“The Secret of Kells”

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FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “The Secret of Kells,” which is voiced by Evan McGuire, Christen Mooney (Trivia [TV series]), Brendan Gleeson (Edge of Tomorrow, Braveheart), and Mick Lally (Alexander, The Secret of Roan Inish). It is directed by Tim Moore (Song of Sea, Puffin Rock [TV series]) and Nora Twomey (Backwards Boy [Short], From Darkness [Short]), whereas Moore also wrote the script with Fabrice Ziolkowski (Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!, Gawayn [TV series]). A young monk named Brendan (McGuire) lives in a gated society, kept from the world behind big walls in order to keep invaders out. Although is headmaster tells him to never leave the vicinity, he sneaks out, discovering a new world beyond home as well as a deeper understanding of what they as monks are trying to accomplish.

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Yet another movie to watch for my film aesthetics class, “The Secret of Kells” was quite intriguing. I never heard of it before I was assigned to view it, and I’m surprised I haven’t considering how it was a highly praised, 2D animated feature from 2009 (I was old enough to see it then). Never did I think that it would have as much symbolism and deep meaning as it did, for there was a ton to pick apart. The story revolves around a boy named Brendan who is a curious monk, discovering what life is like outside of his walls as well as what is in the Book of Kells, an actual book in existence. I knew just about nothing when it came to this film’s background, but the many slaps to the face of secret meanings were taking a toll on me. It was one of those releases that, even if you didn’t get its history, you knew it was taking from something, and that is an incredibly good aspect to have. It allows your viewers to yearn for more information, prompting them to search the Internet for answers. I didn’t do too much searching, but I did listen in on my aesthetics class discuss this movie, and its hidden themes and messages. Some aren’t that secret, but once I realized others I was surprised. The amount of inspiration this film took is found from the story to even the art; yes people, even its animated has meaning. I’m a fan of 2D animation. It’s a craft that has just about died out in the film industry, and I am always happy to stumble upon a new release that has it. This film’s way of animating is rather odd, yet amazing. The characters and backgrounds look like they are on the same plane, and the figures seem to portray certain shapes. It was as if they were paper cut outs, and the contrast between certain characters was really good. The Vikings were dark, square shapes, symbolizing monsters while the monks were well-lit, circular figures portraying the good in society. On top of that, the style of drawing takes inspiration from the actual Book of Kells, where the artwork inside that book displays bold, intricate patterns and shapes; it’s really cool. Any other pros I could say would include the music, which was interesting and unique. Now, onto the issues. Although I found this film’s symbolism and deep messages to be intriguing, I will say that I didn’t fall in love with it as much as the next critic. It’s a terrific movie, don’t get me wrong; there were just moments that seemed too abstract to understand and appeal to. It also was very short, so some scenes can seem too fast-paced. Besides those observations, I don’t know of any cons that I could mention. It just boils down to if I find it to be near-perfection or not. Even though this one has many interesting, moving parts to it and the style is amazing, I think there were a few things that held it back from being an A+ release. I still find the film fantastic, though, and implore anyone to watch it. FINAL SCORE: 91%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

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