ByRosalyn Lim 林惠美, writer at
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Rosalyn Lim 林惠美

The Secret of Kells (2009) at a glance

The Secret of Kells (2009) is an award-winning family fantasy film by Irish director Tomm Moore, also a co-founder of Cartoon Saloon. The animated feature is a collaboration between Irish-French-Belgian production. It is loosely based on the origin of the Book of Kells and Celtic mythology. In 2010, The Secret of Kells (2009) is nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Academy Awards.

The Secret of Kells (2009) Trailer

The Secret of Kells (2009) Synopsis

A bewitching animated fairytale for children and adults alike - This vibrant animation is a spirited retelling of the provenance of Ireland’s most cherished artefact, the Book of Kells. With the Viking hordes approaching, the monks of Kells are forced to turn their attention from transcribing manuscripts to building barricades. The future of the precious book is in jeopardy and it falls to Brendan, young nephew of the abbot Cellach, to save the day.

The Secret of Kells (2009) Review

Brother Aidan making ink for the book.
Brother Aidan making ink for the book.

The Secret of Kells (2009) is quite unusual but interesting. It has beautiful art direction, both colourful and traditional, and a fictional story of how the Book of Kells is miraculously created. After watching it for some time, it feels like as if we are being teleported into their enchanting world.

Aisling and Brendan in the forest.
Aisling and Brendan in the forest.

Aside from the visuals, this animated feature has serene music which makes the whole film feels otherworldly. It is magical and we certainly can have a glimpse of the lives of the Kells in the eighth century. Even just a short screen time of the many locations in The Abbey of Kells, it is already able to show the ancient civilisation of the Kells; the abbey is a monastery that shelters people from harm and there is also a scriptorium dedicated to the writing, copying and illuminating of manuscripts. We can see how the society in that era works and live interdependent.

Aisling and Pangur Bán.
Aisling and Pangur Bán.

The characters in The Secret of Kells (2009) comes in all sizes and shapes but the main characters such as Aisling and Brendan are particularly sweet and innocent. If I have to mention, my favorite characters would be Aisling (at first I thought her name is Ashley, heard wrongly) and the odd-eyed cat Pangur Bán. Aisling is bubbly, smart yet innocent. She wouldn't mind to sacrifice herself for the benefits of others! She is a spirit of the forest but apparently, she is also a beautiful giant wolf! As for the kitty, well, aside from being cute and have two different colored eyes, it does care for people it just met too; it wouldn't let anyone including Brendan to get into trouble!

Surrounded by wolves.
Surrounded by wolves.

In addition to those, The Secret of Kells (2009) has several themes too. For instance, we should not forsake what we choose to believe in and we will not know what the world can offer until we explore.

Aisling and Aidan escaping from Crom Cruach.
Aisling and Aidan escaping from Crom Cruach.

In brief, I love the art and backstory of this film. It is sad that the world they live in isn't perfect but it is still a vibrant world. There are only two things I would complain is that why there is no information on the contents of the completed Book of Iona (Kells) and this film is too short!

PS. I want to watch their new movie, Song of the Sea (2014)!!

Who will like this?

Animation lovers! And, this film is likely to be appealing to those who love religion and mythology!

PS. Stay tune for more animated features!

Details of the movie

Director: Tomm Moore
Producer: Paul Young, Didier Brunner, Vivian Van Fleteren
Story: Tomm Moore
Screenplay: Fabrice Ziolkowski
Cinematography: Not sure
Music: Bruno Coulais
Studio: Cartoon Saloon, Les Armateurs, Vivi Film, France 2 Cinéma, Canal+
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Evan McGuire, Christen Mooney, Mick Lally
Full Credit: [IMDb]
Distributor: Gébéka Films, StudioCanal, Toho, GKIDS
Country: Irish, French, Belgian
Language: English
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Running time: 75 mins
Budget: USD 8,100,000 est.
Box office: Not sure.

Official website(s)

Original post from Rosalyn's Blog.
This article is a part of Rosalyn's Animated Movie Marathon.
Rosalyn can be contacted via email and facebook.

The Secret of Kells (2009) Behind the Scenes

The Secret of Kells (2009) Poster

Turn the darkness into light
Turn the darkness into light

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