The Secret of Kells is a beautiful animated film that seemed to come from nowhere, leaping ahead of many major studios to garner an Oscar nomination this year. The film has been praised for its amazing artistry and refreshing style. If you're looking for a good reason to go see it, here are eight.
1. The backgrounds are amazing
Combining graphical influences from illuminated manuscripts with dazzling textures and a brilliant sense of composition, every frame is a work of art. From the lush forest to the jagged towers of the monastery, the film is a feast for the eyes.
2. The character design is brilliant
The modern trend in feature animation is realism, whether hand-drawn or CGI. Yet this film shows that graphically flat, stylized and exaggerated characters can have even more personality, and are just plain fun to look at.
3. The animals don’t talk
This isn’t Disney, or even Pixar. There is a cat in this film who doesn’t speak, yet has more personality than many human characters in other films. It’s a refreshing change from the wise-cracking sidekicks that we’ve come to tolerate in recent years.
4. Strong characters
Although the main character of Brendan suffers from being a bit too likeable, he is surrounded by a strong supporting cast who more than make up for it. The abbot is both kind and domineering, the scribe Aiden is both wise and silly, and relationships between all the characters are complex and unpredictable.
5. No celebrity voices
There’s nothing worse than watching an animated film and constantly conjuring up images of the celebrity actor in the sound booth. The voices in The Secret of Kells are perfectly cast and the actors give strong and nuanced performances.
6. The music is great
The musical score, composed by Bruno Coulais and performed by the Celtic band Kila, perfectly evokes the energy, wit, and historical flavor of the film, as well as the darker, more mysterious undertones. In the scenes where the decorations in the ancient book come to life, the music perfectly matches and propels the animation forward.
7. It makes you think
The basic story is simple, but like a well it runs deep. The film is about a boy growing up and finding his path in life, but it also deals with ancient mythology, the horrors of war, the beauty of nature, generational strife, and much more. Like an illuminated manuscript, the closer you look, the more you find.
8. It’s just a great film
More than just a visual feast, this is a unique film with more energy and cinematic flair than most major studio films. It shows just how beautiful hand-drawn animation can be, and how an original, unconventional story can still succeed if done well. It’s a film that puts art before commercialism, and storytelling above all else.
So what are you waiting for? Go see it!