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With The Secret of Kells, it’s easy to get lost in the details—which is strange, given that this film is for kids. Here, a young Irish monk named Brendan works under the tutelage of a celebrated illustrator decorating a manuscript—one that eventually comes to be known as the legendary Book of Kells. But Brendan’s uncle, Abbott Cellach, is in the midst of a massive project to strengthen the walls of his abbey against Viking raiders. Instead of helping him in this quest, Brendan ventures beyond the Abbey walls to the forbidden forest, where he gathers rare berries to make into ink and seeks out a magic crystal that will aid his mentor in completing the book. In the forest he meets a girl, Aisling, who seems to be part fairy and part wolf and who helps him in his quest. It’s easy to get lost in the fantastical elements of Brendan’s adventure, but this is really a story about the power of literature, art, and culture, which when preserved and passed on are the best shield against oppression. It’s an ambitious tale in which the symbolism is sometimes lost. Yet the moving score and stunning visuals more than make up for any holes in plot and character development. Each frame is an abstract and geometric feat of color and design. It’s as if the Book of Kells itself, now tucked away in a museum in Dublin, was ripped from its glass casing and turned into an animated flip book.