The Secret of Kells Reviews
Brendan is a young boy living under the care of his over-protective uncle. His uncle is in charge of the Abbey, and he's obsessed with building walls around the Abbey to protect against the invading Vikings. (The Vikings are wonderfully designed; black, shadowy creatures with horned helmets that crowd the corners of the screen, creep towards the camera with slug-like movement.)
Everything changes when an old travelling monk, Aidan, arrives with a very special book he has spent his entire life working on. Brendan is immediately entranced, and gets roped into the creation of this book. This gets us into the real meat of the story, which is all about Brendan growing up, making his own decisions, and facing up to his fears.
The other plotline, apart from the coming-of-age and the learning-to-let-go, is about the power of knowledge. In The Secret of Kells, it's represented by a book, but it's presented as the ultimate power, more powerful even than the invading Vikings. Everyone who comes into contact with the book (knowledge) is awed, and immediately changed.
I hope both of these directors, as they've gone their separate ways, continue to put out animated films of this quality and depth. The visuals might be the candy coating that entices the viewer, but it's the depth of the story and the nuanced character portrayal that will stick with you long after the ending.