Film, everyone was like WTF is The Secret of Kells, while I was going, "ZOMG! They nominated the film!" I've been following this movie since the beginning of last year and I finally got a hold of the DVD from the director, Tom Moore. Who is incredibly nice. And I'm going to say this now.. I want this movie to beat Pixar's Up.
The Secret of Kells is set in the 9th century. Twelve-year-old Brendan is educated by his uncle, Abbot Cellach, who holds a firm grip on his nephew and expects him to follow in his footsteps. One day, Brendan meets Brother Aidan, a master illustrator who shows him the beauty of art and stimulates his creativity and fantasy. Finally, Brendan decides to break free in search of his dream: completing the valuable Book of Kells.
I am going to cram in as many pictures of the movie as I can into this review because, God the animation of Kells was just so so so good. This is may just be the most exquisite pieces of motion art I have ever seen.
The film is so lavish. Wonderfully flat in overall perspective, and yet so haunting. It's rich in it's Celtic & illuminated design, yet the characters are so simplistic. It's really really hard do describe what is so good about the style of the film. It's like watching the very definition of art.
Another thing I love about the style of the drawings in Kells is that it is a very close copy of the art style in Samurai Jack, one of my favoritest cartoons of all time. But it didn't seem like a ripoff in anyway. The art style of Kells was mostly Celtic influenced just like how Samurai Jack was Japanese influenced. So if you were a fan of Samurai Jack, you'll be going on a roller coaster of nostalgia watching Secret of Kells.
From what I've been reading online, Secret of Kells pays homages to a lot of Irish folklore and art.Which is great if you were Irish. Personally, I'm not Irish so I guess I wouldn't understand the deep meaning behind the film. But more power to ye Irish folks.
The film introduces many great characters, Brendan, Brother Aidan, Pangur Ban but my absolute fav was Aisling. She reminds me of a girl from my childhood whom I have completely forgotten until I watched this movie. I can't remember her name, I can't remember how she looked like but I just remembered that that bitch was crazy. She was to me what Ellie was to Carl Fredrickson, you know what i mean?
The only letdown of the movie is the ending. After building a great narrative and great relationships between the characters, the movie ended without a satisfying resolution. I felt like, "That's it??!! But... but.. I want more!" The movie really felt incomplete, like the filmmaker ran out of cash and had to finish it up in a hurry. I still didn't get what the book of Kells was for, we do no see much resolution between the characters or the overall Viking invasion. So I was like... "There's going to be a Secret of Kells 2 right? Please tell me there's going to be a Secret of Kells 2! Pleeaseeee!"
Secret of Kells is easily the most well drawn animated film I have ever seen. Is it the best animated film? No it's not. Sadly Kells didn't have a good story to back up it's stunning artistry. No.. Kells is no Toy Story. Kells is no Lion King. But I will say this, The Secret of Kells is one of those animated films I want to own and preserve so that 20 years from now, I can go back, watch it and feel like a kid again.