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02.08.2014
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The next Kids film club will be screening 'The Secret Of Kells'.Follow 12-year-old Brendan (voice of Evan McGuire) as he battles Vikings and confronts an ancient serpent god on a mission to locate a legendary crystal and complete the mythical Book of Kells. Here are a sample of our gobstoppers, lollies, edible wallpapers and other sweets we made on saturday. The Secret of Kells is an animated feature out of Ireland (from studio Cartoon Saloon) but was made in conjunction with Les Armateurs, a french studio that also brought us The Triplets of Belleville (which is screening as part of SIFF for FREE this Saturday, May 29th at 9PM at Juanita Beach Park).
It was written by Celtic monks around 800 AD and gets its name from the Abbey of Kells where it was kept for most of its existence. The film follows a boy, Brendan, who is in training to be a monk in the Abbey of Kells, presided over by his Uncle the abbot.
The animation was a mixture of traditional cell animation and 2D and 3D computer animation. The cat was very well animated and I would watch the movie again just for her, but by far the most interesting character is Aisling, the forest fairy, and the film suffers after she leaves.
It seemed to make the film very simplistic: Celtic culture=good, everyone else, whether Vikings or any other enemy=bad. What’s it like in one sentence? It’s like an Irish fairy tale blended with the boundless imagination of Studio Ghibli with some of the stylistic choices of Genndy Tartakovsky. What’s it about in one paragraph? It’s a fictionalized account of the creation and protection of the Book of Kells, an Irish national treasure that had illuminated books of the Bible hand drawn into it. Play or remove from my queue? I had never heard of the Book of Kells or Iona or any of the historical things The Secret of Kells has floating around inside its fantasy world. Normally when you sit down to an animated film, you know beat for beat where the acts will break and when the giant action scenes will hit, but The Secret of Kells is much more interested in filling the frame with intricate layers of Irish art and telling a piece of Ireland’s history.
It comes down to one of those cheesy cliche’s that the film might not give you exactly what you want, but it will definitely give you what you need.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? A Cat in Paris (is this as good as it looks?), The Thief and the Cobbler (vocal talents of Vincent Price!), The House (looks amazing), The Adventures of Mark Twain (pretty sure I saw this as a kid) and Titan AE (loved this as a kid).


Do you have an interesting fun-fact? This film never played on more than 37 screens in the United States, yet it was nominated for the Best Animated Film Oscar.
Any last thoughts? The voice acting in this blew my mind, Brendan Gleeson is subtle and powerful as the abbot, but Christen Mooney as the forest child Aisling steals the show with the most adorable voice I’ve ever heard in my life.
Did you watch anything else this week? I acted in a frigging movie for the Hallmark Channel this last Sunday. Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, Following? Chewer prunetracy blew my mind when he reminded me that Cobb was the name of DiCaprio’s character in Inception, as well as the name of the thief in Following.
Brendan lives in a heavily fortified medieval outpost known as the Abbey of Kells, where the ongoing threat of Viking raids causes the peaceful monks to live in a state of constant fear.
It’s a story loosely based on the history of the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four gospels of the New Testament.
The artists obviously tried to mimic the real book’s illustrations in their use of ornament and flatness.
The filmmakers purposefully depicted the Vikings as anonymous evil robots, which I recognize as an attempt on their part to make them a more general enemy, but was this wise? Brendan is a young boy whose uncle, Abbot Cellach, is building a giant wall around the Christian Abbey of Kells to protect them from invasion by the Northern Viking Raiders. It is interesting that in all the different times the film shows you the creation of some of the pages of the book, I never realized it was housing pieces of the Bible. The action beats all take place very early in the third act, so that gives the film time to wind down into an uncommonly emotional ending brimming with gorgeous character moments and some truly epic, yet intimate, storytelling.
They’re such similar characters that it makes perfect sense that Cobb in Following  could become the Cobb in Inception.
Along with his uncle, Abbot Cellach, Brendan labors to fortify the abbey walls daily so his people will be protected from invading forces. It’s famous because of the complex and detailed illustrations that accompany the text.
The different techniques worked together perfectly and you were left with a sense of wonder whenever something moved.


When Aidan of Iona, a master scribe from a destroyed keep to the north, shows up with the mythical Book of Iona, Brendan is drawn into a time sensitive mission to finish the book before the vikings arrive. For about 30 seconds after the credits hit, I found myself disappointed that there wasn’t something huge and explodey, but then I realized that I was a stupid fucking American and that what I watched was almost perfect. Never overpowering, but very memorable in a way that scores don’t really aspire to be anymore. Eventually the abbey of Kells is faced with an attack by the Vikings which look like evil robots, and the famous half-completed book must be saved. A lot of scenes use two perspectives in one, for example the interior of the abbot’s tower which you can see on the left. With the help of a wily cat called Pangur Ban and a forest dwelling sprite named Aisling, Brendan will brave the wilds of Kells to find the ink to finish the legendary book. I think the film is an absolute must-see with its wonderful voice acting, beautiful imagery and its purposeful disinterest in the typical animated film structure.
The chalk drawing of the barricade under construction is a bird’s eye view, while the rest of the room is head-on. But, I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. They also employed a lot of ingenious story-telling devices to depict the passage of time or a character traveling from one place to another, such as dividing the screen into three parts (triptych, get it?) and having Brendan hopping over a rock in the first tier, crossing a field in the second, etc. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that too.



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