The many charms of "The Secret of Kells" will likely be lost on those moviegoers who've grown addicted to the eye-popping excess of 3-D movies.

The many charms of "The Secret of Kells" will likely be lost on those moviegoers who've grown addicted to the eye-popping excess of 3-D movies.

Things are a lot more subdued in this quiet Irish import - the plot isn't as fast-paced, the visuals don't have that computer-generated eerie realism. Instead, the nominee for a Best Animated Feature Oscar is a beautiful specimen of old-school, hand-drawn animation.

It's a piece of art, really, with plenty to look at, from backgrounds made up of intricate Celtic curlicues to a magical forest teeming with incredibly detailed trees and flowers.

It helps to know a little bit about Irish history to keep up with what's happening in this tale about the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript - basically, a medieval biblical transcription embellished with painted illustrations - dating back to the ninth century.

Brendan is a red-headed youngster who's enlisted by Brother Aidan, a master illuminator, to help finish the Book. Brendan's task is to travel beyond the walls of the abbey where he lives into the forest, where he needs to collect the special berries Aidan uses to make ink. Some levity comes in the forest scenes in the form of Aisling, a ghost-like fairy who befriends Brendan on his journey.

Even though the story doesn't quite measure up to that stunning look, this one's well worth 75 minutes of your time.