The Secret of Kells is a little known gem in our DVD collection. I found it in the children's collection, took it home and fell in love with it. I showed it to my young nieces and after being a bit intimidated by the darker scenes, it promptly became one of their favorites. It's an animated movie with a lot more to it than one would guess. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and is based on the legend of the Book of Kells, a famous illustrated manuscript from Ireland created by Celtic monks. Set in 9th century Ireland, this movie is in turns light-hearted, dark, serious, and emotional. It has some of everything wrapped up in glorious colors and simple, varying animation. The forest is one of my favorite parts. The artists incorporated many of the ancient Celtic symbols throughout and wove them into the scenery of leaves and trees. The art contrasts greatly between the forest, the village and the Vikings, invoking the different moods of the various settings.
The Book of Kells, which holds the past, present, and future of the people and history of Ireland, must be saved from the Vikings, faceless black creatures on a path of destruction. This becomes Daniel's mission. He is a young boy who becomes the apprentice to a likeable and wise monk, but has to face the indignation of his strict uncle who thinks illumination is insignificant compared to the impending danger. Filled with quirky, funny elements such as giggling, music, odd melodies and voices, The Secret of Kells held me captive with an ever-changing story and mystical, beautiful elements.
Recommended by Allison Holbrook