The Secret of Kells
One Of The Best Historic Animated Masterpieces Since "Prince of Egypt"
Based off the legendary "Book of Kells", within the Irish tradition, this story seems to paint a wonderful movie invoking some of the mystery and potency of the book's allure. The story follows a twelve year old apprentice, Brendan (Evan McGuire), whom is hard at work daily; aiding his uncle, Abbott Cellach (Brendan Gleeson), and the other monks to fortify the abbey walls around the village, to prevent raids from the Vikings. However, the real story doesn't begin, until Brother Aidan (Mick Lally) arrives, and demonstrates to Brendan the art of illumination. Causing for Brendan's hidden talent to surface as he must overcome his deepest fears to embark on a journey, that will for the first time, take him beyond the village walls and into the wilderness. What he finds out there, is a magical and mysterious world of wonders. In which Brendan will face many dangers along the way to complete his destiny. Meeting a mysterious wolf/girl named Aisling (Christen Mooney), who aids Brendan in his quest to find a mysterious relic, that he needs in order to complete the book of Kells, that might hold the answer to the village's salvation.
I'll be honest, before the Academy Awards announced "The Secret of Kells" was nominated, I never heard of it. In fact, out of all the films being nominated for "Best Animated Feature", I doubt many will have heard about this movie either. Which is actually kind of sad, since "The Secret of Kells" is probably one of the deepest animated stories ever told. Sure, the film isn't that long, and the animation is fairly simplistic. However, it's like the old saying goes, "sometimes less is more." It's a common animated process that Max Fleisher used to practice, when he drew the old "Superman" cartoons. None of the stories were that long, nor were the detail in animation, but it managed to convey a lot of story content anyway through it's simplicity. However, that's not to say that "The Secret of Kells" doesn't present it's own artistic flair.
As the elaborate symbolism and artistic style of the animation is simply breath taking in it's simplicity. Using the symbolism to represent how one's beliefs and culture can carry you during harsh and cruel times. Brendan not only overcomes the raid of the barbaric Vikings, but a forest full of magic and danger around every corner, to preserve the survival of the ancient book of Kells. A book that could hold the key to his civilizations survival, and prosperity through enlightenment. Although this film's subject matter may not be so clear to the average viewer but for those seeking a animated film that offers a deep underlining meaning, then "Secret of Kells" fails to disappoint.
Tomm Moore does an excellent illustrating the many themes and mystique of the fabled "legend of Kells", while using the symbolism to illustrate this magical world he creates full of mystery and wonders. As it shows how faith can often be the best thing in times of hardship, and provide much needed hope when all seems lost.
Plus, the song that Aisling sings during the movie, is by far one of the best songs, I ever heard in a animated movie.
Overall, "The Secret of Kells" may not be as commercially popular as the other films being nominated, but it's definitely worthy of it's nomination. Featuring great array of symbolic and underlining meaning that makes "The Secret of Kells" one of the best animated epics of 2009.
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