Monday, March 02, 2009

Hot Press Review (bit about other films edited out)



Set in ninth century Ireland this extravagant animation from Kilkenny based imprint Cartoon Saloon fashions a genuine no-kidding entertainment from the origins of The Book Of Kells.

Jollied along by early Christian and late pagan mythology, Tomm Moore's good looking first feature opens in Kells Abbey where a mischievous 12-year old named Brendan (voiced by the talented Evan McGuire) scampers about under the stern gaze of his uncle, the Abbott (Brendan Gleeson). Inspired by the rock star presence of master illustrator Brother Aidan (Mick Lally), the boy is soon exploring the black recesses of the forest beyond the walls. The youngster soon befriends a mysterious sprite (a giggling Christen Mooney) and masters his fear of the dark but faerie power will not be enough to keep the encroaching Norsemen at bay. Though budgetary constraints occasionally tell when high-octane movement is required, this is a beautiful, unique project that deserves to find an audience beyond mandatory school trips to the cinema. In addition to attractive characters and lush designs derived from the precious manuscript of the title, this is a pleasingly jingoistic reminder of a time when Ireland saved civilisation. We're great, we are.

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