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.

Comments 11 comments

lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

As you have pointed out, simplicity can be extremely powerful. I find the animation in this snippet you've provided to be darkly charming!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Once again, a terrific review and now a new don't-miss for me! Thanks, Steve.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago Author

@paradise7

Your welcome paradise. Thanks again for stopping by. I really do appreciate that. :)

@lorie6

Yeah, I agree with you there. I think with more animated films coming out, in various forms of CGI or stop motion animation, it's kind of refreshing to see an animated movie be so deep within it's own simplicity.


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

I don't even know where you come up with these movies sometimes but once again good job, stevennix!!!!!! I guess all I can say is I am way behind times!


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago Author

Thanks Ann, I appreciate that. To be honest, I never even heard of this film, until it was nominated. However, I'm glad I did find out about it, as it's truly a great animated movie.

No, your not behind the times, trust me. lol. As I said earlier, I wouldn't be surprised if most people haven't heard of this movie.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Your review is what attracted my attention to this hub, it sounds quite interesting we are going to rent it and check it out. Thanks so much for giving it a thumbs up! Great review~ :)


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago Author

Thanks Aevans. I appreciate you saying that. I'm glad you liked the review. I hope you guys enjoy the movie when you see it. Thanks again for stopping by, as it's a pleasure seeing you. :)


Maggie 5 years ago

This movie is without a doubt a Masterpiece. I found about it just a few days ago, bought it, and must say that I have watched it now for the fifth time. Thanks for your amazing review.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago Author

Thanks Maggie. I'm glad you liked the review, and the movie as well. It's kind of a shame that this film didn't get a lot more commercial exposure, as it truly is one of the best animated features out there. Oh well, what can you do, I guess. Anyway, thanks again for stopping by to share your thoughts with us. :)


cfin profile image

cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

Great movie. Loved it. I even shared this hub on my hub about the best movies on netflix.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

Thanks, I appreciate the shout out. :)

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