Anyone in Ireland should watch the Late Late Show this week as Pat has a great show lined up and the voice of Abbot Cellach , Brendan Gleeson is on .....
Vincent Donnelly, Movies Plus magazine and Movies.ie
“I loved THE SECRET OF KELLS, the movie has a magical other-worldy feel that reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki's movies (such as Spirited away) It's one of the most visually arresting animations I've seen, every frame is a work of art. That coupled with a perfect soundtrack and a back-drop of Irish folklore, it's impossible not to love it.”
Michael Doherty, The RTE GUIDE“The film combines the visual beauty of Celtic typography with the humour of Belleville Rendezvous and the charm of
Dir: Tomm Moore. Ireland-France-Belgium. 2008. 78mins.
Visually ravishing and doused in Celtic magic, Irish animated feature Brendan And The Secret Of Kells takes as its plot source and stylistic inspiration the eighth century Book of Kells, an intricately illuminated Latin gospel that is widely considered to be Ireland's greatest national treasure.
Brendan is certain to draw fans in the 5-11 core audience, although though its weight of exposition and hand-drawn 2-D animation style may make it a niche product rather than a marquee title outside of its home territory. The US could prove to be an exception, though, where its huge diaspora Irish community will make it a key market.
The film's historical anchor is the most prevalent of various theories about the origin of the Book of Kells – that it was begun on the abbey of Iona in Scotland, and later taken to the Abbey of Kells in County Meath, where monks continued the intricate and time-consuming work of illustration. But pretty much everything else in the story is either invented or rooted in legend.
Our hero is child-monk Brendan, a red-haired lad whose curiosity keeps leading him into scrapes that incur the wrath of his stern uncle, Abbot Cellach. The other monks – an international bunch, bringing home just how cosmopolitan European monasteries were in the so-called Dark Ages – tell Brendan in reverent tones about the greatest illustrator of them all, Brother Aidan from Iona.
And soon enough sprightly old Aidan turns up in Kells with his cat Pangur Ban, fleeing with his precious book from the evil, Minotaur-like Northmen, who are pillaging their way through Scotland and Ireland. Helping Aidan to finish the book despite the disapproval of his uncle (for whom the only useful job is building walls to keep the invaders out), Brendan strays into the forest in search of ink pigments, and is saved from danger by a white wolf who turns out to be Aisling, a mischievous, impulsive girl-sprite.
Director Tomm Moore and his team really excel themselves in these forest sequences, where Irish monasticism meets Busby Berkeley. At times, motifs from megalithic passage graves and Celtic jewellery float in the background like micro-organisms under a microscope, or fall in the form of snowflakes. Perspective is flattened out, and Brendan and Aisling are framed inside branches, just as Biblical characters were framed inside the opening letters of illuminated manuscript pages.
Occasionally, the action spreads across the screen in three separate frames, reminding us that the spatial narrative techniques of Medieval painting and modern graphic novels are not far removed.
Kids weaned on Pixar may look down on Brendan, but as with Miyazaki, it's a parental duty to drag them along to this captivatingly original take on Old School animation.
France 2 Cinema
(33) 1 49 70 03 70
A true delight to watch
Truly magnificent, magical and captivating all in one. This is the most amazing animation film I have ever been fortunate enough to watch.
"You must go where I can not. Pangur Bán, Pangur Bán..." The fairy child with the soft and melodious voice befriends the young Brendan who lives behind a strong wall with his uncle, Abbot Cellach who watches over Brendan's education. The wall is there to protect its inhabitants from the dangerous men from the north, the vikings who have already burned several villages, killing every man, woman and child. When Brendan wanders where he should not, he meets the fairy child and begins on his hunt for a secretive crystal that will enlighten him on finishing a book. The book of Iona for his new friend, Brother Aidan. That's where all the adventure begins.
This movie is absolutely beautiful. It is a work of art in itself and is a true delight to watch. This is one of those rare films that don't even need any dialogue, leaning back and just watching the colors proves to be sufficient enough. Not only is this movie made of wonderful pictures and colors that is eye candy in itself, it also contains a lot of emotions. It is like being on an emotional rollercoaster. One moment you are laughing with mirth at a crude joke and the next you are gasping in shock at a dark and scary scene. Tragic, sad moments prove to be tear jerkers in a way only a cartoon can make one feel, but the darkness is mirrored by light and funny moments that give this film a lot of charisma.
The music accompanying the film and especially the part where the fairy child sings, "You must go where I can not," is absolutely enchanting. This is a whole new level of animation, and I am positively surprised since I am usually a little skeptical about the amount of emotion an animated movie can bring across - I am completely blown away, and anyone who is in the mood to watch a beautiful, well drawn, imaginative and fascinating movie with just the right amount of comedy and tradgedy, should watch it. The creative artist, director and all the people voicing the characters in this film deserve more than a round of applause. This proves that animation can deliver a whole new perspective on life in its most precious form.
I love these reviews from Berlin because hey are written by young people who are the actual target audience!