Saturday, October 9, 2010

Single-Player: The Book of Kells

Last weekend, I was back in Virginia playing the Scott Pilgrim game with a bunch of folks, and something occurred to me.  In my brain, there have always been activities I've considered "multi-player," and those I've thought of as "single-player."  Books are single-player.  Movies, multi-player.  Since moving here, however, I do most things single-player.  Partially because my tastes are odd and I don't share them with really anyone I've met here, and partially because, as I've mentioned before, I'm kind of a recluse.

With that in mind, I'm going to start a little segment on this blog I've resisted doing because when I moved here I decided the blog was going to be about the amazing new life I was living.  And it has been!  But just because I'm in a new place does not mean that I am not the same person, deep down in my squishy little soul.  I am.  And that person is a nerdy recluse who geeks out over movies and video games and books.  So "Single-Player" is basically me talking about things I've watched, read, played, and loved recently.  Sometimes it will be a proper review, other times a more straightforward geeking out.  Today's is a little of both.
When The Secret of Kells came out of nowhere to be nominated for an Oscar last year, my little part-Irish art historian heart did a jig.  The Book of Kells was created by Celtic monks and is arguably the most magnificent illuminated manuscript history has to offer us.  It has a fascinating history (which is presented very well by Katie and Sarah of Stuff You Missed In History Class in their March 22nd podcast), and it's basically a miracle that the book survived at all, much less in a fine enough condition to still be on view in Dublin.  Knowing the history of the book, I was curious about how the film would fit into it.  While the book may have survived, many, many of its creators and protectors did not.
The Secret of Kells is not a happy ending sort of story.  It is a story in which tragic things happen, but they happen alongside amazing, enchanting things (not all of which are related directly to the book).  And the whole thing is so beautiful it about takes your breath away.
As I was watching it, my brain kept puzzling over how I could take this thing, this beautiful thing, and make it a part of myself.
I wanted to tattoo myself with this movie.  (Notice to Mom: It's okay, you can breathe, I probably won't.)
If you can, I recommend you see this movie.  It's unique to other animated films being made right now, and I look forward to seeing other films made by Cartoon Saloon.  The Secret of Kells is available on DVD or streaming on Netflix (which means you can watch it RIGHT NOW, yo).  Here's a trailer, just in case you require more than my words and pretty pictures:

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