The Secret of Kells

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Released in 2009, The Secret of Kells follows the story of a boy who lived during medieval times and how he succeeded an important quest to complete a famous, historically-significant book. Brendan was a young, ordinary orphan who was living with his strict uncle, Abbot Cellach, in a remote abbey at Kells. His village was on the verge of threat to the Viking invaders. One day, Aidan, a famous illustrator from Scots, arrived at the abbey and he was carrying with him an ancient yet unfinished book.

Brendan offered Aidan help in completing the magical book and he was tasked t to a dangerous journey to find the specific ink needed the complete the mysterious and important sacred manuscript. This event began Brendan’s journey that prompted him to leave the walls of his village and go on a quest through the enchanted forest where the materials for the ink could be found. Here he met a series of mythical and mysterious creatures that would either guide him in his journey or cause impediments into his safe return to the village.

Added to that was the increasing danger from the camp of the Vikings who wanted to invade his village. One of the most important being that he met was Aisling, a young girl gifted with magical powers and could shape shift into a wolf. Using her supernatural abilities, she rescued Brendan and helped him complete his quest. Despite being a flat, stylized animation, the film was received warmly by both its audience and the critics.

A film that appeals to both young and adult viewers, the Secret of Kells is more than a religiously-themed film although this Oscar nominated animation is largely inspired by a very important piece of Christian document known as the Book of Kells. This book of sacred text is considered as one of Ireland’s most important treasure. It is a manuscript filled with texts, illustrations, and ornamentations that document the four Insular Gospels of the New Testament in Latin.

The Book of Kells is a very effective aid to understand medieval extravagance and complexity for it mirrors the kind of perspectives and beliefs that people uphold during the medieval times. This particular manuscript surpassed other Gospel books in terms of intricate and patient designs because of the way the illustrations in the Book of Kells are carefully done to complete a masterpiece. Even if it was a pre-Renaissance piece of work, it still depicted brilliance and artistry. Excessive effort and resources are invested in completing this fine manuscript filled with Christian icons, Celtic symbols, and sacred images.

Delicately ornamented and detailed, the book also represents the complex spirituality dominant during the medieval era. The Secret of Kells is indeed a haunting movie that gives justice to the luminous artistry of the book it was inspired from not only because of the flat but creatively styled illustrations of the animation but also because of the powerful storyline that goes with it. The almost surreal feel of the film and the successful characterizations that match the plot makes the Secret of Kells effective in delivering the tale of how such mysterious and historically famous book was completed.

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