If it's crap ... We'll tell you
See this picture? See how awesomely detailed it is, its unique style and the use of color and lines? Well, this is a screenshot from the Irish film, the Secret of Kells. It's made by the same company that did the Triplets of Belleville and they're known for extremely detailed 2D animation. I found out about this film through IMDB, because even though the movie came out a year ago in Europe, it just made the front page now.
Brendon is a boy who lives in Kells, Ireland during Medieval times. He's look after by his uncle, who won't let him go outside the city's increasingly fortified walls due to some danger. One day, an old aquantance of the uncle stops by, running away from barbarians and such and with him, he brings a cat and more importantly, an old and sacred book. Brendon has been helping the villages write books so of course he's curious, and that's the start of the adventure. Brendon goes beyond the walls into the forest where he meets a fairy and learns that not everything can be learned in books.
The artwork in this may be one of the best I've seen all year, especially in terms of 2D animation. It's almost as though the scenery is being painted and inked as you're watching it. Almost any still from the movie could be captured and sold as some kind of artwork and the world itself is given this freshness because of that. Now, I have a weakness for great 2D animation and wish there were more movies as inspired as this, but there are some people that would be turned off by this style. However, if you love animation, there is no reason for you not to watch this movie.
The story in this is mostly driven by the animation, but that isn't always a bad thing. It's very Pageny and Celtic-y (if those are words, which they probably aren't), and there are a lot of elements of nature and fantasy, with vikings and fun little villagers (including an Italian stereotype and big black man, which I don't understand, but hey). It isn't something most of us are going to relate to, but because this is an animated film, it works. There are a few twists and the direction works very well.
Why is there a big black dude in the middle of Medieval Ireland?
Overall, this film works best if you're a fan of animation or love Celtic-themed things (hell, it's better than Leap Year). I have no idea why this was on IMDB's front page but I don't think it would do well in wide release. If there's going to be a DVD coming soon, buy it, especially if there's a commentary and it shows how the film was animated.
My grade: B