The Secret of Kells (2009)


"Young Brendan lives in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids. But a new life of adventure beckons when a celebrated master illuminator arrives from foreign lands carrying an ancient but unfinished book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendan's determination and artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the best fortification against evil?" - IMDB

Entertainment Rating: 4/5

Great animation, I’ve never seen anything like it: simple, yet beautiful. The story was fun too, though never too clear on what the Book of Iona actually contained (perhaps left up to the viewers imagination). Our pre-schoolers seemed to enjoy it, the scary scenes were definitely watchable (as compared to How to Train Your Dragon where they were quite frightened.)

Moral Rating: 4/5

Great depiciton of Good vs. Evil, light and dark tones throughout the film. We see the Abbot’s attention excessively drawn to building up the walls of the abbey in order to protect them from invaders, misleading his followers into thinking that physical strength is what is most important in preserving life. The Abbot’s nephew, Brendan, and man of Iona realize otherwise, that knowledge and particularly that the preserving of the sacred writings would most benefit man kind. It’s notable that it took a young boy, innocent and un-tinged by the world to realize the importance of such a task (similar to Joseph Smith). His work and dedication did bring about much light in times of darkness and did more for others than the easily conquered abbey did, even with it’s high walls and tower.

The walls of the abbey were not only meant to keep intruders our but were also meant to keep the inhabitants from leaving and entering the forest. This was another way enlightenment was stifled. Brendan is taught that somethings cannot be read or taught, but must be experienced, and that spending a small amount of time in nature can yield greater knowledge than any amount of books. Brendan ventures out and experiences this first hand. In so doing, he not only learns many good things and befriends Aisling, but also encounters evil and learns to face it and defeat it.

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