The Secret of Kells (2009)

2014 #47
Tomm Moore | 79 mins | Blu-ray | 1.78:1 | France, Belgium & Ireland / English | PG

The Secret of KellsYou can lament the quality of Oscar voters’ choices all you want, but if it wasn’t for their 2010 Best Animated Feature nominations I’m not sure many would have heard of this Celtic gem.

Based on the true story of the creation of the Book of Kells, albeit with a fantastical spin involving forest spirits, the film’s most striking element is its animation style: clean and modern, but inspired by the famed illustrations in the original illuminated manuscript. The result is endlessly beautiful.

In storytelling terms, the tone has more in common with the lyricism of Studio Ghibli-like anime than Disney’s Broadway musicals or most other Pixar-wannabe Western animation. Anyone worried about it being too gentle will enjoy the Sturm und Drang of some marauding vikings.

With a magical story and gorgeous animation, we should all thank Oscar for bringing this to our attention.

5 out of 5

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