The Secret of Kells (BLU-RAY)
Bottom Line:

"Kells" is a visually inventive film that is a pleasant change from typical animated fare.

There is a new king of the hill in the "2d animated Irish film" category.


Though that statement doesn't mean much, this is quite an enjoyable little film.


To sum up simply, "Kells" is an animated film based in the eighth-century about an orphan raised as a monk who befriends a fairy of the woods and is bestowed to write a new chapter in a book sacred to the monks.


Despite earning an Oscar nomination for best animated film last year, it never gained that much popularity, but hopefully now it will gain the recognition it deserves on dvd.


Right away this film is unique. It harkens back to the old hand drawn animation that was dominant before Pixar ushered in the new computer animation that is so popular now. And this film takes full advantage of that using drawn sets to create such inventive ways to construct and transition between each scene. The animation itself is said to be inspired by the eighth-century Irish manuscript "The Book of Kells", which the film revolves around.


Like the animation, the story is very classic, reminiscent of the classic Disney films. Though the mythology surrounding the film is much older than any Disney movie. Like the classic Disney fare, The film's story revolves around a child discovering new relationships and dealing with adult issues. Though the story is familiar, the visuals and the characters are unique enough to help set this apart. 


While the film manages to set itself apart, it is not free from fault. There were few issues with character construction. At times characters would do something that seemed uncharacteristic, or there wasn't proper explanation for a event or scene. 


Though those issues did hurt the film, the end result is still an enjoyable piece with creative and at times wondrous animation and unique characters that help this film stay in your memory long after viewing. 


I do suggest buying the film on Blu-ray, because the added picture quality does make the film all that more stunning to watch. The special features though, are not very intuitive, so don't plan on them upping the quality of the film too much. They include film commentary, recordings of the actors during their voice sessions, an Oscar promotional clip for the film,  and a documentary on the animation in the film.  

Review by Alex Tracy