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The Secret of Kells (and 2-D Animation)

March 29, 2010

An avid reader, I’m also a hopeless animation nut (evidenced perhaps by the several hours I spent this weekend gathering all the necessary coupons and discounts I could find to pick up Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story and Toy Story 2 on Blu Ray for a swan song, so as to add those to my collection as quickly as possible) so pardon an aside here because Cartoon Saloon and Buena Vista International’s The Secret of Kells looks nothing if not extremely stylized, witty, and utterly original. Definitely worth talking about.

Features such as this are all the more miraculous as, sadly, it seemed that several years ago 2-D animation was on its last legs and it was a sorry state of affairs because there seemed very little interest in reviving the medium from the most influential sectors of the industry. I remember shaking my head in disgust as former heads of Disney decided that the form was all but dead and that CGI alone was the wave of the future (as much as I enjoy it, there is room for all  mediums to thrive), but thanks to the visions of numerous creators at Disney Animation Studios (+ the timely ousting of a few executives) and animation studios such as the folks at Cartoon Saloon, here, it appears that audiences are once again embracing the unique possibilities 2-D animation brings and that 2-D animation will likely continue to thrive right alongside it’s CGI brethren once again. Definitely so, if the critical success of features like Disney’s The Princess and the Frog and the Secret of Kells is any indication.

Anyhow, here’s the official synopsis of Secret of the Kells followed by a trailer you won’t want to miss:

Brendan is hard at work with his uncle, Abbott Cellach, and the other monks, helping to strengthen the abbey walls against Viking raids. But a new life of adventure begins with the arrival of Brother Aidan, a celebrated master illuminator who initiates Brendan into the art of illumination, awakening his hidden, but extraordinary, talents.

In order to finish the magnificent book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a secret quest that will take him, for the first time ever, beyond the abbeys walls into the enchanted forest where dangerous mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young white wolf/girl, who will become his closest friend and helper.

But with the terrifying Viking Hordes closing in, will Brendan succeed in his quest to illuminate the darkness and prove that enlightenment is the best fortification against barbarians?

If this looks like something that’d float your boat, keep an eye out, because despite its limited theatrical release, The Secret of Kells is indeed receiving an awful lot of critical praise and will surely be collected in some form so that you and I can take it home and add it to our collections.

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2 comments

  1. Irish actor Mick Lally (Miley from RTE’s Glenroe)’s final film in 2009 before he died a year later in 2010 which is a terrible animated film ever, Irish animation sucks.


  2. I love both this one and the art book for “Song of the Sea!” Soooo pretty. And it’s great to see all the alternate designs that they didn’t ultimately choose, because it is encouraging to see that even the pros don’t get it perfectly right on the first try! It’s a long process of developing and refining 🙂



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