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The Secret of Kells [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English LPCM 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Classification: PG
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 1, 2010
  • RRP: £22.99

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]


Directors Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey’s The Secret of Kell garnered a surprise nomination in the animation category at the Academy Awards against the likes of Up, Coraline, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Now the deserving Irish animated tale is finally making its way onto Blu-ray in the U.K.

A fantastical hand-drawn animated story filled with lavish visuals and the splendor of detail childlike wonder, The Secret of Kells blends Celtic mythology with religious iconography to tell the story of a young boy named Brendan (Evan McGuire) who is in training to be a monk. Brendean sets out from his abbey at Kells and ventures into a mysterious forest in order to help complete the famed illuminated bible of Kells.

Helping him on his journey through the forest he finds a young and magical sprite named Aisling (Christen Mooney). The two develop a charming friendship and battle through the darkness together. But back at the abbey, other concerns are pressing — the place must be fortified by invading hordes of Vikings.

The Secret of the Kells may not have the same tight, driving narrative of a Pixar film, but its visuals come to life like a fairy tale leaping from a a storybook or a young child’s unhindered imagination. It’s a marvelous sight to behold and its 75-minutes fly by like a cool spring breeze.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Secret of Kells‘ beautiful animation does look wonderful in this 1.77:1 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encoding from Optimum, but there is just s slight patina of softness in the overall image and instances of color banding visible in the color fills. Otherwise, the colors pop nicely and Kells will provide a more than solid HD experience.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack for The Secret of Kells is a splendid experience that engulfs the listener in a full 360º experience. The mix is filled with lush amounts of ambience, heavy use of the surrounds for atmospheric and discrete sound effects, and deep, tight low frequencies. The Celtic-influenced score sounds lively and dynamic with smooth high frequencies and it doesn’t overwhelm the clean dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Video supplements are all in standard definition, but they do provide a lot of director commentaries and glimpses into the animation process.

The supplements provided on this release are:

  • Director’s Commentary
  • Trailer (1.33:1; SD)
  • Deleted Scenes (1.77:1; SD)
  • Storyboard Comparison with Line Test (1.33:1; SD)
  • Cuilin Dualch (1.33:1) — A Celtic-language animated short.
  • Behind the Animation:
    • Compositing (1.77:1; SD)
    • Digital Ink & Paint (1.77:1; SD)
    • Effects (1.77:1; SD)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

A spectacular treat for the eyes and the ears, The Secret of Kells should hopefully find a wider audience through this home video release and will definitely please animation fans.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B003YXZHCQ[/amazon-product]

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