One of those Totoro/Coraline stories where the kids move to a new place and discover wonders there…kind of… but also one of the kids is a mermaid-seal, and so was her mom, and the girl needs to recover the seal pelt her dad chucked into the ocean or else all the mythological creatures in the land will be turned to stone.

Triumph of animation and design, as foretold by The Secret of Kells. It’s Irish, so Brendan Gleeson is in it (as the dad). I loved it despite the fact that owls were the villains.

Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Miniscule and Princess Kaguya took most of the awards this was nominated for. Admittedly it was a great year for animation, also with Boxtrolls and Cheatin’ and The Lego Movie but I’m surprised this didn’t get more love.

Based on the poster I thought it was a Bug’s Life legend, but no that’s a human ghost girl hiding behind leaves. No-fun ol’ Abbot (Brendan Gleeson) thinks only about defending the town of Kells from viking invaders, but his nephew Brendan would rather follow the illustrator Aidan who comes to town hoping to complete a treasured book. Brendan gets help in the forest from the fairy Aisling, gathering berries for ink and a magnifying crystal from a cave creature (for drawing fine detail) and feathers from a goose’s butt. Turns out the Abbot’s defense plans weren’t all that, and the town gets sacked and nearly everyone dies, but Brendan completes the book, and so Irish culture lives on, I suppose. After a rewatch of Once, this was #2 in our Ireland Films Series.

Terrific design and compositions in this movie – some of it presumably based on Irish art and the real Book of Kells. Similar in ways to The Tale of Princess Kaguya, a simple/ancient folk tale animated with a singular style, and with one breathless centerpiece scene. In this one, it’s Aisling’s song, when she gives Aidan’s cat the power to retrieve a key to free the imprisoned Brendan. The real Book is an illustrated bible, but the movie avoids (almost?) any talk of bibles or religion, despite taking place in an abbey.

Also watched a 2001 short called Pitch n Putt with Beckett and Joyce, in which a tempermental, foul-mouthed, eyepatched James Joyce attempts to play mini-golf with an unresponsive Sam Beckett. Made Katy laugh, therefore good short.