Hey there, I’m Jared. I have 703 movies and shows in my Instant Queue and that’s just way too many. I’m not adding anymore movies or shows to it until it’s empty. So, I’m going to start at Number One and work my way down the list and give you guys a choice of the next five in my queue, in order, all the way to the end. But, I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that too. Let’s get to it!
What’s the movie? The Secret of Kells (2009)
What’s it rated? Unrated for forest demons, tree sprites and some scary assed vikings.
Did people make it? Written by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey. Directed by Tomm Moore. Voice Acted by Evan McGuire, Christen Mooney, Brendan Gleeson, Mick Lally and Michael McGrath.
What’s it like in one sentence? It’s like an Irish fairy tale blended with the boundless imagination of Studio Ghibli with some of the stylistic choices of Genndy Tartakovsky.
Why did you watch it? Chewers Drew Dietsch and Seti both threw this one out at me.
What’s it about in one paragraph? It’s a fictionalized account of the creation and protection of the Book of Kells, an Irish national treasure that had illuminated books of the Bible hand drawn into it. Brendan is a young boy whose uncle, Abbot Cellach, is building a giant wall around the Christian Abbey of Kells to protect them from invasion by the Northern Viking Raiders. When Aidan of Iona, a master scribe from a destroyed keep to the north, shows up with the mythical Book of Iona, Brendan is drawn into a time sensitive mission to finish the book before the vikings arrive. With the help of a wily cat called Pangur Bán and a forest dwelling sprite named Aisling, Brendan will brave the wilds of Kells to find the ink to finish the legendary book.
Play or remove from my queue? I had never heard of the Book of Kells or Iona or any of the historical things The Secret of Kells has floating around inside its fantasy world. It is interesting that in all the different times the film shows you the creation of some of the pages of the book, I never realized it was housing pieces of the Bible. I don’t know if that means that I’m willfully dense or that the film does an excellent job in not getting bogged down in unneeded Christian mythology. I think the film is an absolute must-see with its wonderful voice acting, beautiful imagery and its purposeful disinterest in the typical animated film structure.
Normally when you sit down to an animated film, you know beat for beat where the acts will break and when the giant action scenes will hit, but The Secret of Kells is much more interested in filling the frame with intricate layers of Irish art and telling a piece of Ireland’s history. The action beats all take place very early in the third act, so that gives the film time to wind down into an uncommonly emotional ending brimming with gorgeous character moments and some truly epic, yet intimate, storytelling. For about 30 seconds after the credits hit, I found myself disappointed that there wasn’t something huge and explodey, but then I realized that I was a stupid fucking American and that what I watched was almost perfect. It’s not that I needed the typical action drivel, I just felt so emotionally swallowed by what I saw that I didn’t feel like the film released me from it the way something huge and cathartic might have. I’m glad it didn’t.
It comes down to one of those cheesy cliche’s that the film might not give you exactly what you want, but it will definitely give you what you need. The ending to this thing is incredibly dark and heavy; filled with portents of doom and some genuine horror made all the scarier for it being based in reality, but the hope that breaks through brought tears to my eyes that didn’t go away as quickly as I wanted them to. I sat in my living room deeply affected by this story and I think you might feel the same.
How’s the music? The score by Bruno Coulais is flawless. At times ethereally Celtic then, without missing a beat, percussively tribal and epic. Never overpowering, but very memorable in a way that scores don’t really aspire to be anymore.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? A Cat in Paris (is this as good as it looks?), The Thief and the Cobbler (vocal talents of Vincent Price!), The House (looks amazing), The Adventures of Mark Twain (pretty sure I saw this as a kid) and Titan AE (loved this as a kid).
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? This film never played on more than 37 screens in the United States, yet it was nominated for the Best Animated Film Oscar. That’s pretty impressive if you ask this guy.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 4.0
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 4.5
Can you link to the movie? As you wish.
Any last thoughts? The voice acting in this blew my mind, Brendan Gleeson is subtle and powerful as the abbot, but Christen Mooney as the forest child Aisling steals the show with the most adorable voice I’ve ever heard in my life.
Did you watch anything else this week? I acted in a frigging movie for the Hallmark Channel this last Sunday. That’s what my time and energy has been put into lately.
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, Following? Chewer prunetracy blew my mind when he reminded me that Cobb was the name of DiCaprio’s character in Inception, as well as the name of the thief in Following. They’re such similar characters that it makes perfect sense that Cobb in Following could become the Cobb in Inception.
1) Paranoid Park
2) I like Killing Flies
3) Down Terrace
4) Perkins’ 14
5) I Sell the Dead