• Studio: GKIDS
  • Release Date: Mar 5, 2010
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 41 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 41
  2. Negative: 3 out of 41

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  1. Apr 10, 2012
    5
    This movie is beautiful but suffers from a singular flaw: it doesn't really go anywhere. The Book of Kells is simply not something that most people in the world know or care about, so the climax of the movie being that the book is DONE is, well, anticlimatic. There is no closure with Ashley, there is no real resolution of mystery, and indeed overall only two characters develop, and then not enough to really feel like adequate payoff. The climax for most audiences comes in halfway, with the theft of the eye.

    It's worth watching once to appreciate the artistry, but it left me unfulfilled.
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  2. Dec 13, 2010
    10
    Having been trained in fine art, having studied art history, and being an enormous fan of animation and cartoons, I must say this is one of the finest creations in the last five years. The story itself is simple and sweet, perhaps nothing to celebrate, and set in a medieval Ireland some 1200 years ago. However, the Tartakovskian stylization of characters, the backgrounds abstracted to a nearly Byzantine flatness, and the romanticization of monastic inspiration pay great homage to the original Book of Kells.

    And if you don't like all the heady intellectual stuff, it's incredible to look at, the soundtrack is totally mesmerizing, and I will sheepishly confess being moved to tears by Aisling's Song to Panger Ban. Great for the family, spooky and lovely, I'd recommend it to any one with an interest in animation, Irish lore, or art history. Check it out! (As of December 2010, its Watch Instant on Netflix!)
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  3. May 2, 2011
    9
    I should preface my review by stating that I only give it a 9 rating instead of a 10 because I feel perfection should always remain unattainable. But certainly in the realms of animation, storytelling, and world-immersion, "The Secret of Kells" excels nearly all Hollywood prefabricated animated movies of the past 25 years. From the lush and almost pungent colors, to the stark and exaggerated shapes and dimensions, to the fluid and surreal movements, the animation in this film falls second to none for vision, distinction, and uniqueness. Those looking for a photo-realistic or purely verisimilar approach to animation should most definitely look elsewhere, since the style, nuance, character, and idiosyncrasy of "The Secret of Kells" do not fall in the realm of most contemporary, digitally enhanced, video game-lookalikes presented by the Hollywood studio-industrial complex and acting as the next wave in dumbing down our cultural discourse and homogenizing the human imagination. In addition, the themes of friendship, community, daring, assertiveness, and communion with the earth and all her creatures allow the aesthetically pleasing animation to find an equal complement in thematic richness and meaning. The character of Aisling, while not altogether unproblematic for her self-sacrificial tendencies, nevertheless offers children, young people, and anyone with an open mind and heart the opportunity to hear the voice of earth's children in a language any English-speaker can comprehend. In short, "The Secret of Kells" offers great aesthetic, empathetic, and ethical potential to anyone looking for an experience of beauty and meaning. You've been warned. Collapse
  4. Dec 28, 2011
    8
    Very beautiful, fun and color-filled. It is interesting as a children's movie due to its art cinema characteristics and to the emphasis put into its visual artistic style. You may often find funny moments but this movie is not meant for a mindless audience. It takes the viewer through a wonderful and mythical story inspired in ancient Irish folk, filled with simple yet breathtaking scenes and a friendly atmosphere that will blow you away with creativity. Perfect for imaginative minds such as children. Expand
  5. Zal
    Dec 20, 2012
    9
    In terms of animation style and visuals, this movie is gorgeous. I had to watch it several times just to take it all in. Something about it reminds me of Samurai Jack. On a story and character level, this movie is solid. The characters are mostly basic, but likable and well developed. I just wish there was more.
  6. Jul 26, 2014
    9
    Master-peace, from a visual perspective. The art in "The Secret of Kells" is some of the most sensational finest animation i have ever seen from any-over 2d animated film, truly breath taking. The secret of kells only real flaws are more to do with simplistic characters and an unsatisfying ending to a truly spectacular film.

    9/10.
  7. Sep 1, 2014
    9
    Deep, beautiful, colourful, clever, and an intresting fictional take on actual historic events.
    Nice animations, lovable characters and music. Ending could've been more but that would've caused the film to be far too long...
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. 90
    The exquisite art and fairytale ambience will win over animation fans and children alike.
  2. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    80
    With its jewel-bright colors and intricate use of lines, the result is absolutely luscious to behold.
  3. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    90
    Gorgeously mounted tale of enlightenment through art and courage.