Brightest illumination ever.
Captions don’t count: If you value things of beauty, see this movie. My kids enjoyed it, but were a bit confused -- for starters, we had to explain monks and illuminated manuscripts and why Vikings were jerks. Also, the movie departs from a traditional kid-story arc: The final act isn’t about defeating bad guys, but surviving them. While the story ends on an uplifting moment where light is brought into a dark world, it still felt like a downbeat ending to the kids because the good guys don’t sit back and high five at the end. “Did we win?” “I guess…” But no matter; it will grow on them as they mature, because this beautiful work stays with you. The signature art style is built on simplified lines that belie the complexity of illumination, suggestions of which accent the backgrounds and details in surprising ways that delight the eye. Yes, I said “delight the eye.” This movie brings out my inner New Yorker critic. And it would in anybody who has a soul, too. I only regret that “Kells” had to compete against “Up” for Best Animated Film. It really could use a wider audience. See it, see it, see it.
BONUS SCREEN GRAB: The Abbot’s bedroom, bedecked in his obsessive blueprints and calculations of a wall he’s building around the abbey. Look. Look!